Navy Dedicated to Winning War in Iraq

Friday, May 12, 2006
Ships assigned to Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) assemble in a formation for a photo exercise. The multinational Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) was established to monitor, inspect, board, and stop suspect shipping to pursue the war on terrorism and includes operations currently taking place in the North Arabia Sea to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. Countries contributing to CTF-150 currently include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Bart Bauer.

By Edward Lundquist

Department of the Navy leaders recently provided an update to representatives of the Navy and Marine Corps Council at the Army Navy Country Club on May 3, 2006. The council is composed of 21 organizations that support the Navy and Marine Corps, with a total membership of 500,000 constituents.

Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter has served in his position for four months. In that time he has been involved in a navy that is taking on new missions, establishing new units in unique warfare areas, and building coalitions to meet the current threat.

Today the Navy is taking a leadership role with Task Force Guantanamo and Task Force Horn of Africa; and Navy men and women are performing security duties at Fort Suse Prison in Iraq, and other Sailors are relieving Marines in providing security for the Haditha Dam. “We are preparing for an uncertain future,” he said. “We are not just facing a single enemy. We are dealing with a complex set of threats.

Furthermore, Winter said, uncertainty is the nature of these threats. While reaffirming the Navy’s commitment to maintain superiority of the high sea, or “blue” water, is now focusing on the coastal and riverine environments. “Future operations will require a wide range of capabilities and evolving focus. Changes to our naval forces will include a shift in emphasis from blue water to green and brown water missions.”

The Navy is not abandoning the blue water, Winter said. The service is investing in both equipment and people to raise the size of the force from 281 ships to 313, based on analysis that supports the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen talked about his three priorities of sustaining readiness, building a fleet for the future and creating 21st century leaders. “We’ve put readiness dollars in, and we know what we’re getting out.” The key to building the fleet of the future is to balance capability with affordability, Mullen said. In shaping the workforce of the future, he said “we’ve got to get it right.”

The Navy’s shipbuilding plan is supported in the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Beyond the questions of capability and affordability, Mullen also asks himself “if industry can build it.” To keep cost growth in check, Mullen said, the Navy must stick to its plan. “We’ve got to give industry a shot at stability.” “Leadership,” he said, “more than anything else, is what can solve intractable problems.”

Mullen referred to the importance of the reserves. He stressed the importance of creating a force where Navy people can leave active duty for a while, join the reserves, and potentially return to active duty later. “We’ve got to get to the point where you can leave and come back.” Mullen also spoke about engaging with other naval forces to create what he calls the “1,000 ship navy.” Partner nations are anxious to be engaged, he said. The U.S. Navy will acquire some smaller platforms, like LCS and Riverine craft, which can get into smaller ports and can operate with similar sized craft of other nations. Mullen recently met with six Navy commanders in the Pentagon as they prepare to assume command of half the U.S.-led Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) in Afghanistan. Each PRT will work directly with an Afghan Province, mentoring and assisting its relationships with towns and villages and with the national government.

Sailors and officers are being trained at places like Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, and Ft Bragg in North Carolina, in preparation for Individual Augmentee assignments in the CENTCOM AOR to join combat support and combat service support units. About half are coming from the active forces, and half are being drawn from our reservists. Seabees are building border security posts in Iraq along the Jordanian and Syrian borders. Sailors are also taking over the defenses of Iraq's Haditha Dam, which provides the Iraqi people with a third of their electricity, and relieving the Marines of this duty. A Navy unit is also assuming responsibility of Fort Suse, the highest security prison in Iraq. A Navy admiral has assumed command of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, responsible for detainee operations and intelligence gathering at Camp Delta there. Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris assumed command from Army Maj. Gen. Jay Hood last month in April.

Combined Task Force (CTF 150) is now commanded by Pakistan navy Rear Adm. Shahid Iqbal. The multi-national task force is responsible for conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the North Arabian Sea. The U.S. Navy is a part of this task force. Navy Rear Adm. Richard Hunt commands of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. This task force is providing “theater security cooperation" in this the troubled region, which includes Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Yemen. It is an area two-thirds the size of the continental United States with 181 million people. This term “theater security cooperation" includes civil military cooperation, humanitarian assistance, military-to-military training, and capacity building to improve regional security.

Edward Lundquist is a retired Navy captain and a senior technical director with Anteon Corporation.

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