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Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF, pronounced MAG-TAF) is a term used by the
United States Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the Marines, maritime land force military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary warfare, exped ...
to describe the principal organization for all missions across the range of military operations. MAGTFs are a balanced air-ground,
combined arms Combined Arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different combat arms of a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is ...
task organization of Marine Corps forces under a single commander that is structured to accomplish a specific mission. The MAGTF was formalized by the publishing of Marine Corps Order 3120.3 in December 1963 "The Marine Corps in the National Defense, MCDP 1-0". It stated: :''A Marine air-ground task force with separate air ground headquarters is normally formed for combat operations and training exercises in which substantial combat forces of both Marine aviation and Marine ground units are included in the task organization of participating Marine forces.'' Since
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great ...
in many crises the United States Marine Corps has deployed projection forces, with the ability to move ashore with sufficient sustainability for prolonged operations. MAGTFs have long provided the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...
with a broad spectrum of response options when U.S. and allied interests have been threatened and in non-combat situations which require critical response. Selective, timely and credible commitment of air-ground units has, on many occasions, helped bring stability to a region and sent signals worldwide that the United States is willing to defend its interests, and is able to do so with a powerful force on short notice.


Composition

The four core elements of a Marine air–ground task force are: * The command element (CE), a headquarters
unit Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT, a fictional military organization in the science fiction television series ''Doctor Who'' * Unit of action, a discrete piece of action (or beat) in a theatrical presentation Music * Unit (album), ' ...
organized into a MAGTF (MEU, MEB, MEF) headquarters (HQ) group, that exercises command and control (management and planning for manpower, intelligence, operations and training, and logistics functions) over the other elements of the MAGTF. The HQ group consists of
communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or Organization, groups through the use of sufficiently mutually understood signs, symbols, and Semio ...
s, intelligence, surveillance, and law enforcement (i.e., military police) detachments, companies, and battalions, and reconnaissance (Force Reconnaissance), and liaison (ANGLICO) platoons, detachments, and companies. * The
ground combat elementIn the United States Marine Corps, the ground combat element (GCE) is the land force of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). It provides power projection and force for the MAGTF. __TOC__ Role within the MAGTF The ground combat element (GCE), co ...
(GCE), composed primarily of
infantry at the Battle of the Somme (July–November 1916) during the First World War Infantry is an army specialization whose military personnel, personnel engage in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and armored warfar ...
units (infantry battalions organized into battalion landing teams, regimental combat teams, and Marine divisions). These organizations contain a headquarters unit that provides command and control (management and planning for manpower, intelligence, operations and training, and logistics functions) as well as scout/ sniper, aviation liaison/forward air controller, NBC defense, communications, service (supply, motor transport, weapons maintenance, and dining facility), and Navy combat medical and chaplain's corps personnel. The GCE also contains combat support units, including
artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications duri ...
,
armor Armour (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, whi ...
(
tank A tank is an armored fighting vehicle intended as a primary offensive weapon in front-line ground combat. Tank designs are a balance of heavy firepower, strong armor, and good battlefield mobility provided by tracks and a powerful eng ...
, assault amphibian, and light armored reconnaissance), combat engineer (including EOD), and
reconnaissance In military operations, reconnaissance or scouting is the exploration of an area by military forces to obtain information about enemy forces, terrain, and other activities. Examples of reconnaissance include patrolling by troops (skirmishers, ...
units. At the division level, the GCE also contains limited organic combat service support, including a truck company, a military police/law enforcement company, and the division band. * The aviation combat element (ACE), which contributes the air power to the MAGTF includes all aircraft (fixed-wing aircraft, fixed wing, helicopters, tiltrotor, and UAV) and aviation support units. The units are organized into detachments, squadrons, groups, and wings, except for low altitude air defense units, which are organized into platoons, detachments, batteries, and battalions. These units include aircraft pilot, pilots, flight officers, enlisted aircrewmen, aviation logistics (aircraft Maintenance, repair and operations, maintenance, aviation electronics, aviation ordnance, and aviation supply) and Navy aviation medical and chaplain's corps personnel, as well as ground-based air defense units, and those units necessary for command and control (management and planning for manpower, intelligence, operations and training, and logistics functions), aviation command and control (tactical air command, air defense control, air support control, and air traffic control), communications, and aviation ground support (e.g., airfield services, bulk fuels/aircraft refueling, crash rescue, engineer construction and utilities support, EOD, motor transport, ground equipment supply and maintenance, local security/law enforcement, and the wing band). * The logistics combat element (LCE), organized into battalions, regiments, and groups, has its own headquarters element for command and control (management and planning for manpower, intelligence, operations and training, and logistics functions) of its subordinate units and contains the majority of the Military service support, combat service support units for the MAGTF, including: heavy List of military vehicles, motor transport, ground military logistics, supply, heavy engineer support, ground equipment maintenance, and advanced Combat medic, medical and dental units, along with certain specialized groups such as Delivery (commerce), air delivery, EOD, and landing support teams. Navy SEABEES are also part of MAGTF see https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/usmc/mcwp/4-11-5/mcwp4-11-5.pdf The four core elements describe types of forces needed and not actual military units or commands. The basic structure of the MAGTF never varies, though the number, size, and type of Marine Corps units composing each of its four elements will always be mission dependent. The flexibility of the organizational structure allows for one or more subordinate MAGTFs to be assigned.


Types


Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF)

A Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), commanded by a Lieutenant general (United States), lieutenant general, is composed of a Command element#Organization, MEF headquarters group (MEF HQG), a List of United States Marine Corps divisions, Marine division (MARDIV), a List of United States Marine Corps aircraft wings, Marine aircraft wing (MAW), and a List of United States Marine Corps logistics groups, Marine logistics group (MLG). For comparison purposes, in relation to other U.S. ground and air combat forces, the MEF HQG may be considered as roughly analogous to a notional U.S. Army (USA) Corps#United States, corps Headquarters#Military, headquarters that also contains a combined Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, battlefield surveillance brigade (BfSB)/maneuver enhancement brigade (Army MEB). This comparison is based on the fact that the MEF HQG contains several of the key components of the BSB and Army MEB (viz., Military communications, network support, military intelligence, military police, and Long Range Surveillance, long-range surveillance) resident in its organic List of United States Marine Corps battalions#Communications battalions, communications, List of United States Marine Corps battalions#Intelligence battalions, intelligence, List of United States Marine Corps battalions#Law Enforcement battalions, law enforcement, and List of United States Marine Corps battalions#Radio battalions, radio Battalion#United States, battalions and attached Force Reconnaissance, force reconnaissance Company (military unit)#United States, company. The MARDIV, containing two or three Infantry Branch (United States)#U.S. Marine Corps Infantry, infantry List of United States Marine Corps regiments#Infantry, regiments, an List of United States Marine Corps regiments#Artillery, artillery regiment, and several separate armored vehicle battalions (i.e., List of United States Marine Corps battalions#Tank battalions, tank, List of United States Marine Corps battalions#Armor battalions, assault amphibian, and light armored reconnaissance) and other Combat Support#United States Marine Corps, combat support battalions (i.e., List of United States Marine Corps battalions#Reconnaissance battalions, reconnaissance, List of United States Marine Corps battalions#Combat Engineer battalions, combat engineer, and List of United States Marine Corps battalions#Headquarters battalions, headquarters) is approximately equivalent to a notional U.S. Army Infantry Branch (United States)#Current Types of U.S. Infantry, light infantry Division (military)#United States, division organized with three Brigade combat team#Infantry brigade combat team, infantry brigade combat teams, Fires Brigade, division artillery (DIVARTY), a division sustainment brigade, a Headquarters and Headquarters Company, headquarters and headquarters battalion, and reinforced with an Brigade combat team#Armored brigade combat team, armored brigade combat team (ABCT). (While the tank battalion of a MARDIV has fewer M1 Abrams, tanks than an ABCT, with 58 vice 90, respectively, the MARDIV Assault Amphibious Vehicle, assault amphibian vehicle (AAV) battalion has four companies of 42 AAVs each and is capable of transforming an entire Marine infantry regiment into an Amphibious warfare, amphibious mechanized infantry force.) The MAW, with its List of United States Marine Corps aircraft groups#Active Marine Aircraft Groups (MAG), aircraft groups (MAGs) and List of United States Marine Corps aircraft groups#Active Marine Air Control Groups (MACG), air control groups (MACGs), is comparable to a notional U.S. Air Force (USAF) numbered air force consisting of a mix of several USAF wings and USA combat aviation brigades (nominally at least two of each). Lastly, the MLG and its organic List of United States Marine Corps regiments#Logistics, logistics regiments are the USMC organizational and functional equivalents of a USA Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and its constituent sustainment brigades. The MEF, which varies in size, is capable of conducting missions across the full range of military operations and to support and sustain itself for up to 60 days in an austere expeditionary environment. For example, the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) is composed of the Command element (United States Marine Corps)#Organization, I MEF Headquarters Group, the 1st Marine Division (United States), 1st Marine Division, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and the 1st Marine Logistics Group, all based on the West Coast. Two notable deployments of an entire MEF were when I Marine Expeditionary Force deployed in support of Gulf War, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I MEF ultimately consisted of the 1st and 2nd Marine Division (United States), 2nd Marine Divisions as well as considerable Marine air and support units. I MEF also deployed to Somalia in December 1992 for the humanitarian relief effort there as well as deploying to Kuwait beginning in 2002 and taking part in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. The three Marine Expeditionary Forces are: * I Marine Expeditionary Force located at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Camp Pendleton, California * II Marine Expeditionary Force located at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina * III Marine Expeditionary Force located at Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan


Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB)

A Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) is larger than a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) but smaller than a MEF. The MEB, which varies in size, is capable of conducting missions across the full range of military operations and to support and sustain itself for up to 30 days in an austere expeditionary environment. It is constructed around a reinforced
infantry at the Battle of the Somme (July–November 1916) during the First World War Infantry is an army specialization whose military personnel, personnel engage in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and armored warfar ...
regiment designated as a regimental combat team (RCT), a composite Marine Group (air force), aircraft group, and a List of United States Marine Corps regiments#Logistics, combat logistics regiment (CLR), formerly known as a brigade service support group, all commanded by a battalion-sized command element designated as a MEB headquarters group. The MEB, commanded by a general officer (either a Major General or a Brigadier General), is task-organized to meet the requirements of a specific situation. It can function as part of a task force, joint task force, as the lead echelon of the MEF, or alone. * 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade (United States), 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade * 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (United States), 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade * 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (United States), 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade * 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (United States), 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism) * 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (United States), 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade * 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (United States), 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade


Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU)

The smallest type of MAGTF is the Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC), designated as a MEU (SOC), commanded by a colonel. The MEU is capable of conducting limited, specialized, and selected special operations missions and to support and sustain itself for up to 15 days in an austere expeditionary environment. The MEU is based on a reinforced Marine infantry battalion, designated as a battalion landing team (BLT), supported by a medium tiltrotor squadron (VMM) (reinforced), containing both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft and aviation support detachments, and a List of United States Marine Corps battalions#Combat Logistics battalions, combat logistics battalion (CLB), all commanded by a company-sized MEU headquarters group. There are usually three MEUs assigned to each of the U.S. Navy U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Atlantic and U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pacific Fleets, with another MEU based on Okinawa. While one MEU is on deployment, one MEU is training to deploy and one is standing down, resting its marines, and refitting. Each MEU is rated as capable of performing special operations, though USMC's definition of this is not consistent with that of SOCOM. They are not considered special operations unit by the Department of Defense. * 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit * 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit * 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit * 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit * 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit * 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit * 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit


See also

* Fleet Marine Force (FMF) * Organization of the United States Marine Corps * Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Africa * Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command * United States Army's Brigade Combat Team, for comparison * United States Marine Corps Aviation


References


Bibliography

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External links

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Additional info from Globalsecurity.com
{{authority control United States Marine Corps aviation United States Marine Corps organization, MAGTF Ad hoc units and formations of the United States Marine Corps Military task forces