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Navy Warfare Development Command, Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory Publish Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment Concept

by Navy Warfare Development Command Public Affairs
15 March 2017 The Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) have published a new concept paper which addresses the challenges of conducting naval operations in coastal and offshore waterways known as the littorals.

The chief of naval operations and the commandant of the Marine Corps signed the Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE) concept paper, Feb. 27. LOCE is pronounced "Low-key."

In June 2015, senior leaders from the Navy and Marine Corps convened in Washington, D.C., for the Navy-Marine Warfighter Talks. They recognized the need for a concept which would describe how naval forces should operate in and around the littorals. Existing doctrine on the subject did not reflect changes in technologies, nor the tactics of modern forces operating in contested littoral areas. Typically, NWDC and MCWL produce service specific concepts, but the CNO and commandant of the Marine Corps acknowledged the need for a dual-service writing team to generate this concept paper.

The "blue-green" nature of LOCE presented concept writers with both challenges and opportunities. Initially, team members viewed littoral operations from their respective Navy and Marine Corps standpoints. Once presented with each service's opposing perspective, the writing team gained an appreciation for the other's problems and the interdependence of each. This synergy and open-mindedness ultimately led the writing team to develop a more comprehensive product than either service could have written on its own.

A key element of the LOCE concept is its action plan. This concise appendix directs the Navy and Marine Corps to conduct exercises, perform tests, and plan experiments which will validate or modify the concept. One of the concept's objectives is to examine Marine Corps integration into Navy composite warfare commander doctrine and investigate other methods for incorporating Marine Corps capabilities into the sea control mission. The action plan also recommends changes to doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy -- known as the DOTMLPF-P spectrum. Eventually, the LOCE concept will be an incentive for introducing innovative technologies and tactics which will close warfighting gaps and gain operational advantages.

NWDC was established by the CNO in 1998 to support Navy innovation through warfighting concept development, and operational experimentation. In June 2008, the CNO designated NWDC as the Navy lead to manage and execute the Concept Generation and Concept Development Program.

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