MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Today’s war fighter is a high-tech individual. He has the ability and the means to accomplish his mission faster than ever before. But technology is not perfect. There are still things he needs to be even more successful at his tasks.
To bring the science and technology community together with Marines and sailors to discuss these needs on the battlefield, the II Marine Expeditionary Force Science and Technology Office held a conference at Marston Pavilion here Sept. 10-11.
The conference had three main purposes; to provide war fighters a platform to discuss their lessons learned and limitations caused by gaps in capability; to provide science and technology organizations a platform to articulate their success stories and advantages in capabilities for war fighters; and to allow both the war fighters and science and technology community to build a network with each other to help the Marines do their job more safely and more efficiently.
“The primary capability gaps of weakness are the inability for the S and T community to understand Marine requirements,” explained Timothy Bacon, the liaison for the Office of Naval Research and II MEF. “So the reason behind the conference is to give the Marines directly back from Iraq an opportunity to explain their lessons learned, their requirements and to articulate problems caused by capability gaps.”
This conference was the first of its kind for II MEF. The two-day event included discussion panels covering a wide range of topics such as improvised explosive devices trends and detection capabilities, force protection (body and vehicle armor), language translation, communications, training and transition teams’ gaps challenges and lessons learned.
Marines and leaders from Marine Special Operations Command, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and II MEF were on hand to give government and civilian scientists an idea of what it’s currently like on the battlefield in the Global War on Terrorism, particularly in Iraq.
Lt. Col. Dave Barnes, who served as the officer in charge of the Transition Team Cell, II MEF Headquarters Group, II MEF, and deployed to the Al Anbar Province of Iraq from March to December 2005, was one of the key speakers during the conference.
“I think it’s a good venue for Marines and trigger pullers to meet with the science and technology community and address their technological needs that are out there that haven’t made it to their awareness,” Barnes explained. “For us, it’s kind of a unique opportunity to tell the story of transition teams and to get our message out there.”
According to Bacon, these conferences will be a yearly event and are an important part of accomplishing the war fighter’s mission.
As technology advances for today’s Marine or sailor supporting the Global War on Terrorism, these conferences will take an important role in bridging the gap between scientist and warrior.