Initial CMC Guidance
The BOLD ALLIGATOR Series got its genesis from the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC)and the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) initial guidance dating back to 2008. In July of 2008 the Commandant of the Marine Corps called for a “revitalization of our amphibious competency … initial aiming point for regaining our amphibious forcible entry capabilities is training to Expeditionary Strike Group-Marine Expeditionary Brigade Command Element (ESG-MEB CE) amphibious assault requirements.” A CMC message from 2008 further stated, “I am directing that we conduct a series of workshops…and the intent of this initial series is to achieve the staff proficiency required to robustly exercise simulation-supported and real-world ESG-MEB CE planning and execution.”

Initial CNO Guidance
The CNO followed suit with guidance in 2009 that, “Our operations and procurement plans address the capabilities of both our Navy and Marine Corps. Marine Corps roots are at sea. Navy ships underpin expeditionary operations, thus our procurement resources are intertwined. We must integrate warfighting capabilities with the Marine Corps to meet the objectives of the Maritime Strategy and Naval Operations Concept. Effective integration must include Navy and Marine Corps consensus on operational matters and resource allocation.”

Common USN/USMC Goals
The focus of the BOLD ALLIGATOR exercise is based on the common goal of the Navy and Marine Corps leadership to revitalize, refine, and strengthen core amphibious competencies, which are critical to maritime power projection and are a cost-effective option for a wide range of military operations.

Flexibility & Utility of Amphibious Forces
History has shown that the capabilities that allow the amphibious force to conduct a forced entry landing against an opposing military force are the same capabilities that make it the force of choice for crisis response and building coalition partnerships.

Crawl/Walk/Run Approach
Several planning and Academic events in 2009 and 2010 culminated in BOLD ALLIGATOR 11, a simulated ESG-MEB sized event conducted in December of 2010.

BOLD ALLIGATOR 11 - a synthetic exercise focused on an opposed MEB-sized amphibious assault conducted within a hostile operational environment while simultaneously conducting non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO).
BOLD ALLIGATOR 12 - a combination synthetic and live exercise focused on an opposed MEB-sized amphibious assault conducted within a hostile operational environment.
BOLD ALLIGATOR 13 - a synthetic exercise that showcased the single naval battle construct– a wholly integrated air, land, sea and cyberspace approach to conducting amphibious operations.

Annual Exercise Commitment
U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC) and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command (MARFORCOM) have agreed to conduct an exercise each year, alternating between synthetic and live in order to concentrate on the more complex issues, refresh the practical and mechanical aspects of planning & conducting amphibious operations as well as refine what we learn and develop from these invaluable experiences.


Seapower plays a key role in preserving the American way of life by maintaining safe, global commerce operations across the seas. The global system of connected economies depends on the freedom of movement across the maritime domain, as it is the principal means for the transit of 90% of the world’s commerce by weight and volume. With such a global interconnection of economies, shocks to the system caused by region-al conflicts, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and war all have potential global impact. Therefore, U.S. vital interests are best served by having forward-positioned maritime forces around the globe, postured to pre-vent, deter, limit, and localize conflicts, wars, and disruptions to the global system that the international community relies upon.

The Bold Alligator exercise series demonstrates how amphibious forces are critical to maintaining the maritime flexibility required to preserve vital national interests. The exercise showcases the advantages of sea-basing and the Navy and Marine Corps' full range of amphibious operations. After more than a decade of armed conflict, the Navy-Marine Corps team is working hard to revitalize, refine, and strengthen fundamental amphibious competencies and reinforce the Navy and Marine Corps roles as "fighters from the sea”.

In previous years, Bold Alligator tested the ability of the Navy-Marine Corps and our coalition partners’ team to conduct a full-scale amphibious landing in a medium threat environment. Bold Alligator 2014 will exercise the ability to conduct crisis response operations in a complex maritime environment. The capabilities that allow the amphibious force to conduct forcible entry are the same capabilities that make it the force of choice for crisis response and building partnerships.

Global partnerships are also critical to establishing a resilient peace worldwide. Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard provide global capabilities supporting national interests and are a natural medium for forging and maintaining international relationships. Bold Alligator provides a premium venue to improving and under-standing operational proficiencies between U.S. Naval amphibious forces, coalition, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), allied and partner nations’ forces. Improving Navy-Marine Corps amphibious core competencies alongside coalition, NATO, allied and partner nations is a necessary investment in the current and future readiness of our forces.

Given the realities of the 21st century security environment, coalition participation is incorporated to provide additional resources and capabilities. Within the context of the 21st century maritime environment, Bold Alligator scenarios are realistic and relevant to current operations. Crisis response operations like Tomadachi in Japan and Unified Response in Haiti illustrate the need for rapid, reliable and ready amphibious forces pro-vided by the Navy-Marine Corps team and our coalition partners.

Bold Alligator 14 truly is rapid response for today’s crisis.


- BA represents the Navy & Marine Corps' revitalization of the full range of amphibious operations.
- Providing crisis response options from the sea and across the range of military operations within an uncertain environment..

Key BA Training Objectives:
Strategic Objectives
-Potential adversaries perceive large-scale amphibious landings as a credible threat
-Allies are reassured that we are capable and willing to execute large-scale amphibious operations to support them
-Demonstrate to Combatant Commanders the capability and value of the full range of amphibious operations
-Demonstrate to the American people the value of amphibious forces
-Build cooperation between USN, USMC, and partner and ally nations across the ROMO

Operational Objectives
-Build and maintain operational capabilities of the amphibious force
-Exercise existing amphibious doctrine and make improvements across the DOTMLPF spectrum
-Provide a test bed for new concepts in command and control, TTPs, and equipment/technology
-Build and maintain the ability to combine CV and L-class ship operations

Tactical Objectives
-Build and maintain ESG-2 and 2d MEB capability to plan, deploy, and command and control forces effectively in large-scale amphibious operations
-Build and maintain habitual relationships between ESG-2 and 2d MEB
-Build and maintain ability of US amphibious forces to execute amphibious operations with partners and allies
-Improve baseline amphibious warfare expertise


Q1: What is Bold Alligator?
A1: Exercise Bold Alligator 2014 is a live, virtual, and constructive (LVC) scenario-driven coalition exercise designed to improve Naval and amphibious core competency. Improving Navy-Marine Corps amphibious core competencies along with coalition, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Allied and partner nations is a necessary investment in the current and future readiness of our forces.

Q2: What is the purpose of the exercise
A2: The purpose of Bold Alligator 2014 is to strengthen and improve Navy/Marine Corps amphibious tactics, techniques and procedures; reinvigorate the culture of conducting combined Navy/Marine Corps operations from the sea; and to improve operational proficiencies between U.S. Naval and amphibious forces and coalition, NATO, Allied and partner nations’ forces. This exercise represents the Navy and Marine Corps’ ongoing efforts to meet the challenges of future warfare conflicts, overseas contingency operations, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief response and homeland defense. Improving Navy-Marine Corps amphibious core competencies and training with our coalition, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Allied and partner nations is a necessary investment in the current and future readiness of our forces.

Q3: How is Bold Alligator 2014 different from previous years’ exercises?
A3: Bold Alligator 2014 will focus on conducting crisis response operations from the sea, and it is the next step in strengthening the Navy/Marine Corps team’s amphibious capabilities and build on previous operational experiences with coalition, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Allied and partner nations’ forces. Bold Alligator 2011, the first iteration, focused on conducting non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO) simultaneously with other amphibious operations as needed to meet regional combatant commander requirements in a realistic synthetic training environment. Bold Alligator 2012 focused on live training to hone the skills needed to conduct large-scale forcible entry operations in the complex littoral region. Bold Alligator 2013 allowed exercise planners the opportunity to apply lessons learned from previous iterations in a synthetic environment to examine the command and control of large-scale forcible entry operations.

Q4: What are some examples of recent events that required amphibious operations?
A4: Operations Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector in Libya, Tomadachi in Japan, and Unified Response in Haiti clearly illustrate that fast-breaking situations can and will continue to happen requiring flexible responses running the gambit from combat operations to humanitarian assistance. Amphibious forces provide the flexible forward presence that will continue to be needed in the complex world environment where 70 percent of the world’s population lives in the littoral regions.

Examples include:
a. Between 1990 and 2010 the Navy-Marine Corps team conducted more than 1,000 amphibious operations. These include Navy-Marine Corps amphibious responses to more than 100 crises and 900 cooperative engagement events in support of national security interests. These amphibious operations covered the spectrum ranging from peaceful humanitarian assistance to major combat operations.

b. Beirut Multi-National non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO) – In July 2006, Israel assaulted southern Lebanon, forcing thousands of American citizens to flee. The Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) with the embarked 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) evacuated more than 15,000 American citizens between July 15 and August 20, 2006.

c. Haiti Operation Unified Response HA/DR – January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, 5,000 Marines and 3,000 Sailors boarded seven amphibious ships and sailed to the aid of our neighbor to provide badly needed relief. The 22nd MEU was the first major Marine force to respond, managing the hardest hit area west of Port au Prince. The MEU conducted immediate relief operations by distributing food, water and providing medical care. Units within the MEU consisted of 1,600 Marines with the Combat Logistics Battalion 22, 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 and MEU Command Element while the ARG consisted of USS Bataan, USS Carter Hall and USS Fort McHenry. 150 Marines aboard the USS Gunston Hall joined the MEU along with the 24th MEU on the USS Nassau, USS Mesa Verde and USS Ashland. From February to March, the MEU transitioned to sustained relief operations and focused on turning over responsibilities to the Government of Haiti and major relief organizations ashore before departing at the end of March. While supporting relief operations, the Marines and Sailors of the 22nd MEU combined a network of sea-based logistics and land-based support with as many as 1,100 Marines and Sailors ashore to conduct immediate aid efforts. The Marines focused on a 60-kilometer area west of Port-Au-Prince, from Carrefour to Leogane, through Grand Goave to Petit Goave. In order to move and distribute supplies in these areas, Marines and Sailors partnered with the United Nations, United States Agency for International Development, non-governmental organizations, and Canadian and Spanish military forces. On March 24, the MEU and ARG were released from their mission and sailed home.

d. Operation Tomadachi – In response to the magnitude-8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan March 11, 2011, the President of the United States called for a swift and coordinated response. The U.S. Navy mobilized resources in anticipation of requirements to support relief efforts. Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) is a core capability of U.S. maritime forces.

e. Operation Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector – In response to a call for action by the Libyan people and the Arab League, the President of the United States called for a limited military action with coalition partners under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973, to end the violence against Libyan citizens. The UNSCR authorizes use of force with an explicit commitment to pursue all necessary measures, to include the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya. Carefully coordinated with coalition partners, U.S. Naval forces participated in cruise missile strikes as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn designed to set the conditions for a coalition no-fly zone, striking more than 20 integrated air defense systems and other air defense facilities ashore in Libya March 19, 2011. Amphibious ships supporting the Joint Task Force (JTF) included USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and USS Ponce (LPD 15). U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers aboard Kearsarge launched in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn March 20, and conducted strikes against Qadhafi's ground forces and air defenses.

f. March 21, 2011 Marines from 26th MEU along with MV-22 Ospreys and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters conducted a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel (TRAP) mission after a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle airplane crashed east of Benghazi, Libya.

g. Operation Damayon – November/December 2013. Amphibious ships USS Ashland and USS Germantown contributed to the concerted efforts to extend relief efforts to families affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in Visayas, the Philippines. The amphibious ships, added a robust ship-to-shore movement ability to include landing craft, both air-cushioned and utility, for moving large amounts of cargo and equipment ashore, as well as the transport of the 31st MEU which operated heavy equipment for debris removal.

Q5: Who are the participants in BA14?
The following ships are scheduled to participate in Bold Alligator 2014:
USS Kearsarge (LHD 3)
USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7)
USS San Antonio (LPD 17)
USS Arlington (LPD 24)
USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43)
USS Oak Hill (LSD 51)
USS Hue City (CG 66)
USS Laboon (DDG 58)
USS Winston S Churchill (DDG 81)
USS Farragut (DDG 99)
USS Newport News (SSN 750)
USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2)
USNS John Lenthall (TAO 189)
USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13)
USNS Apache (T-ATF 172)
HNLMS Johan de Witt (L801, Netherlands)
HDMS Niels Juel (F363, Denmark)ARM Baja California (PO 162, Mexico)
BAP Islay (SS 35, Peru)

Elements of the following Marine Corps commands are scheduled to participate:
II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF)
Second Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2d MEB)
Second Marine Division (2d MARDIV)
Second Marine Aircraft Wing (2d MAW)
Second Marine Logistics Group (2d MLG)

Constructed Marine units for the purpose of the exercise:
Command Element, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF-6)
Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force- Crisis Response (SPMAGTF-CR)
The following Navy units are scheduled to participate:
Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2
Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)
Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7
Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 4
Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8

The following Coast Guard unit is scheduled to participate:
Coast Guard Port Security Unit (PSU) 307

Countries that have been invited to participate are:
The Netherlands
United Kingdom


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