Report to Congress on Marine Littoral Regiments

August 25, 2022 3:40 PM

The following is the Aug. 25, 2022 Congressional Research Service In Focus report, The U.S. Marine Corps Marine Littoral Regiment (MLR).

From the report

On March 23, 2020, the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) announced a major force design initiative planned to occur over the next 10 years referred to as “Force Design 2030.” As part of this initiative, the Marine Corps aims to redesign its force to place a stronger emphasis on naval expeditionary warfare and to better align itself with the National Defense Strategy, in particular, the strategy’s focus on strategic competition with China and Russia. As part of this redesign, the Marines plan to establish at least three Marine Littoral Regiments (MLRs) organized, trained, and equipped to accomplish a number of missions within contested maritime spaces.

MLR Missions

According to the Marines, the MLR is to be capable of the following missions:

  • Conduct Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) which is a form of expeditionary warfare involving the employment of naval expeditionary forces with low electronic and physical signatures, which are relatively easy to maintain/sustain. These forces are to be arrayed in a series of austere, temporary locations ashore within a contested or potentially contested maritime area to conduct sea denial, support, sea control, and fleet sustainment operations; · Conduct strike operations with a variety of systems;
  • Coordinate air and missile defense operations;
  • Support maritime domain awareness;
  • Support naval surface warfare operations; and
  • Support information operations.

The MLR’s Operational Environment

The Commandant of the Marine Corps’ May 2022 Force Design 2030 Annual Update states:

The security environment is characterized by proliferation of sophisticated sensors and precision weapons coupled with growing strategic competition. Potential adversaries employ systems and tactics to hold the fleet and joint force at arm’s length, allowing them to employ a strategy that uses contested areas as a shield behind which they can apply a range of coercive measures against our allies and partners.

Operating in this environment, MLRs are envisioned to serve as what the Marines call a “Stand-In Force (SIF),” primarily to “help the fleet and joint force win the reconnaissance and counter reconnaissance battle within a contested area at the leading edge of a maritime defense-indepth.”

Download the document here.

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