More Amphibious Forces Needed in Pacific
More Amphibious Forces
Needed in Pacific, General Says
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C.
Marshall Jr., American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. – (AFPS)
– April 11, 2014 – More amphibious forces are needed in the Pacific, the
commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force said today.
“If the Marine Corps is challenged, anywhere in the world, to
execute combined forcible entry operations we have the capability to do it,”
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler, also commander of Marine Forces Japan
Will we be able to do it multiple places simultaneously,
Wissler asked, or on a scale that would allow the rapid kind of build up that we
would want? “No. I agree with Admiral Locklear — we need more amphibious ships,”
he said in a reference to recent testimony to Congress by Navy Adm. Samuel J.
Locklear III, the commander of U.S Pacific Command.
Wissler said he sat in on the opening of the Sea Air Space
Expo this week where the Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of Naval
Operations, and other sea service leaders spoke. “In that setting, Admiral
Greenert said we need 50 amphibious ships, and that’s what Admiral Locklear was
getting [at]. Now, we don’t have a sufficient budget — everybody understands
Wissler said there are currently 28 amphibious ships in the
entire inventory today, with another addition soon to follow. He noted that
Greenert also said the Navy and Marine Corps have agreed that they can meet a
majority of the requirements if they had 38 amphibious ships. “But in the
current fiscal environment, we’re fiscally constrained to 33,” Wissler said. “So
you can see that large requirement, but everybody understands the fiscal
constraints that we’re operating under.”
During his session with reporters, Wissler also noted the
exercises currently underway in South Korea. “They’ve been planned for over a
year,” he said. “So it’s not a reactive [thing] to anything. The one that we
recently completed was Exercise Ssang Yong 2014 which translates to twin dragons
or double dragons.”
This is an opportunity, the general said, to “take our newest
overarching concept, Expeditionary Force 21,” a capability that incorporates a
number of new amphibious ships. “By taking Marine expeditionary units, one
coming from [U.S. Central Command][which] literally sailed in and joined my MEU,
the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and then Republic of Korea Expeditionary
“So for us it was a chance to take the Expeditionary Force 21
concept, place it into action, find out the challenges, how we would really do
it for real,” Wissler said. “We’ve talked through how we would create this
combined expeditionary brigade, so this was a chance to do it.” Other nations
including Australia, New Zealand and Thailand also took part in the exercise.
“We’re just trying to continue to build that combined amphibious capability for
exercises across a range of military operations,” he said.
“Are we as good as we want to be?” he asked. “No. We need to
continue to do [these] sort of larger scale amphibious operations. And we’ll
continue to do that over the course of this next year.”
(Follow Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone
Marshall on Twitter:@MarshallAFPS) :
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler