In practice, the Pacific Marines have been the inside force even as the rest of the joint force considered China’s growing anti-access/area-denial capabilities. Now, they're formalizing what it means to be a Stand-In Force and what new gear will enable them.
The Marine Corps’ first unit designed specifically to carry out new concepts of operations has already conducted its first exercise in the Philippines and is preparing to start experimentation and training later this year.
The Marine Corps wants to create the capability for all aircraft types — manned and unmanned — to contribute to a network that can gather and disseminate everything from voice to target-quality data in real time to forces in the air, on the ground or at sea.
The Marines this month declared initial operational capability for its CH-53K King Stallion, after the heavy lift helo demonstrated not only its operational performance but the maturity of its training and logistics programs as well.
The expeditionary warfare community is eyeing ways to bring all its forces to bear in future operations, with exercises combining Marines with special operations forces, mine countermeasures sailors and Seabees.