When the Navy and Marine Corps consider innovation, they usually focus on technology they do not possess and not on how to make better use of technology they already have. It is time to ask the question: If otherwise reliable ground- and space-based assets become unavailable or seriously degraded in a full-spectrum conflict with a peer adversary, how can the Navy and Marine Corps maximize the technology that still works?
Two excellent examples of currently underused capabilities are the Marine Corps’ ultra-heavy amphibious connector (UHAC) and the Navy’s ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). With greater imagination, bold experimentation in fleet exercises, and a willingness to share these capabilities beyond their intended program-of-record missions, the Sea Services can begin to ingrain a more agile, innovative warfighting culture in their leaders. These relatively inexpensive, lower-technology systems may threaten more complex and expensive programs, but they also could solve problems many do not even know exist.
1. SGT Maricris McLane, USA, “CJLOTS Team Connects Pipeline at Anmyeon Beach, Republic of Korea,” U.S. Army Public Affairs, 19 August 2015.
2. Chuck Oldham, “Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC) at RIMPAC,” Defense Media Network, 15 July 2014.
3. Mike Hanlon, “ScanEagle UAV Gets Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR),” New Atlas, 19 March 2008.
4. Hanlon, “ScanEagle UAV Gets SAR.”