Q1: What is Bold Alligator?
A1: Exercise Bold Alligator 2016 is a synthetic, scenario-based simulation exercise designed to train Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 and the Second Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2nd MEB). Joint forcible entry operations will be the overarching objective. Both staffs will plan and execute a MEB-sized amphibious assault from a sea base in a medium land and maritime threat environment and an anti-access/area denial (A2AD) environment to improve naval, amphibious core competencies. The exercise objectives lean heavily towards interoperability with allied and coalition partners, and drive toward integration of capabilities across a wide range of naval operations.
Q2: What is the purpose of the exercise?
A2: The purpose of BA16 is to exercise Navy/Marine Corps amphibious expeditionary tactics, techniques, and procedures for conducting combined operations from the sea. This exercise represents the Navy and Marine Corps' deliberate/concerted efforts to meet the challenges of future conflicts, overseas contingency operations, humanitarian assistance/disaster response, and homeland defense. BA16 will help prepare staffs to perform vital amphibious operational tasks in a realistic environment at sea and on land.
Q3: How do you ensure the exercise is realistic? How will technology be leveraged?
A3: Realistic training is essential to the U.S. military's ability to train like we fight. We apply the latest technologies in simulation and live exercises to meet our training objectives. Advanced virtual and constructive simulations are valuable and necessary to meet our training objectives. Advanced virtual and constructive simulations are valuable and necessary to built the scale and complexity of a land and maritime threat environment and anti-access/area denial (A2AD) environment for effective synthetic scenario-based simulation training. Live training remains crucial element of amphibious training in order to maintain skill sets needed to ensure mission success.
Q4: Is Bold Alligator based on any real-world situations?
A4: No; however, the exercise involves fictional countries and forces that reflect realistic scenaros for when an amphibious task force would be expected to successfully accomplish. There are not any current geopolitical situations for the basis of this exercise. The training is based on a continuum of scenarios the Navy and Marine Corps team is likely to face in the future.
Q5: What are some examples of situations where the Navy and Marine Corps team employed their amphibious capabilities?
A5: Operations Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector in Libya, Tomodachi 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.
a. Between 1990 and 2010 the Navy-Marine Corps team conducted more than 1,000 amphibious operations. These included 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 Aug. 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 Tomodachi – In response to the magnitude-8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan on 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. Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel Mission – 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.