Marine Corps Commandant: Camouflage and Concertina Wire Don't Mix

Susan Jones | August 10, 2016 | 9:44am EDT
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( - "There is never certainty in war," Marine Corps Commandant, General Robert Neller, told a gathering in Washington on Tuesday. "And even though we might try to achieve it, there is always something out there that you're never sure about."

Something like the sun shining on barbed wire, for example.

"I was talking to a commander out on the West Coast and she's -- she's the MEF (Marine Expeditionary Force) headquarters group commander, and they're going to go to the field. And so they took -- they actually did something really smart.

"They went out and they set up the entire MEF headquarters group, the MEF CP, which is a very large thing. And they remoted all the communications gear, and then they put up camouflage netting, which used to be a very common thing, but I would tell you in the last 15 years, there wasn't a whole lot of camouflage netting going on because there was no need. The enemy didn't have airplanes. They weren't using space. So we didn't do it.

"So they netted up all the billeting area. They netted up certain things. And then they went up and they got on Google Earth, and they took a picture of it. And it looked pretty good. I mean, because it blended in with the terrain. Except they realized they had put concertina wire around certain very important facilities, and the light from the sun reflected off that concertina wire and there was this big circle around this one thing.

"And then anybody who looked would say, 'What is that? There's something inside that circle.' Well, that was where the intel people were.
(The audience laughed.)

"OK. So what are we going to do about that? There's a fix. It's already been fixed," Neller said.

"But I mean, I don't think I'm giving away state secrets -- I mean, but you've got to look at yourself and you've got to -- we've got to change the way we're thinking, that an adversary can see us just as we can see them. So how do we keep from being seen and still see them? And how do we protect ourselves and put them at a disadvantage?"

Neller several times made the point that technology gives the U.S. military an "operational advantage," but it gives the enemy similiar advantages. So the Marines have to find work-arounds.

"I mean, look what happened to Delta (Airlines) yesterday," Neller said. "They built an entire system of reservations and flight management based on this network and it failed, just by itself, because of a power surge. What if somebody actually wanted to do that?

"So, the fight that we used to think about on, you know, air, land and sea and under the sea has now expanded to space, to cyber, and the information domain."

Neller said it's important to put Marines in situations where "the server just crashed."

As reported, Neller also said the U.S. military needs to be prepared for enemy attacks from the air for the first time since World War II.

Also See:
Marine Commandant: First Time Since World War II Air Strikes Are Threat to U.S. Troops

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