ComNavOps has long advocated realistic training and large scale training. For example, if the Navy/Marines claim to be able to conduct MEU/MEB scale amphibious assaults then actually do one every year. It’s one thing to sit at a tabletop wargame and casually wave your hand and say we just landed a Marine division but the reality of doing that is another thing entirely. The former is useful for conceptual planning but proves nothing about your actual capability and, worse, deludes you into thinking you can do something you can’t. The latter is where you find out all the things that you don’t know, all the techniques that you’ve lost or forgotten, all the deficiencies in equipment and procedures that you thought you knew but didn’t.
The Navy’s answer to this is to do one event of something and then extrapolate it to fleet wide, world wide applications. For example, the Navy believes if you can launch a single AAV from an amphibious ship then you can perform an entire assault and there’s no need to actually do the entire exercise. Or, if you can launch a single Standard missile and intercept a drone (which does not even accurately represent a realistic threat missile, by the way!) then you can handle a saturation attack and there’s no need to do the large scale event.
Well, over at SNAFU website we see why you have to actually practice a technique. SNAFU has posted a video of a practice airdrop of Humvees that resulted in three out of a dozen or two crashing straight into the ground (1). That’s exactly the kind of capability that gets hand-waved during typical training and yet clearly needs to be practiced as the video proves. Go check it out. It’s a fascinating video.
|This Is Why You Practice The Real Thing|
We think we can unload and transfer a MEU/MEB worth of equipment and supplies through a couple of sea base MLPs (Mobile Landing Platform)? Fine, prove it. I’d bet anything we can’t.
We think Aegis can handle saturation anti-ship cruise missile attacks? Fine, prove it. Put one of those Aegis cruisers that the Navy is so desperate to get rid of out in the middle of the ocean in full auto mode and launch 50-100 Harpoons at it and see what happens. The Harpoons are at the end of their shelf life so we might as well get some use out of them. I’m willing to expend an Aegis cruiser to see what it can really do.
We think our naval cooperative engagement capability and networking is going to give us the edge we need? Fine, prove it. Have the Air Force attack a carrier group with full ECM support and see if we can handle it. I bet our networks fail miserably.
We think an LCS can handle a swarm? Fine, prove it. Send a swarm of drone boats at an LCS in a live fire exercise and see what happens. I know that'll be an embarassment.
Isn’t it better to fail and learn during an exercise than in combat? The cost of such exercises is high but far, far less than the cost of finding out about our deficiencies in combat.
(1)SNAFU website, “173rd forgets how to airborne? Nope, but you watched careers and Humvees crash on that drop zone.”, Solomon,