Modern Day Marine Expo 2018

By Robert Bruce, Military Affairs Editor

“Modern Day Warfighter: Ready, Lethal, Adaptable”

“We’re going to go shopping; we’re going to put gear in the hands of Marines in order to figure out if we need it. That’s turning the world upside down ... we need to get Marines—junior Marines—together with industry in a conversation way earlier than we have been comfortable with in the past.” —Lt. Gen. David Berger, Commanding General of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC)

Speaking at the opening ceremony for the 38th MDM Expo, three-star General Berger threw the door wide open for both close-range and leap-ahead technologies and ideas, recently enabled by significant budget increases after years of what many saw as intentional starvation under the previous presidential administration. And the Corps, with a deserved reputation as the most nimble and warfighting-focused of the U.S. Armed Forces, would shake up traditionally cumbersome acquisition processes by inviting and more seriously considering ideas from Marines of all ranks as well as businesses big and small.

Berger’s forceful commitment was energetically supported in all aspects of this annual Expeditionary Warfare extravaganza, where defense industry reps and Navy/Marine Corps program offices showed their wares and interacted with high value attendees—not just generals, Pentagon potentates and allied military shoppers, but multitudes of muddy boots Marines with plenty of combat experience.

Show, Tell, Listen

This year saw an expanded set of formal presentations, information panels, product demonstrations and “Booth Briefs” both scheduled and off-the-cuff for up-close interaction.

Perhaps most useful to potential vendors came on opening day in the form of info-packed Briefs to Industry by Marine Corps Systems Command and its components. In addition to stage-setting overviews, specific needs were identified in ground combat, logistics, support and training.

Ground Combat is our focus so we zeroed in on the presentation by Colonel Mike Manning, GCE Portfolio Manager, that led off with the very welcome news that funding has increased dramatically and is projected to move steadily upward by more than $133 million by fiscal year 2020.

On the weapons track, he’s looking for help from industry with a prioritized list including variable power day...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V23N1 (January 2019)
and was posted online on November 16, 2018


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