August 29, 2012
By Cpl. Bryan Nygaard , II MEF
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Approximately 100 Marines with II Marine Expeditionary Force participated in Exercise Atlantic Response 12 aboard Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue near Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Aug. 21-23.
Atlantic Response is a scenario-driven, simulation-supported exercise designed to develop the command staff’s ability to rapidly respond to today’s emerging crises using today’s middle-weight force.
The exercise employed nearly 100 Marines and sailors from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade’s headquarters who set up a combat operations center, complete with a barbed wire perimeter on the outer perimeter of the air field. Within the combat operations center were Marines working on laptops while projection screens and maps covered the walls. The simulation was also supported by an additional 50 personnel working in the II MEF Simulations Center aboard Camp Lejeune.
“What we’re replicating are the command and control functions that you would expect out of a Marine Expeditionary Brigade,” said Brig. Gen. John K. Love, the deputing commanding general of II MEF and the commanding general of 2nd MEB. “Typically, what we do is run through a series of battle drills and staff exercises that refine our processes for staff functioning.
“At this level, command and control is fairly complicated. There are a lot of command and control systems, there are a lot of mechanisms and we experience a fairly high turnover of personnel over the summers. So what we’re doing now is sort of back in the saddle training. We’re indoctrinating new staff members into the team; we’re going through our standard operating procedures to get us ready should we be required.”
The simulation was like a large computer-based game that simulated the movement of actual forces. The scenario being played involved a fictitional country with a weak government with terrorist activity. The scenario is based on the different types of crises that have occurred over the past several years. These crises required Marines to conduct a variety of operations including protecting national interests, delivering humanitarian assistance, supporting disaster relief and acting as a show of force.
“Right now, we’re looking at the littorals of the world, which is where the maritime domain meets the land domain and we anticipate that crises are likely to occur in [that] domain,” said Love.
Love remarked on how it is not only important that the staff develops their operating procedures, but also develops teamwork and camaraderie.
“We are always refining our processes and looking for ways to become more efficient,” said Love. “This exercise runs ten hours a day, and every day when we stop the actual simulation play, we take a little break and we huddle and go through our lessons learned and figure out where we want to modify our standard operating procedures so we can improve them.”
Exercise Atlantic Response 12 also serves as preparation for Exercise Bold Alligator 13, which will take place April 2013, which continues to be the largest combined joint amphibious training exercise conducted on the eastern seaboard. The intent of these exercises is to revitalize the Marine Corps’ amphibious warfare proficiency, which remains a Marine Corps priority.