Conventional warfare follows the single battle concept, where two or more well defined forces using weapons that target the opposing force. The contiguous battle-space is well defined with a deep, close and rear area allowing the force commander to array forces that can be visually displayed in a linear graphic. This does not hold true in an unconventional warfare, where the rear area may also be the close and deep fight and forces may target the civilian population either through direct, indirect or propaganda attacks. The will of the people play an important part in unconventional warfare and their support to either force is equally important. The Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), the Marine Corps force in readiness is capable and properly equipped to conduct not only conventional but unconventional/irregular warfare.
Unconventional / irregular warfare is normally a conflict between opposing forces whose relative military power differs and strategy or tactics differ from one another. As a result the less technologically advance force will utilize unconventional methods to conduct warfare and exploit the adversary’s weakness. The strategy is to coerce a political body by using clandestine, sabotage and other tactics with a goal of subversion or intimidation. In unconventional warfare civilian populations may be targeted as a means to reduce the legitimate power of the government or political party that it has targeted.
Unconventional warfare targets the commander’s area of responsibilities through any means in order to disrupt, discredit or expel the force from the area. This forces the commander to conduct operations against logical lines of operations (LLO). These LLOs are not the same for conventional engagements. Unconventional warfare operations focus on security (for the local population and the military forces), governance, infrastructure (special and essential services), population, development, host national security forces, economic development and many others facets, which fit into the operational framework. Conventional operations target the enemy’s forces directly or indirectly by targeting the enemy force and war material producing factories.
The MAGTF is the primary task organized unit designed and organized to conduct all missions across the warfare spectrum. It combines the command element (CE), the ground combat element (GCE), the air combat element (ACE) and the logistics combat element (LCE) balancing the needs of the mission. “The Marine Corps task-organizes for operations consistent with its statutory tasking to … provide forces of combine arms, including aviation … by forming MAGTFs. The MAGTF is a balanced, air-ground combine arms task organization of Marine Corps forces under a single commander, structured to accomplish a specific mission.”
The MAGTF has been an effective modular fighting force capable and task organized to fight a conventional force when the Marine Corps needs to conduct...