The Navy and Marine Corps are poised to kick off the second iteration of Large Scale Exercise next month, bringing together more than 25,000 personnel through live and virtual training.
As with the 2021 exercise, this year’s drill will seek to refine various warfare concepts, including distributed maritime operations, expeditionary advanced base operations, and littoral operations in a contested environment.
In all, the exercise will use nine maritime operations centers and six carrier strike groups — two live and four virtual — across seven U.S. fleets to globally streamline operations, according to Navy leaders.
“The ability to command and control our operations across 22 time zones is how we will fight and win in a global environment against our competitors,” Adm. Daryl Caudle, the head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, told reporters Monday. “To do so, we have to globally synchronize precision and timing in order to conduct high-end modern warfare.”
The exercise, Caudle added, will rely on a live-virtual-constructive environment, meaning that ships docked pierside can be virtually placed anywhere in the world to deal with scenarios representing realistic threats.
“The beauty is … I can put them geographically in any place I want to put them on Earth,” Caudle said. “I can put in the red forces, enemy forces, if you will, blue forces into their … operating picture. And they can fight and do that.”
Large Scale Exercise 2021 was the first time the Navy utilized an LVC environment on a global scale, even though the service had previously employed such an approach for individualized strike group training.
“Conducting these operations in a live, virtual, and constructive manner is key,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Cavanaugh, commander of Marine Forces Command. “From the tactical end where we have the sailors and Marines doing operations on the ground or at sea, all the way up to the command and control aspect, our ability to synchronize and conduct those operations are critical.”
The exercise will also test out Project Overmatch capabilities, a secretive initiative that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday kicked off in 2020 to better connect land, air, sea, space and cyber forces, and facilitate international cooperation.
Gilday, who has stated that Project Overmatch is his second priority following the delivery of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, announced in April that the service would test out the initiative with the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group.
The exercise, which is headquartered at the Navy Warfare Development Center at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, runs from Aug. 9 to 18.
U.S. Fleet Forces Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Command, Marine Forces Command, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific are all participating in the exercise.
Caudle said he is unaware of any other service holding an exercise similar to Large Scale Exercise, in terms of scope and scale.
“This is a unique thing that we’re doing with the Navy and Marine Corps — to exercise conflict at this level,” Caudle said.
Author: Diana Correll