Flotilla SITREP: Marine Corps Transformation, Warfighting Culture, and Lying to Ourselves

By Dmitry Filipoff

This month the CIMSEC Warfighting Flotilla will be discussing the latest in naval force development and topics concerning warfighting culture and institutional barriers to excellence. 

Down below is a look at the invites for our upcoming April discussions. The Flotilla will be holding discussions on the ongoing transformation of the Marine Corps, improving feedback in warfighting culture, and the themes of the Lying to Ourselves report that was recently republished on CIMSEC. If you haven’t already, sign up through the form below to become a Flotilla member and receive the invites to our upcoming off-the-record April sessions.

Last month the Flotilla held sessions on the Russia-Ukraine war, the Navy’s first F-35C deployment, and the standup of the first Marine Littoral Regiment. These conversations generated robust discussion on current events and naval force development, and helped connect likeminded navalists focused on these issues.

Feel free to visit the Flotilla homepage to learn more about this community, its activities, and what drives it.


Upcoming Sessions

Stand-In Forces and Transforming the Marine Corps

The Marine Corps is in the midst of a transformation. After decades of focus on low-end conflicts in the Middle East, Marine Corps leadership is looking to transform elements of the force into units that can hold the line against China in forward island chains. But this transformation is not without internal friction and much uncertainty. What are the merits of the concepts of EABO and stand-in forces? How can the Marines better implement these concepts? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we consider the ongoing transformation of the Marine Corps.

Read Ahead: “Stand-in Forces: Adapt or Perish,” by ACMC General Eric Smith, USMC and “Jeopardizing national security: What is happening to our Marine Corps?” by Lt Gen Paul Van Riper, USMC (ret.)

Developing Feedback Culture for Warfighters

Warfighting culture demands healthy and robust feedback mechanisms to ensure professional growth and pursue tactical excellence. But organizational culture can often stifle feedback and allow issues to fester or go unresolved. How can warfighters give better feedback? How can leaders create an atmosphere where feedback is encouraged and delivered constructively? Join us to discuss how to improve feedback in warfighting culture.

Read Ahead: “Encourage a Feedback Culture,” by LCDR Andrew Poulin

Lying To Ourselves and Navigating Zero Defect Culture

Overwhelming requirements and zero-defect imperatives can combine to erode culture and norms of trust that are critical for warfighting effectiveness. How can warfighters better navigate these contradictions and dilemmas? How can leaders change the broader conditions that yield these dynamics? How can warfighters interpret the extent of their responsibility and agency in these circumstances? Join us to discuss these questions and more.

Read Ahead: “Lying To Ourselves,” by Dr. Leonard Wong and Dr. Stephen Gerras (Parts One, Two, Three).

Completed March Sessions

Russia-Ukraine War

Major conflict has broken out between Russia and Ukraine. Russia is receiving broad international condemnation and punishment while embattled Ukraine is earning widespread support. How may this conflict play out over the coming weeks and months? How could NATO respond and reinforce itself? Join us to discuss the many dimensions of this new major European conflict.

Read Ahead: Michael Kofman thread on Russian military effectiveness so far.

Navy’s First F-35C Deployment

The Navy just completed its first ever deployment of the F-35C onboard the USS Carl Vinson. With this new aircraft comes an opportunity to reform the carrier air wing, including with respect to tactics, composition, and concepts of operation. How can the Navy make the most of the F-35C and adapt the air wing of the future to field this new platform? What challenges may the Navy face in transitioning much of naval aviation to the F-35? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we consider the Navy’s fielding of this fifth-generation aircraft.

Read Aheads: Three takeaways from the US Navy’s first F-35C deployment,” by Megan Eckstein

What it is Like to Fly an F-35: Interviews with Three F-35 Pilots,” by Kris Osborn

Standing Up the First Marine Littoral Regiment

The Marine Corps is ushering in a wave of reform to make itself more capable in great power competition. Among these reforms is a new formation — the Marine Littoral Regiment. MLRs will be a centerpiece of the new EABO and DMO warfighting concepts, and are intended to employ a variety of novel capabilities and tactics. How could the Marines make full use of the MLRs and fully implement the new formation? What challenges must be managed in transforming Marine units into these new littoral regiments? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we consider the implementation of Marine Littoral Regiments.

Read Ahead: Standup of Marine littoral regiment will usher new gear into Pacific theater,” by Megan Eckstein

Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content and Community Manager of the Warfighting Flotilla. Contact him at Content@cimsec.org.

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