Combat Force __FULL__
Last year, the Navy and Marines first tested out a key tenet of LOCE: the Littoral Combat Group, which would combine a traditional ARG and embarked Marine force with at least one surface combatant and Navy Expeditionary Combat Command assets. In that case, USS Somerset (LPD-25), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) and Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SP-MAGTF)-Peru deployed together as Littoral Combat Group 1 in November and December.
CCLTF develops, evaluates, recommends, and monitors the implementation of improvements to U.S. Close Combat Formations to ensure overmatch against pacing threats and strengthen their combat lethality, resiliency, and readiness with emphasis to: Accelerate promising service-level Close Combat initiatives
Develop joint solutions to capability gaps that affect the joint force
Federate disparate developmental and research efforts into a DoD community of practice to accelerate innovation and implementation
Take immediate actions to drive change and develop enduring solutions
Assess and evaluate solutions across Doctrine, Organization, Training, Material, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities, and Policy (DOTMLPF-P)
Prioritize analysis in a manner that accelerates fielding the most promising approaches and solutions and fully integrates Special Operations forces (SOF) conventional Close Combat forces to ensure interoperability
In May 2001 the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand decided to disband the Royal New Zealand Air Force's air combat force by withdrawing its Douglas A-4K Skyhawk fighter aircraft and Aermacchi MB-339 trainers without replacement. This followed a debate over whether 28 General Dynamics F-16 A/B Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft should be leased from the United States to replace the Skyhawks. The RNZAF's air combat units were disbanded in October 2001, and many of the aircraft were eventually sold.
In November 1998, The National-led Coalition Government made the decision to lease 28 F-16 A/B fighter aircraft. The Labour Party opposition opposed this decision on the grounds that the funds would be better spent on the Army. Following Labour's victory in the 1999 New Zealand general election, the new government commissioned a review of the fighter lease. While the report recommended reducing the number of F-16s, the government decided instead to cancel the deal in February 2000. The air combat force was disbanded following further consideration, with the government stating that the funding this freed up would be reallocated to other elements of the New Zealand Defence Force.
The decision to disband the RNZAF's air combat force was controversial. The opposition National Party disagreed with the decision, as did many RNZAF personnel. Defence commentators' views differed, with some seeing the air combat force as being of little value while others feeling that New Zealand would be overly reliant on its allies, Australia in particular. Public opinion was also split, but a majority agreed with the decision.
For over three decades, the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and TA-4 served as New Zealand's primary combat aircraft. This decision, along with the purchase of the Bell 47 and Bell UH-1 Iroqouis helicopters and Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, reflected the closer strategic relationship with the United States and Australia in the 1960s. In April 1968, 14 were ordered at the cost of $24.65 million.