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NEWS | June 26, 2023

III Marine Expeditionary Force Conducts Exercise Vanguard

By Sgt. Andrew King, III MEF Information Group

U.S. Marines with III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, recently conducted exercise Vanguard to enhance and refine the III MIG’s information warfare capabilities in Okinawa, Japan, from June 9-16, 2023.

The exercise, provided an opportunity for Marines from diverse functional areas, including intelligence, communications, and cyber warfare, to come together and demonstrate their synchronized efforts within a simulated mission environment.

“Exercise Vanguard is the MEF Information Group’s demonstration of the ability to take our [information] capability forward into austere locations while maintaining command and control and the ability to exercise the MEF’s information warfare capability,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Joshua Cox, the III MIG Information Warfare Coordinator.

Operations throughout the exercise included establishing an expeditionary control node, a small information processing unit that provides leaders with battle space awareness in expeditionary advance base operations. The EABO concept relies on leveraging various assets and the usage of expeditionary infrastructure to maintain a presence in austere locations.

Through the lens of EABOs, leaders receive timely and accurate information about the operational environment, including intelligence, surveillance, and enemy movements. Allowing Marine Corps forces to shorten the decision cycle, extend operational reach, and maintain a presence in vital areas.

“For this exercise, it represents a remarkable opportunity for our Marines to advance their proficiency in delivering expeditionary communications”: First Lt. Elijah Jeong, a communications officer with III MIG

To gather information, the Marines used various sensing and communication equipment designed to provide a wide range of capabilities, including seismic and acoustic sensors, free space optics, traditional military satellite communications, and commercial solutions like Starlink programs.

“The sensors provide the III MEF commanding general with battle space awareness through being activated in different areas. The sensors were placed to cover the enemies’ most likely courses of action and what equipment they are using,” explained U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Johnathan Alderman, an infantry Marine with the Ground Sensor Platoon, 3rd Intelligence Battalion, III MIG.

The exercise allowed Marines to demonstrate the stand-in forces concept, specifically in the context of EABO. SIF units are small, low-signature forces capable of sustaining operations within austere and challenging environments.

The employment of SIF units improves situational awareness for leaders, maintains U.S. security interests, deters potential adversaries, and ensures comprehensive coverage of contested maritime terrain. Exercises like Vanguard play a crucial role in showcasing stand-in forces within III MIG, highlighting III MIG's dedication to evolving and adapting to meet the challenges of the future.

III MIG functions as the vanguard of III MEF, operating in the Indo-Pacific region's information environment, and supports Marine Air Ground Task Force operations with communications, intelligence, and supporting arms liaison capabilities.


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