FORT PICKETT, Va. --
Retired Brig. Gen. Dick Vercauteren, a senior strategic advisor visited Marines of Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, to observe their training aboard Ft. Pickett, Va., Dec. 6, 2010.
Vercauteren observed how the Marines use company level intelligence centers and company level operation centers during his visit.
The CLIC and CLOC, as they are called, are ways to receive intelligence from platoons dispersed throughout the area, process the information and then redistribute the information through the appropriate channels.
“There’s always been a requirement for companies and platoons to provide a lot more information,” said Vercauteren. “The problem is that, in my time, we didn’t have the technical capabilities to do the types of things we wanted to do.”
Vercauteren spoke with Marines about what technology they currently use and what would make processing and distributing information easier.
“It means a lot having him out here,” said Lance Cpl. Ryan T. Ivey, a CLIC chief with Fox Company. “All the retired Marines and civilians who come out and help us with all our integrating technology - it’s really cool.”
Vercauteren added, traditional intelligence and operations are usually handled at the battalion level. However, with current technology, battalions are able to spread across a wider battle space and place more responsibility on the companies to gather intelligence and plan their own operations.
The gathering and processing of the information falls heavily on junior Marines such as Ivey. Their work helps guide their companies’ operations giving their patrols daily objectives and allowing the commanding officer to more easily guide his company.
“It’s a very efficient system at the company level,” said Ivey, a Fayettville, Ga., native.
Advances in satellites and radios make it easier for platoons to pass on information to the company and for that company to redistribute information to the other platoons.
“We never had that capability before,” said Vercauteren. “Even as a Marine Expeditionary Brigade commander or a regimental commander we had very limited capabilities.”
The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have pushed the technological requirements, which Vercauteren believes is a good thing for the rifle companies.
Vercauteren stressed the importance of training young Marines on how to process and distribute the information.
“Privates first class, lance corporals and corporals can do it all; I believe that,” said Vercauteren.
The BLT is participating in a two-week training exercise at Ft. Pickett, Va., in preparation for their upcoming deployment with the 22nd MEU in 2011.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its command element.
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are in the early stages o
f their pre-deployment training program, which is a series of progressively, more complex exercises designed to train and test the MEU's ability to operate as a cohesive and effective fighting force.
Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps’ smallest Marine Air-Ground Task Force, consisting of a ground combat element, an aviation combat element, a logistics combat element and a command element, which is commanded by a colonel and comprised of approximately 2,200 servicemembers ready to provide immediate response capabilities in a hostile or crises mission. While deployed, each MEU also incorporates two KC-130 aircraft available from the continental U.S. to support the unit’s operations abroad.
There are seven U.S. Marine Expeditionary Units located around the world with one in Okinawa, Japan, and three on each continental coast of the United States.
In the past, MEUs were referred to as Marine Amphibious Units due to their sea-based capability alongside a naval amphibious force. In 1988 “Amphibious” was replaced with “Expeditionary” to reflect the Marine Corps' changing role in national defense and theater security.