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Distributed Operations. Key Events to Date : March 05 : DO Implementation Working Group (DOIWG) was established at MCWL to coordinate the initial DO effort. Aug 06 : DC, CD&I directed the establishment of a DO Transition Task Force (w/ CDD lead) to guide the DO capabilities development process.

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Distributed operations
Distributed Operations

Key Events to Date:

  • March 05: DO Implementation Working Group (DOIWG) was established at MCWL to coordinate the initial DO effort.

  • Aug 06: DC, CD&I directed the establishment of a DO Transition Task Force (w/ CDD lead) to guide the DO capabilities development process.

  • Sept 06: DC, CD&I directed implementation of the Infantry Battalion Enhancement Period Program (IBEPP) beginning with 1st Bn 5th Marines in early 2007. ( IBEPP was considered a “first step” toward DO implementation…with simultaneous experimentation in MCWL)

  • Mar-Jun 07: 1/5 conducts first IBEPP (i.e., ISLC, IULC, T3, TSULC, etc.).

  • Apr 07: DC, PP&O sponsors a Capabilities Based Assessment (CBA) to identify DO capability requirements, conduct gap analysis, and generate potential solution sets.

Distributed operations ibepp
Distributed Operations: IBEPP

IBEPP Concept:

  • IBEPP was initially advertised as a DO enabler and force generation model designed to synchronize the staffing, equipping and training of infantry battalions as they prepared to deploy. Conceptually, the program called for the following key components:

    • A narrow post-deployment fill window for officers/SNCOs/NCOs, followed by larger cohesion fills from the schools of infantry

    • A dedicated “schools priority period” that provided dedicated school seats for each battalion to train its small unit leaders (Squad Leader thru Platoon Sergeant)

    • The timely arrival/replenishment of the battalion’s equipment suite in sufficient time to afford full integration of new equipment into the unit’s pre-deployment training program.

Ibepp pros cons
IBEPP: Pros & Cons




  • Fixed school graduation dates do not support a narrow post-deployment fill window for officers, SNCOs, NCOs or enlisted Marines.

    • 4 fixed IOC graduations per year

    • 1 fixed EWS graduation per year

    • 42 fixed SOI graduations per year

  • School houses have limited flexibility when feeding deploying units due to annual course schedules.

  • Staffing of infantry battalions is not synchronized with infantry battalion deployment cycles.

  • Unit stabilization dates have improved from D-90 during early OIF/OEF rotations to current D-150 stabilization for all deploying infantry battalions (OIF, OEF, MEU) – a 66% increase in unit stabilization time.

  • Overarching goal is a universal stabilization date of D-180 for all deploying battalions beginning in Jan 08 - a 100% increase in pre-deployment stabilization time.

  • TECOM’s structure has increased by ~160 billets to include 106 Combat Instructor billets at the SOIs.

  • (Actually staffing of those structure spaces remains a significant challenge owing to a low available inventory of 0369s and competing requirements.)

Ibepp pros cons1
IBEPP: Pros &Cons




  • The multiple courses that constitute “IBEPP” are

  • skill progression courses that focus on traditional

  • collective and individual training standards (e.g., mastery

  • of weapons, comms, and optics organic to the rifle squad) –and not on DO capability development.

  • Current operational tempo precludes full implementation

  • of IBEPP for all deploying infantry battalions.

  • There is no requirement/incentive to attend designated

  • skill progression courses as they are not tied to promotion.

  • Preliminary data suggests that participation in IBEPP

  • varies widely among infantry battalions.

  • IBEPP training does not equate to an increased DO

  • capability.

  • The SOIs have “raised the bar” in Infantry Leader Courses (IOC, IULC, ISLC) with updated/complimentary POIs, new equipment sets, and increased staffing.

  • Established Tactical Small Unit Leaders Course (TSULC) to enhance fire team leader training and the Train the Trainer (T3) Course to develop small unit leader skills in planning and executing standards-based training events.

  • ISLC – Increased # of courses resulting in a 60% increase in available school seats.

  • IULC – Increasing # of TEMINs enroute students to fill school seats.

Ibepp pros cons2
IBEPP: Pros & Cons




  • Fielding of additive Infantry Battalion T/E equipment is problematic as many battalions currently lack capacity to accommodate additive T/E items.

  • Currently exploring mitigation options IRT facilities impacts at the unit level. Focus remains on examining temporary storage (e.g., containerization).

  • Currently lack coherent Infantry Battalion T/E equipment fielding plan, particularly as it relates to IBEPP-designated battalions.

  • Current OpTempo precludes timely sourcing of additive T/E equipment to IBEPP-designated battalions owing to competing priorities from other units preparing to deploy.

  • New infantry battalion T/E does not equate to a specific DO capability for infantry battalions.

  • $198 million for equipment approved in the

  • FY-06 Bridge and Main Supplemental (~ $19 m of

  • equipment enhancements per Infantry Battalion

  • with a focus on communications and optics.

  • $429 million for equipment approved in the FY-07

  • Bridge Supplemental. (Total investment of $627.5m

  • in additive equipment.)

  • Equipment enhancements to the Infantry Battalion T/E may facilitate ongoing force reset efforts.

Do capabilities based assessment
DO Capabilities Based Assessment

Capabilities Based Assessment (CBA):

  • April 07: PP&O sponsored a DO Capabilities Based Assessment using contract support from Whitney, Bradley, & Brown (WBB) Inc. (~$1 million contract).

  • Jun 07: DO TTF sponsors DO Workshop hosted by WBB. Workshop produced a prioritized list of twenty-nine DO capabilities.

  • Oct 07: DO Workshop reconvened to conduct functional needs analysis (FNA) to identify standards, conditions, and metrics for the top 7 DO capabilities and 31 associated tasks.

    • The top seven capabilities included :(1) communicate; (2) execute & control fires; (3) conduct logistics C2; (4) establish/exercise C2; (5) conduct offensive operations; (6) provide health services; and (7) conduct supply operations.

    • The FNA utilized a MEU-sized MAGTF as a baseline

  • The FNA concluded that moderate to significant gaps exist for all top 7 DO capabilities when forces were distributed/disaggregated below the rifle company level.

  • Conclusions

    Conclusions re IBEPP:

    • Many improvements made on the margins

    • End-state of synchronized staffing, equipping and training can not be realized without major changes to long-standing formal training and education programs and assignment policies for officer/enlisted personnel.

      • More IOC/EWS classes per year

      • Elevate ISLC/IULC to PME equivalency for infantrymen

      • Reduce number of infantrymen filling Special Duty Assignments

  • The current pre-deployment battle-rhythm is unlikely to improve appreciably without a significant reduction in operational tempo.

  • Conclusions1

    Conclusions re DO effort to date:

    • There is still a lack of a clear definition and common understanding of Distributed Operations beyond enhanced small unit capabilities.

    • There is still a lack of measurable long-term objectives or USMC end-state at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels re DO capability implementation.

    • Simultaneous experimentation and implementation lack synergy and have not appreciably enabled advancement of a substantive DO capability.

    Recommendations re do
    Recommendations re DO

    • Develop a collection plan and deploy Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned (MCCLL) collection team to evaluate 1/5 IOT determine the impact and utility of IBEPP training.

    • Continue ongoing CBA in order to refine the DO capabilities list, identify potential gaps/shortfalls, and identify possible materiel/non-materiel solution sets.

    • Sponsor a modeling effort to accurately determine the impacts of time, distance, and increased number of maneuver units performing DO and the ability of a MEU-sized MAGTF to conduct, execute or support the disaggregated force.