VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) along with Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command (MARFORCOM) hosted the Final Planning Conference for Exercise Bold Alligator 2012 (BA 12) at Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Atlantic headquarters, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia Beach, Jan. 4-6.
The conference served as a platform for Navy and Marine Corps leaders to fine-tune the details for BA 12, the nation's largest joint, multi-national amphibious exercise in the past 10 years, scheduled to begin in late January.
BA 12 is designed to revitalize, refine and strengthen the fundamental roles of the Navy-Marine Corps team as "fighters from the sea," by conducting large-scale, integrated amphibious operations.
Navy and Marine Corps leaders say landlocked wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in fewer opportunities for Marines and Sailors to gain experience in an integrated amphibious environment and that regaining that expertise is vital.
"Mark Twain said 'history does not repeat itself, but sometimes it sure does rhyme,' and you will find extraordinary examples of every kind of operation from the sea where we are projecting power ashore into the teeth of all kinds of opposition or non-opposition," said Adm. J.C. Harvey Jr., commander, USFF.
BA 12 planners developed and implemented both historical and unique 21st Century challenges into the exercise.
"In some cases during these exercises we are looking to inject new technologies and looking for opportunities to develop new techniques, tactics and procedures based on new equipment we received or new adversaries that come up," said Vice Adm. David H. Buss, commander, Task Force 20, who oversees fleet and joint operations for USFF.
The exercise's underlying scenario emphasizes the Navy-Marine Corps capabilities in undeveloped and immature theaters of operations and will flex the six core capabilities of the U.S. Maritime Strategy - forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security and humanitarian assistance/disaster response.
"What is critical about this exercise is setting the example for our younger Marines and Sailors in our coalition forces, and that means conscientious naval integration between blue and green," said Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, commander, MARFORCOM. "As we go forward into 2012 and beyond and we draw down in Afghanistan, the naval force is going to be the force of choice for access."
Expected to participate in the exercise are an amphibious task force, led by Expeditionary Strike Group 2, consisting of 8 amphibious ships and four to six surface combatants, a Marine expeditionary brigade-sized landing force (2d MEB), a carrier strike group (aircraft carrier, embarked air wing and four combatant ships), mine counter measure forces, Navy expeditionary combat command forces, Military Sealift Command ships, coalition force elements from several nations, and other commands in support of amphibious operations.
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