ABOUT BOLD ALLIGATOR
HISTORY & BACKGROUND
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
OFFICIAL BA13 LOGO
HISTORY & BACKGROUND
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.
Several planning and Academic events in 2009 and 2010 culminated in BOLD ALLIGATOR(BA) 11, a simulated ESG-MEB sized event conducted in December of 2010. Lessons learned from BA11 drove the scenario and milestones for BA13.
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.
Revitalization of Amphibious Skillsets
Exercise BOLD ALLIGATOR represents the Navy and Marine Corps revitalization of the fundamentals of amphibious operations, strengthening our traditional role as “warfighters from the sea.”
Exercise objectives are a continuation & progression of Exercise BOLD ALLIGATOR 11, which was a synthetic exercise conducted in December 2011. BOLD ALLIGATOR 12 will be a live and synthetic scenario-driven simulation supported exercise designed to train Expeditionary Strike Group TWO (ESG-2) and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2dMEB) staffs to plan, coordinate and execute a MEB-sized amphibious assault from a seabase in a medium land and maritime threat environment to improve naval amphibious core competency. Highlight: It will be the first ever blended “Live/Synthetic” exercise of this magnitude and scale; allowing a dual focus on both units and staffs.
BOLD ALLIGATOR 11 compared to BOLD ALLIGATOR 12
Whereas BOLD ALLIGATOR 11 was executed in a low threat environment; BOLD ALLIGATOR 12 will have mine and anti-ship threat, requiring significant shaping operations (MCM, CSG, SOF). One concept that needs to be more carefully defined is the use of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) in contribution to the fight. ESG-2/2d MEB plan on using a Big Deck Amphib to serve as a “Harrier Carrier.” This may provide an excellent platform to support USN operations against the threat. We’ll be looking for other MAGTF applications as well.
Over 20,000 Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Soldiers with more than 25 ships will be participating in the exercise. Coalition countries are also major contributors to the exercise with eight partner countries providing a mix of personnel, ships, and equipment. The coalition involvement as well as Carrier Strike Group integration into the exercise increases the complexity and the realism of the event.
A blended Blue-Green CFMCC staff will provide a broad span of control and allow for a critical review of seabasing from a Naval perspective.
Naval Expeditionary Forces will play an important role during the exercise with Riverine units, Intelligence Exploitation Teams, Maritime Civil Affairs units, EOD, Port Security units and Seabees.
BOLD ALLIGATOR 12 will also integrate Military Sealift Command (MSC) ship capabilities, to simulate sustainment and reinforcement of the 2d MEB Assault Echelon (AE). The use of a T-AK ship (Marine Corps Container & RO/RO) with an amphibious bulk liquid transfer system (ABLTS) will force “under the horizon” actions that will stress DDG/CG capacity and help refine support relationship considerations. Additionally, the use of T-AVB ship (Aviation Logistics Support) will provide intermediate level maintenance capability to the 2d MEB Aviation Combat Element (ACE) and enhance their operational flexibility.
A key point is ADM John C. Harvey’s emphasis on large-scale amphibious operations as “fleet operations” that will require the full spectrum of USN capabilities. A MEB sized amphibious operation differs from a MEU sized operation in more than just scale, it is a much more complex issue involving many entities. We (USN/USMC Team) will take a close look at Command Relationships and the supported/supporting roles across a broad spectrum of critical capabilities.
USFFC and MARFORCOM are committed to continuing the BA series to ensure Navy and Marine Corps capability to conduct MEB-level amphibious operations from the sea to support national security objectives and to demonstrate amphibious capability extant in the Navy and Marine Corps today.
USFFC & MARFORCOM Key Messages:
- BA represents the Navy & Marine Corps' revitalization of the full range of amphibious operations.
- BA will focus on today's fight with today's forces.
- BA will showcase the advantages of seabasing.
BA Mission: Plan & execute a MEB-sized amphibious assault from a seabase in a medium threat environment.
BA Intent: Execute a multi-national, joint, live & synthetic scenario-driven exercise using East Coast operating areas to showcase USN/USMC amphibious operations as the nation's most viable offshore option.
Key BA Training Objectives:
- Enhance the relationships/partnerships between the Atlantic Fleet & II MEF.
- Execute Command & Control (C2) of all forces ISO amphibious operations from the sea base & phase aspects of C2 ashore.
- Refine the supported/supporting relationships & doctrine for ESG-MEB operations.
- Operate in an environment & define Commander Landing Force (CLF) role in countering threat.
- Integrate a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) in support of ESG-MEB amphibious operations.
- Integrate technological, platform & unit experimentation to enhance future capability.
- Engage organizations across the Navy & Marine Corps to develop enterprise solutions facing large-scale amphibious operations.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q1: What is Bold Alligator?
A1: Exercise Bold Alligator 2012, the largest naval amphibious exercise in the past 10 years, represents the Navy and Marine Corps' revitalization of the full range of amphibious operations. The exercise focuses on today's fight with today's forces, while showcasing the advantages of seabasing. Bold Alligator allows our institutions to learn about amphibious capabilities, so that the broader force can make the most of this unique naval capability. This exercise took place 30 Jan - 12 Feb, 2012, afloat and ashore in and around Virginia and North Carolina.
Q2: What kind of operations will be conducted?
A2: The primary thrust of BA12 was an Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) Marine and Expeditionary Brigade (MEB)-sized amphibious assault from a seabase in a hostile environment. The assault will have Sailors and Marines land en masse with Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs), Landing Crafts, Air Cushion (LCACs), Landing Crafts, Utility (LCUs) and Landing Crafts, Mechanized (LCMs) to capture and control a beach. Other operations include long-range insertions, non-combatant emergency evacuations, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel (TRAP), visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), and amphibious raids.
Q3: How are amphibious operations important to US military capability?
A3: Events occur daily around the globe where protection of United States citizens and vital U.S. interests require amphibious capabilities. These commonly include humanitarian assistance, noncombatant emergency evacuation, flood and earthquake response, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, counter-piracy, strike operations, and support to partner nations. After more than 10 years of fighting in land-based warfare throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, the Navy and Marine Corps team is working hard to revitalize, refine, and strengthen fundamental amphibious capabilities and reinforce the Navy and Marine Corps role as "fighters from the sea."
Q4: What are some examples of recent events that required amphibious operations?
A4: 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. U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) provided critical support during Operation Odyssey Dawn March 20, 2011, conducting strikes against Qadhafi's ground forces and air defenses in Libya. The Essex Amphibious Ready Group launched 218 aircraft and landing craft in support of reconnaissance and relief distribution missions following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck northeastern Japan March 11, 2011, delivering more than 166,000 pounds of supplies ashore. Following the 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 Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) with the embarked 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) evacuated over 15,000 American citizens between July 15 and August 20, 2006, following Israel's assault on southern Lebanon. By air and sea, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit delivered more than 50 tons of humanitarian assistance Jan. 12, 2005, to tsunami victims on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Events such as these highlight the continuing need for the full range of amphibious operations provided by the Navy and Marine Corps team.
Q5: Who participated in BA12?
A5: The two primary participants for this exercise was Expeditionary Strike Group 2 (ESG 2) and 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2d MEB). In addition, the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) as well as various other ships and units will have significant roles in BA12. Allied nations participating include Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Bold Alligator represents training that fully realizes the flexibility of mobile seabasing, providing the force greater agility to shift the focus of effort or respond to crises.