Operational Maneuver from the Sea and the Vulnerability of Maritime Prepositioned Forces [open pdf - 795KB]
As a force projection power, it is critical for the United States to retain the capability to introduce rapidly, credible and sustainable forces into theaters around the world. Maritime pre-positioned forces (MPF) are a key component supporting that force projection capability. Currently, there is insufficient strategic airlift to deploy rapidly and sustain heavy U.S. forces as they are currently structured. Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm validated the value of the MPF concept. The ability to fly in ground forces and integrate them with equipment from pre-positioned shipping greatly enhanced the strategic responsiveness of the Marine Corps and the United States. This facilitated the rapid introduction of a credible ground force into the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations for the United States. The value of this capability was recognized by the United States Army, which has since begun to purchase roll-on, roll-off shipping of its own. America's adversaries, whether they are nation states posing a conventional threat or terrorist organizations presenting an asymmetric threat will not overlook this capability either. As adversaries develop anti-access capabilities, it is critical for the United States to assess continually, the vulnerability of our maritime pre-positioned forces. Forcible entry operations from the sea are a requirement for Marine Corps forces.
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/