OKINAWA, Japan --
III MEF Information Group reached a historic milestone during the conclusion of the III Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise on Okinawa, May 10, 2019. It is ready to begin operating in the information environment, also referred to as the Initial Operational Capability, by supporting operations in the Indo-Pacific region. This operational level command and control focused exercise contains a fictional scenario developed with a real-world near-peer competitor in mind.
“MEFEX was the first time that we did this and it’s to try to show the value added from the Information Command Center,” said Col. Larry Jenkins, the commanding officer of III MIG. “Showing that we have made ourselves more lethal, more survivable and more flexible.”
The ICC is a new concept but is shaped similar to the Marine Corps’ ground, air and logistics command units. It will bring together information-related capabilities that have existed in the information domain prior to the MIG standing up and focus them in a unified effort on a singular objective to gain information superiority over an adversary.
“(We) want to change the way the Marine Air-Ground Task Force fights, and get it to think of the operations in the information environment as maneuver warfare in a different domain,” said Jenkins.
Examples of the IRCs working alongside of the ICC are cyberspace, electronic warfare, military deception, special technical operations, psychological operations, communications strategy and operations, and intelligence.
The intent of command in the ICC is putting information-related authorities at our level instead of where they traditionally reside in the higher units. Granting those authorities down provides a space to create tempo and speed for subordinate commanders in the information domain, explained Lt. Col. James McGrath, the III MIG operations officer.
In order to grant proper authorities to the ICC, staff members from different units needed to be trained to synchronize with the other IRC’s they may have never worked with before. The training took approximately six months and was executed by building tactics, techniques and standard operating procedures through battle drill rehearsals and staff exercises.
“So, if you look at it now there’s a spectrum of capabilities for the MIG. At the one end, the high end, is the MIG staff here; all the subject matter experts in all of the capabilities that we have been taught and come to understand and integrate into the information environment,” said Jenkins. “On the other end is the standup of tactical-level capabilities within the six battalions that we have in the MIG to execute operations.”
With one historic milestone reached, III MIG’s long term goal is to reach full operational capability by 2025 so they can continue to achieve information superiority throughout the information environment.