Camp Pendleton, California --
Marine Rotational Force - Southeast Asia began its second rotational deployment on September 26, 2023, with a team of Marines and Sailors participating in exercise Sama Sama in the Republic of the Philippines. The force is also slated to conduct a series of back-to-back exercises and security cooperation engagements with important regional Allies and partners in Southeast Asia, including the Philippine Marine Corps, the Royal Malaysian Navy, and the Indonesian Marine Corps. This rotation will continue through mid-December and marks a significant step towards implementing Marine Corps Force Design 2030 concepts for the efficient force deployment and sustainment of U.S. Marine forces in the vast Indo-Pacific region.
MRF-SEA serves as a flexible deployment option for joint force commanders to advance maritime security objectives in close partnership with regional Allies and partners. As a task-organized force, it can be adjusted to fit the specific needs of the theater, including changes in composition, size, and duration. As a forward-positioned force, it is optimized to conduct security cooperation engagements with Allies and partners in Southeast Asia while also standing ready to support crisis or contingency response in the region. MRF-SEA uses intra-theater transportation platforms and a distributed command and control structure, minimizing logistics requirements.
While MRF-SEA is operating in the Indo-Pacific region, the command and control is performed from the West Coast, offering access to a wide array of resources, encompassing military personnel, equipment, and support services.
"Leading Marine Rotational Force - Southeast Asia while shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners, inside their respective command posts, provides a remarkable and dynamic vantage point,” said Col. M. Thomas Siverts, commanding officer, MRF-SEA 23. “We are enabling operations that span the vast expanse of the Indo-Pacific region, demonstrating our adaptability in pursuit of our mission. This unique setup emphasizes our commitment to shared security objectives and enhances our collaboration with Allies and partners in a rapidly changing environment."
This rotation of MRF-SEA is led by the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit commanding officer and command element. The modular force will exercise interoperability and enhance relationships with several priority Southeast Asian Allies and partners. The force consists of a small command element with attached enablers, a reconnaissance platoon, joint terminal attack controllers, air and naval gunfire liaisons, explosive ordnance disposal Marines, and unmanned aerial systems operators.
Exercises and engagements during this deployment will provide opportunities to enhance partnered interoperability in combined heliborne operations, amphibious raids, coastal defense operations, company and platoon-level combined live-fire exercises, naval operations, and subject matter expert exchanges. These exchanges will cover a variety of training topics including reconnaissance; explosive ordnance disposal; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense; operations in the information environment; joint fires; fire support; and unmanned aerial system operations.
MRF-SEA's deployment advances the Marines Corps’ force modernization by executing distributed command and control and force models that support concurrent and geographically dispersed activities. In addition to providing command flexibility, this distributed command and control limits forward logistical requirements in a potentially contested environment.