March 29, 2024

Preparing for a China war, the Marines are retooling how they’ll fight

Source: The Washington Post

Journalist: Ellen Nakashima

Though NMESIS vehicles radiate heat, and radar emits signals that can be detected, the Marines try to lower their profile by spacing out the vehicles, camouflaging them and moving them frequently, as well as communicating only intermittently. Similar tactics are being tested by Ukrainian troops on the battlefield, where despite the number of Russian sensors and drones, “if you disperse and conceal yourself, it’s possible to survive,” said Stacie Pettyjohn, director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Security.

But on smaller islands, there are fewer areas to hide, fewer road networks to move around on, “so it’s easier for China to search and eventually find what they’re looking for,” she said.


But exercises are not real life. Indo-Pacific Command is striving to build a Joint Fires Network that will reliably connect sensors, shooters and decision-makers in the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. But chronic budget shortfalls, and long-standing friction between the combatant commands and the services — each of which decides independently of the commands what hardware and software to buy — have slowed development.

Even when it is fully fielded, Pettyjohn said, “the question is, is this network going to be survivable in a contested electromagnetic space? You’re going to have a lot of jamming going on.”

Read the full story and more from The Washington Post.


  • Stacie Pettyjohn

    Senior Fellow and Director, Defense Program

    Stacie Pettyjohn is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Her areas of expertise include defense strategy, post...