II MEF Marines Conduct MEFEX 16

II MEF Marines Conduct MEFEX 16

LCpl Jessica Smith, a military policeman with 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion, guards her post during MEFEX 16 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 16, 2016. MEFEX 16 is a command and control exercise conducted in a simulated deployed environment designed to synchronize and bring to bear the full spectrum of II Marine Expeditionary Force's C2 capabilities in support of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force. Conducting exercises of this nature ensures II MEF remains ready to provide the Marine Corps with an experienced staff capable of integrating with international allies and partner nations in a combined joint task force, charged with accomplishing a wide range of military operations. Marine Corps photo by Sgt Kirstin Merrimarahajara.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines with II Marine Expeditionary Force participated in MEFEX 16, May 9-19, 2016. MEFEX 16 is a command and control exercise conducted in a simulated deployed environment designed to synchronize and bring to bear the full spectrum of II Marine Expeditionary Force's C2 capabilities in support of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force. Conducting exercises of this nature ensures II MEF remains ready to provide the Marine Corps with an experienced staff capable of integrating with international allies and partner nations in a combined joint task force, charged with accomplishing a wide range of military operations.

During the exercise, Marines were faced with a realistic scenario in which they were tasked to help a notional country to regain stability and security from a near-peer enemy within a particular region before returning the country back to its own government.

According to Col. Wayne Bunker, the Current Operations Officer for II MEF, the Marines have been preparing for this final five-phase operation for over 8 months by taking part in professional military education and other simulated exercises. This MEFEX is the largest II MEF has taken part in in recent years and has given the Marines an opportunity to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.

"The biggest challenge we've faced is being so focused on our modern technology that we weren't as prepared as we should have been for the loss of data communications," said Maj. Gen. W. Lee Miller, Commanding General, II MEF. "MEFEX has identified areas that we can fix within our tactical standard operating procedures."

On the other end of the spectrum, technology has proven to be a strength of the Marines as they protected the data network during a cyber-attack.
"We had a very good red cell fighting us to get into our data network, and they were incapable of doing so because of the level of our cyber protection teams," said Miller.

Marines from almost every occupational specialty each used their unique skills to create an amazing team. Throughout the exercise, Marines from the division, the logistics element, the aviation element and the MEF all worked together to defeat the notional enemy.

"Let there be no mistake," said Miller. "This MEF can command and control across a range of military operations."

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