Following publication of the LOCE concept described above, the CNO and CMC directed development of an official naval concept for Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO). That action resulted in development of a classified white paper formally endorsed by the Commander Fleet Forces Command and the Commander Pacific Fleet. A Navy-Marine Corps concept development team is expanding the white paper into a full, classified concept with submission to CNO and CMC anticipated in the spring of 2018. Once the classified concept is approved, an unclassified version will follow.
As described in the LOCE concept, EABO seek to further distribute lethality by providing land-based options for increasing the number of sensors and shooters beyond the upper limit imposed by the quantity of seagoing platforms available. The EABO concept espouses employing mobile, relatively low-cost capabilities in austere, temporary locations forward as integral elements of fleet/JFMCC operations. Expeditionary advanced base operations may be employed to position naval ISR assets, future coastal defense cruise missiles (CDCM), anti-air missiles (to counter cruise and ballistic missiles as well as aircraft), and forward arming and refueling points (FARPs) and other expedient expeditionary operating sites for aircraft such as the F-35, critical munitions reloading teams for ships and submarines,or to provide expeditionary basing for surface screening/scouting platforms, all of which serve to increase friendly sensor and shooter capacity while complicating adversary targeting. They may also control, or at least outpost, key maritime terrain to improve the security of sea lines of communications (SLOCs) and chokepoints or deny their use to the enemy, and exploit and enhance the natural barriers formed by island chains.
The EABO concept provides the opportunity to “turn the sea denial table” on potential adversaries and deter fait accompli actions. This can be done in a pre-crisis manner through security cooperation activities with our partners and allies. This could include pre-staging equipment and supplies in key regions, conducting EABO exercises, and perhaps even creating more persistently forward postured— but continuously mobile—forces task-organized for EABO. This would give the fleet commander/ JFMCC sea denial assets persistently postured in potentially disputed areas in order to deter aggression. In the event of crises, EABO can be employed in support of task forces maneuvering into the area to seize the initiative. To fully leverage the EABO initiative, the Navy and Marine Corps must pursue the ability to network sea-based and landbased sensors and shooters. Additionally, the Navy should determine what current or planned sensors and weapons can be fielded in an expeditionary variant while the Marine Corps should determine what changes to existing Marine systems can enhance their utility in a sea denial or sea control fight. Furthermore, new initiatives, such as fielding a common anti-ship missile that can be launched from existing surface combatants, submarines, manned (and perhaps unmanned) aircraft, and mobile ground launchers, should be explored.