A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom aircraft assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) conducts an urban close air support exercise in support of Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 2-19 at Yodaville, Yuma, Arizona, April 4, 2019. Photo by Lance Cpl. Claudia Nix

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif.– With flights scheduled to commence later this week, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) aircraft and personnel position across five separate military installations along the Pacific coastline, preparing to conduct distributed operations during Weapons and Tactics Instructor course (WTI) and Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) 1-21.

As part of the greater Service Level Training Exercise Program (SLTE-P), 3rd MAW will deploy nearly 80 aircraft across both California and Arizona, creating more than 1,200 miles of operational dispersion during ITX and WTI.

“We are going to continue to pave the way for force design in the Marine Corps,” said 3rd MAW Commanding General Maj. Gen. Christopher Mahoney. “ITX and WTI are critical to 3rd MAW readiness. They prepare our Marines for any future fight with our adversaries, while enhancing our ability to execute lethal operations across a distributed posture.”

A form of maneuver warfare, distributed operations create an advantage over adversarial forces through the deliberate use of separation and coordinated tactics, while allotting Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commanders the opportunity to employ Marines across a non-linear battlespace. Distributed operations are essential to the modernization of the Marine Corps, and usher in the evolving future of the operating environment.

“To compete in a 21st century, high-end fight, we will need a future fleet that optimizes the following operational attributes: first, distributed lethality and awareness; second, survivability in a high intensity conflict; third, adaptability for a complex world; fourth, ability to project power, control the seas and demonstrate presence; and fifth, capability to deliver precision effects at very long ranges,” said Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper, in his most recent address at the RAND Corporation.

Esper continued, “Finally, this future Navy and Marine Corps will employ novel concepts such as ‘Distributed Maritime Operations’ and ‘Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment,’ which will modernize the way we fight as they enable our future joint warfighting doctrine.”

Weapons and Tactics Instructor course is a seven-week period of instruction, hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., that incorporates Marine Corps planning and implementation of advanced air and ground tactics though a series of escalating evolutions in order to produce certified weapons and tactics instructors.

A combined arms live-fire and maneuver exercise, ITX is designed to meet training standards in select mission essential tasks and designated supporting training and readiness events. During ITX, the tactical training exercise control group provides training and assessment of the technical aspects of tactical integration associated with MAGTF operations. Integrated Training Exercise is conducted at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.