The Marine Corps is about to field perhaps the most capable weapon system—apart from the rifleman—it has ever seen. The Navy and Marine Corps Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS)—which combines the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) with the Remote Operated Ground Unmanned Expeditionary (ROGUE) Fires system—will enable the Marine Corps to make a profound contribution to deterrence in littorals all around the world.1 The revolutionary nature of the system demands careful consideration of the command-and-control (C2) and operational concepts under which it is used, lest the service not exploit its full potential.
Four principles should underlie how the Marine Corps integrates this impressive system: resist the urge to simply update legacy systems to fit new capabilities and concepts; build system connectivity to the joint community; place greater emphasis on procedural control; and inculcate a willingness to trust the system and its capabilities.
1. Martin Manaranche, “Oshkosh Defense Demonstrated Unmanned Vehicle ROGUE Fires in U.S. Navy’s SINKEX,” Naval News, 19 August 2021.
2. The Navy currently hosts Marines at an NSM Theory of Operations Course in San Diego, California. The Marine Corps is actively working to create its own version for future artillery units.
3. “NSM–JSM Missiles: Precision Strike against Sea & Land Targets,” Kongsberg.
.5 “Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2),” Congressional Research Service, 1 July 2021.
6. “NSM–JSM Missiles: Precision Strike against Sea & Land Targets.”
7. Megan Eckstein, “Berger: Marines Need to Trust Unmanned, AI Tools for Future Warfare,” USNI News, 2 February 2021.