MAWTS-1: 2023

By Robbin Laird

This report focuses on MAWTS-1 in 2023. In 2023, I interviewed the CO of MAWTS-1, Col Eric Purcell, in April and then visited the command in November after the second WTI of the year. This provided a chance to discuss how MAWTS-1 had progressed in working enhanced force mobility for the USMC within the broader joint force, a key emphasis of the force design effort.

The challenge is that while the Marines are working FARPs and other means to enhance force mobility, the joint force is in the throes of significant change, whether it be the U.S. Navy working distributed maritime operations or the USAF working agile combat employment.

How does the USMC effort to reorganize and enhance its contribution to the joint force while the joint force is itself in fundamental change with much uncertainty over how to do maritime distributed operations and the agile combat air combat employment?

The Navy and Air Force sides of this transition have been a major part of our work published elsewhere and provide insights with regard to how challenging the overall force transformation is within which the USMC is working to find its proper place. It is not just up to MAWTS-1 to work the training for such an effort, but NAWDC and Nellis are clearly involved as well.

To put it simply: it is a work in progress and the Marines emphasis on a MAGTF organizing principle remains important going forward in spite of the effort to find ways to operate from much smaller organizational formations.

This report includes the interviews conducted in 2023. The date indicates when the interview was published on Second Line of Defense and collectively they provide an overview of how MAWTS-1 is training for the way ahead for the USMC by preparing the force that might have to fight tonite.

As the end of course video for WTI-1-24 starts: “It is not a question of if the Marine Corps will go into combat. It is only a matter of when.”

The featured photo: A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53K King Stallion helicopter, assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One, executes an external lift of a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle during Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-24 at Auxiliary Airfield II, near Yuma, Arizona, Oct. 3, 2023. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Elizabeth Gallagher.

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