Marine Task Force in Spain to Expand

On Monday, the U.S. military announced that it was going to send three hundred and fifty more Marines to Spain to join those already with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response at Moron Air Base. The Spanish government agreed to the increase, as well as allowing the Marines to remain at Moron for another year. Additional aircraft will be sent as well, though there is no word yet on what types will be deployed. SPMAGTF-CR currently has six MV-22B Ospreys and two KC-130J Hercules.

Members of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response board a KC-130J at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, as they prepare to return to their base in Spain on 1 March 2014.

Members of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response board a KC-130J at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, as they prepare to return to their base in Spain on 1 March 2014.

There could be a desire for additional firepower, perhaps in the form of AH-1Z attack helicopters or AV-8B harriers, to escort the Ospreys on missions. The Air Force had three CV-22Bs damaged during a rescue attempt in South Sudan last December. Four Navy SEALs were also wounded and the aircraft were forced to abort their mission and divert to Entebbe, Uganda.

SPMAGTF-CR was created after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. The Pentagon was widely criticized for not having available crisis response units and has since stood up or otherwise designated units around the world to perform the mission. These forces are generally rotational in nature, as part of a larger trend in the US military broad.

You can read more about this in a piece I wrote recently at War is Boring.

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