CAMP HANSEN, Japan –
Service members assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group conducted routine unit level training on Kumejima and Iejima, Okinawa, Japan, July 9-17, 2023.
The training included U.S. Marines and Sailors from 3rd Intelligence Battalion and 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, both apart of III MIG and Naval Special Warfare operators. This training is part of III MIG's specialized efforts in deploying small groups of Marines, known as task elements, to remote environments. III MIG provides III MEF with an integrated network of sensors and expeditionary advanced based nodes improving on III MEF’s capabilities for sea denial and control operations, as part of INDOPACOM’s Stand-in Force.
The concept of task elements involves forming small, agile teams of Marines with a minimal footprint, expertly geared towards providing battlespace awareness in support of III MEF's broader objectives.
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Toan Ngo, a team lead and a fires support coordinator with 5th ANGLICO from Gilbert, Arizona, emphasized the importance of the task element within Stand-in Forces, stating, "Stand-in Forces are designed to be small, lethal, low signature, and mobile, with the ability to operate seamlessly across a competition continuum within a contested area."
The training highlighted the task element's mobility, as they tested various commercial sensors and radars to maintain maritime domain awareness and refined procedures for future system deployment in challenging austere environments.
“It’s very important to us to stay mobile, we want to make ourselves a hard target,” said Sgt. Raymond Espinoza, a squad leader with the Maritime Sensor Platoon, 3rd Intelligence Battalion from Los Angeles, California. “We provide essential maritime domain awareness to the commander to decrease uncertainty on the battlefield.”
Providing this awareness to commanders enhances the joint force’s ability to make informed decisions. Furthermore, collaboration with the joint force strengthens the implementation of the Stand-in Force concept across the competition continuum, providing a significant boost to deterrence efforts.
“I think it is very important to work with NSW,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard Braskett, an infantry Marine assigned to the Maritime Sensor Platoon, 3rd Intelligence Battalion from Camas, Washington. “It is critical for us to be familiar with one another and conduct cross training, our systems serve as a proof of concept.”
This integration creates a cohesive force that can work together efficiently, maximizing combined capabilities. The persistent training and refinement will continue to support readiness to confront the pacing threats with precision and strategic advantage in the Indo-Pacific region.
III MIG functions as the vanguard of III MEF, operating in the Indo-Pacific regions information environment, and supports Marine Air-Ground Task Force operations with communications, intelligence and supporting arms liaison capabilities.