Equipping the Corps

Conversations about Marine Corps acquisition, innovation, and gear with host Manny Pacheco, USMC, retired. Equipping the Corps is the official podcast of Marine Corps Systems Command.

Where to listen


Most Recent Episodes

19. Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program with Col. Wendell Leimbach

The Joint Intermediate Force Capabilities Office is responsible for the management of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program and serves as the focal point for technical and programmatic guidance of current and projected joint non-lethal weapons technologies. The office provides programmatic recommendations and facilitates joint non-lethal weapons requirements by ensuring that funding supports the joint non-lethal weapons systems that the Department of Defense or combatant commands have identified as needs. The Marine Corps is the executive agency for the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program and as such, its director is an acquisition Marine. Manny chats with the man at the helm, the director of the JNLW program, Col. Wendell Leimbach.

Movie Recommendation: Kelly’s Heroes

18. Testing and Evaluation with Dr. Karen McGrady

Test & Evaluation, or T&E, assists in the risk management process involved in developing, producing, operating, and sustaining systems and capabilities. T&E provides additional information on system capabilities and limitations to the acquisition community to improve the system’s performance and optimize its operational use and sustainment. It also provides an opportunity for program managers to learn about any technical or operational limitations of a system so they can be resolved prior to production and fielding. T&E is an integral part of the systems engineering process and this week Manny chats with the command’s testing and evaluation lead, Dr. Karen McGrady.

Show Notes: Recommended Reading- Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead by Jim Mattis and Bing West

17. Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch with Lt. Col. Scott Graniero

Conducting amphibious operations is part of the Marine Corps DNA and amphibious vehicles have been a critical component to Marine Corps operations since their introduction during WWII. The names and models have changed but one thing has remained constant since their development. Before many of them first crossed the surf in the Pacific, they most likely spent some time in the shores of California at a small test facility called the Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch, or AVTB. During the preceding decades, AVTB maintained an integral role in testing many variants and upgrades of the Amphibious Assault Vehicle, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the Marine Personnel Carrier, the Amphibious Assault Vehicle Survivability Upgrade and most recently the Amphibious Combat Vehicle. Manny has the pleasure of speaking with the AVTB Director, LtCol Scott Graniero.

Recommended Reading: Defense Acquisition Research Journal, U.S. Naval Institute, Marine Corps Gazette

16. Evolving the Future Force with Gen. Eric Smith

In July of 2019, the Commandant of the Marine Corps published his planning guidance. In it was a bold vision to modernize the Corps to meet rapidly evolving future threats. This vision is Force Design 2030. As General Berger developed his strategy, he also made some very important assignments, tasking his respective Deputy Commandants with critical requirements in building the Corps of the future. One of those was the DC for Combat Development and Integration who bore the responsibility of not only developing the requirements, but also conducting experimentation efforts to validate concepts, working through plans to divest of capabilities that did not meet future needs, and ultimately creating decision space for the Commandant to make informed decisions on Force Design 2030. That individual spent nearly two years conducting those studies and analysis, and burning the midnight oil to get the Corps to where it is today --- a strategic naval response force ready to answer our nations’ calls and meet and defeat any future threat. This week Manny has the honor of sitting down with the Corps’ 36th Assistant Commandant, General Eric Smith.

Book Recommendation: For Country and Corps: The Life of General Oliver P. Smith

15. Amphibious Combat Vehicle New Equipment Training Team with Sgt. Juwan White

Manny joins Sgt. Juwan White on Camp Pendleton, California to discuss the Amphibious Combat Vehicle’s New Equipment Training Team. The NETT is responsible for learning everything there is to know about the ACV. They then train the Marines who will eventually be operating those vehicles in the operational forces.

Book Recommendation: Marines in the Garden of Eden by Richard S. Lowry

Meet the host

Manny Pacheco enlisted in the Marines in 1982, and served as a Combat Correspondent and Public Affairs Marine for 21 years. His operational assignments include two deployments with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, supporting missions in Somalia, Rwanda, Kuwait, and a host of exercises in Africa and the Middle East.

Manny has over 12 years of experience working in acquisition, both with Marine Corps Systems Command and Program Executive Office Land Systems. He recently became a grandpa, and is a member of the Mediocre Golf Association.

Marine Corps Systems Command