Pentagon eyes reprogramming funds for Marine Corps' force design efforts

By Justin Katz / July 2, 2020 at 12:17 PM

The Navy is seeking congressional approval to reprogram $51 million for a variety of research and development efforts, including several aimed at the Marine Corps commandant's new force design priorities.

The request is detailed in the annual omnibus reprogramming signed June 23 by then-acting Pentagon Comptroller Elaine McCusker and obtained by Inside Defense.

The largest share of the $51 million is about $20 million "in support of the Commandant's Force Design priorities to focus on rapidly developing and prototyping critical technology to enable a dispersed, expeditionary, and agile force," according to the document.

While the Marine Corps has shared some details on Commandant Gen. David Berger's vision for the service, the reprogramming request sheds light on specific technologies the service sees as important to Berger's priorities.

The funding would provide "for sufficient support costs, to inform requirements towards initial operating capability (IOC) of a replacement maritime [Marine Expeditionary Unit intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] platform," according to the document.

The ISR platform will "operationalize new commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) force design capabilities for expeditionary air-base operations (EABO)/littoral operations in a contested environment (LOCE)," the document continues.

Part of those funds would go towards "Artemis," which the document describes as a rapid prototyping effort to modernize infantry units with "emerging and disruptive technologies."

Separate from the funding for the Marine Corp chief's research and development efforts, the $51 million also includes roughly $11 million for a "critical shortfall" for the Network Tactical Common Data Link.

"Funding will prevent a prime and subcontractor stop-work situation during critical final engineering development model integration and test of no less than six months, followed by a six-month prime/subcontractor restart and ramp up," according to the document.

The rest of the funds would be used for munitions testing associated with a fast-attack craft, continued development of the Marine Corps' ground-based defense systems against aerial threats and an ammunition inventory management system being developed by the Marine Corps, Air Force and Army.