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U.S. Marine Corps F-35s with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, prepare to take off during a forward arming and refueling point (FARP) exercise that U.S. Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 174 (MWSS-174), Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, are participating in during Force Design Integration Exercise (FDIE) at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Sept. 27, 2023. A FARP is used to extend the capabilities of rotary or fixed-wing aircraft to allow rearming and refueling without having to fall back to a forward operating base. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Logan Beeney)

Photo by Cpl. Logan Beeney

Pacific Marines Exercise Stand-In-Force Operations

2 Oct 2023 | Capt. Miraquel Ridenhour U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

Pacific Marines from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific along with forces from I Marine Expeditionary Force, III MEF, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and the Hawaii Air National Guard demonstrated Stand-in-Force capabilities during Force Design Integration Exercise, Sept. 25-28, 2023.  

FDIE took place on and around the Hawaiian Islands of Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island as Pacific Marines conducted distributed operations and rehearsed their ability to occupy expeditionary advanced bases.  

During FDIE, Pacific Marines operated across jungle, coastal, and mountainous environments and developed their ability to conduct operations in challenging and austere maritime environments. Units exercised key Stand-in-Force capabilities, including reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance, integrated targeting with the joint force, and securing contested key maritime domain. 

230928-M-VW647-1022 Photo by Cpl. Eric Huynh
The USNS City of Bismarck (T-EPF-9) prepares to dock during Force Design Integration Exercise at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Sept. 28, 2023. During the exercise, the naval platform was employed to facilitate the expeditious transport of 3d Marine Littoral Regiment’s equipment to and from the Hawaiian Islands of Oahu and Kauai. Force Design Integration Exercise demonstrates the current capabilities of 3d MLR as an effective part of the Stand-In Force integrated with our Pacific Marines and Joint counterparts. Through the demonstration of Force Design 2030-enabled capabilities, 3d MLR showcases the implementation of technology, doctrine, and policy initiatives to allow the SiF to sense and make sense of potential adversaries, seize and hold key maritime terrain, and conduct reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Eric Huynh)

“The overall scenario for Force Design Integration Exercise was developed to test our ability to coordinate across all domains – sea, air, land, space, and cyberspace – with various platforms currently employed by the joint force in the Indo-Pacific theater,” said Lt. Gen. William Jurney, commander, MARFORPAC. “The strength of the joint force really becomes clear when you bring all the components together to see it work in real-time.” 

By bringing together different units and stressing their command-and-control systems, FDIE demonstrated the ability of Pacific Marines to integrate with the joint force and enhance its ability to sense and make sense of a complex operating environment. 

"This exercise provided an invaluable opportunity for 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment to rehearse alongside the Navy and the joint force in a realistic environment." Col. John Lehane, commanding officer, 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment

 “We were able to rapidly distribute combat credible forces across the Hawaiian Islands, set up our systems, effectively control our assigned area of operations and associated airspace, and deliver effects within the exercise scenario.” 

The exercise required Marines to refine their ability to use multiple Force Design related platforms. This includes systems like the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar, MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle, and F-35B Lightning II, which allow Marines to sense enemy forces and share information with the joint force across a distributed battlespace and provide precision fires.  

“Force Design Integration Exercise demonstrates Pacific Marines’ ability, right now, to effectively integrate within the joint targeting cycle,” said Lt. Gen. Jurney. “We will continue to develop and innovate in our ability to conduct distributed operations while forward as that joint force enabler.” 

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific is the largest operational command in the Marine Corps and the Nation’s expeditionary force-in-readiness in the Indo-Pacific. Pacific Marines serve alongside the joint force and like-minded Allies and partners to preserve and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region. 

For additional information on Force Design Integration Exercise, please contact 

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