Top Marine General: We’re Fielding New Technologies Quickly
By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Seapower Special Correspondent
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD — The Marine Corps has been working hard on rapidly developing new capabilities and putting them into the field, a top Marine general said at a panel at the Navy League's annual Sea-Air-Space symposium April 3, building on a pervasive Navy theme of cutting through bureaucracy and improving the acquisition process.
Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command and deputy commandant for Combat Development and Integration, highlighted the Rapid Capabilities Office during the session, noting that the service already successfully used it to push some innovative technologies to the field.
“We’re trying to take commercial, off-the-shelf capabilities and learn as fast as we can with non-governmental programs,” Walsh said. “Just last week we awarded the first contract, and it really was bottom-up where we had a battalion of marines at Camp Le Jeune took the tech that we had and worked with ONR [Office of Naval Research], pulling that together and putting the capability at the lowest battalions to do mission planning and mission rehearsal. We’re going to put that across 24 different battalions in the Marine Corps.”
Walsh also pointed to an even larger effort that involved developing a ship-to-shore maneuver advanced naval technology experiment.
“That technology experiment is going to go on at the end of this month at Camp Pendleton, bringing together lots of different capabilities, bringing together industry, warfare centers, universities, federal research and development centers,” he said, “and we are now going to demonstrate more than 100 different capabilities in Camp Pendleton on how we're going to get to the shore in the future.”
That involves more than just designing a faster Amphibious Combat Vehicle — it's about “looking across the spectrum of warfighting in leveraging both industry and our government warfighting centers on new capabilities that can help us in that area,” he said.
“It’s now looking at the old ways to do things, but how technology can lead us in new directions,” he added.