Like kids with shiny new toys, Navy and Marine Corps staff officers toting courier bags and armed with dry-erase markers, power-point presentations, and video teleconference technology meet in joint planning efforts dreaming of how to meld two services into a dynamic new force structure that will shape the future of maritime conflict. Bolstered by ambitious guidance that is just vague enough for each of them to influence the end-state goal, they launch volley after volley from unparalleled arsenals of acronyms. Some are fighting for the potential of adaptation and ingenuity. Others are dug-in, protecting their knowledge of current capabilities. A third camp maneuvers based on assumptions of future capabilities.
Whether entrenched in cubicles, securing the perimeters of conference tables, or using technology to engage remotely, they are all advancing toward a common objective. All leave their boot or oxford prints on today’s developments, blazing a trail to the future while a hum of excitement charges the air when phrases such as “distributed maritime operations” and “expeditionary advance base operations” are spoken.