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The U.S. Secretary of Defense, the honorable Mr. Ashton Carter congratulates a young reconnaissance Marine on a job well done following a combined arms raid aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 27, 2015. Carter met with senior military leaders and service members and witnessed ship-to-shore operations, a capability synonymous with Navy and Marine Corps teams in order to assess the need to better support military capabilities.

Photo by Cpl. Seth Starr

Defense Secretary Ash Carter visits Camp Pendleton

29 Aug 2015 | Cpl. Seth Starr I Marine Expeditionary Force

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, visited Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 27 to observe amphibious landings and meet with senior military leaders and servicemembers. 

Carter’s visit started with an amphibious raid that targeted a small compound, roughly 500 feet off-shore. Amphibious assault vehicles carrying Marine riflemen departed the USS New Orleans, an amphibious transport dock. The Marines assaulted the beach head as the Secretary observed the scenario from a nearby bluff. 

Marines set the pace as the sound of simulated machinegun and rifle fire filled the air. They quickly eliminated simulated threats and took charge of the area. 

During the raid, Marines and Sailors demonstrated the joint Navy-Marine Corps partnership by conducting ship-to-shore operations, a capability synonymous with Navy and Marine Corps teams. 

Carter noted during the raid that as current situations in the world continue to develop, it is important to keep ahead with an ever changing battlefield.

“Carrying these service members, mission into the strategic future after 15 years of extremely aggressive effort on fronts in both Iraq and Afghanistan, we realize the need to change the full spectrum of how we approach these new conflicts,” said Carter. “This means changing and adapting the way the Navy and Marine Corps team trains so that we can face these new conflicts around the world head on.”

With change on the horizon, training, equipment, vehicles and other tools become more important aspects for innovative change for both the Navy and Marine Corps with the U.S. building focus on Asia and the Pacific. For example, the 1971-era AAVs that Marines currently use to deploy during amphibious operations are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, operate and sustain. 

Carter explained that development of the new Amphibious Combat Vehicle provides a much more robust and flexible capability solution for the evolution of amphibious operation.
The implementation of these kinds of changes and innovations directly affect the mission of the Navy and Marine Corps enabling both to be a critical maritime power and crisis response team.

Following the raid, Secretary Carter opened up for questions from service members and media outlets about what the future holds for the nation's maritime forces in addition to innovative solutions toward anti-access and area denial measures. 

The day’s events demonstrated the need to sustain and upgrade the AAV fleet while developing the ACV in order to modernize our ship-to-shore capabilities, as well as give senior leadership an opportunity to voice their opinions on how to keep the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy America’s number one fighting force.