Archive for the 'Navy' Category



SEALs Not Deployable Without The Jab

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 2 days ago

Epoch Times.

Navy SEALs have been informed by superiors that they won’t be deployed if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even if they’re granted a religious or medical exemption, according to lawyers representing the elite special operations troops and a document seen by The Epoch Times.

“What they’ve been told is if they apply for a religious accommodation, they will no longer be deployable,” R. Davis Younts, who is representing seven SEALs and is in talks to take on approximately 20 others, told The Epoch Times.

Timothy Parlatore, whose firm represents a number of SEALs and other service members concerned about the vaccines, said his clients have also been given a similar ultimatum.

Some SEALs have even been sent home mid-deployment for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine, one of his clients told him.

A document presented to the SEALs says that any special operations personnel, including Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen, “who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine based solely on personal or religious beliefs will be disqualified from [special operations] duty.” It was signed by Capt. Liam Hulin.

“This will affect deployment and special pays,” the document also states. “This provision does not pertain to medical contraindications or allergies to vaccine administration.”

The reasons the SEALs don’t want a shot are the same as many unvaccinated Americans. They believe they have so-called natural immunity, or protection against reinfection after getting COVID-19 and recovering. And a subset are Christians who don’t want any medicines that are developed using cells from aborted fetuses.

“These guys are not anti-vax, they just—given the extraordinarily low risk of COVID to them and the substantial risk of unknown long-term effects of the vaccine—they aren’t comfortable with it right now,” Parlatore told The Epoch Times.

The exact number of SEALs considering not getting a vaccine isn’t known, but both Parlatore and a pastor who is advising some of them say it’s in the hundreds. The loss of that many SEALs could devastate the elite force, which has 2,450 active-duty members. So far, lawyers have not been successful in attempts to convince military leaders to alter the harsh mandate.

From one of the comments, “I would love to have the unvaccinated SEALS stay in the United States.  We are going to need them.”

I’m not sure how those who refuse the jab will look at this, whether they will go silently into the night and be quiet like the FedGov wants them to and accept potentially not being able to vote, purchase a firearm, and having to accept a bad conduct discharge (if it comes to that).  My bet would be against that.

However, it disappoints me that any SEALs accepted the jab.  But that’s up to them.

I knew this information anyway several weeks ago.  I know someone who is connected to the SEAL community and he told me this information, and informs me that “morale is very low in the SEAL community at the moment.”

Yea, I don’t doubt it.

The Worst OPSEC Violation In My Lifetime

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

News.

Joe Biden just announced a new working group with Britain and Australia to share advanced technologies — including the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines — in a thinly veiled bid to counter China.

The trio, now known by the acronym AUKUS, will make it easier for the three countries to share information and know-how in key technological areas like artificial intelligence, cyber, quantum, underwater systems, and long-range strike capabilities.

Biden, joined virtually by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday afternoon, detailed the reasons for the trilateral effort.

“This is about investing in our greatest source of strength, our alliances and updating them to better meet the threats of today and tomorrow,” Biden said from the White House in between two monitors showing the other world leaders. “AUKUS — it sounds strange, all these acronyms, but it’s a good one.”

“We must now take our partnership to a new level,” said Morrison.

“We’re adding a new chapter in our friendship,” Johnson added.

All three countries will work over the next 18 months to figure out how best to deliver the technology, which the U.S. traditionally has only shared with the U.K., the official said. U.S. officials and experts noted that Australia currently doesn’t have the requisite fissile material to run a nuclear-powered submarine, meaning the next year and a half of negotiations will likely feature nuclear-material transfer discussions.

Let’s leave behind for the moment the issue of Australia imprisoning their own people who have not taken the mRNA vaccine, or the draconian lockdowns, the street beatings administered by the cops, and other highly objectionable behavior.

I know folks who left the Navy nuclear program, and while they are allowed to report on their CV or resume what ship they worked on, they cannot publish the type of nuclear reactor, or vice versa, they can put the nuclear reactor type with which they have had experience, but not connect it to a specific ship.  Many of the engineers and scientists at KAPL stay for a long time, but some leave because they can’t publish.  Publishing what they know isn’t allowed.

Because I know nuclear engineering and have been around so many people for so long who work in the same discipline I do, I know things like the allowable SUR (startup rate) they are allowed to achieve when returning to power from a reactor trip (it’s important to get power back in a submarine), as well as many other things about Navy nuclear power propulsion systems.  I know many of the things they cover in their nuclear prep / nuclear fundamentals course, I know fuel enrichments, etc., etc.

I would never divulge the information I know, regardless of whether the information was classified or FOUO or not, and regardless of whether I am under any specific NDA.  It isn’t wise.  I stand to gain no benefit, while potentially divulging sensitive information.  I care about things like that.

Australia is owned to a literal degree by China even more so than the U.S.  Not only is Biden risking violation of NDAs by Australians, whether intentional or not, he is also putting sensitive information in the hands of a country that is beholden to China.  This information spans not just the nuclear technology we have, but defense technology and how the two interrelate and support each other.  You can’t design a core without the software to do it, so this transfer must include things like highly proprietary and sensitive computer codes, from Monte Carlo transport and depletion codes to thermal hydraulics codes using CFD, critical heat flux correlations, DNB correlations, etc., etc.

My mind is racing at the technology we’re getting ready to package up and deliver to people who might not protect it.

In a time when the Department of Defense is concerned about whether TV shows, movies or the gaming industry divulges TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) of its SpecOps community, potentially endangering them in future engagements, Biden is committing OPSEC violations of his own.

This is the worst OPSEC violation in my lifetime.  I’ve never seen worse.  Admiral Rickover is turning in his grave.

U.S. Navy Wants Atheist Chaplains

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

FRC:

If there aren’t atheists in foxholes, why should we put them in the Chaplain Corps? Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) can’t imagine. Like most leaders, he’s astounded that the Navy is even considering letting someone who doesn’t believe in God join the chaplaincy. Three years ago, the idea was so absurd that even Obama’s military attorneys went to court to stop it. Now, with Secretary Jim Mattis at the helm, no one can quite understand why the topic is even up for discussion.

The bizarre storyline started in 2015 when Jason Heap tried to sue his way into the chaplaincy. Not surprisingly, the Navy rejected him because he planned to associate with two humanist groups instead of an actual religious denomination. Ultimately, the military ended up in court defending the notion that religious leaders should serve a religious purpose. They won. But this year, Heap is trying again — and, according to Senator Wicker — the Chaplain Appointment and Retention Eligibility Advisory Group is actually recommending the Navy accept him.

This is your U.S. Navy.  Leading the way in freakish trashiness.  Like always.  My former Marine had to interact with the Navy during a MEU to the Middle East after his deployment to Iraq.  I don’t think I’ve ever told you what he thinks about the Navy.  Except for Navy Corpsmen, of course, who aren’t really Navy.

Not Feeling The Love For The Navy SEALs

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 1 month ago

First there was Operation Red Wings, which as I have stated I believe to have been cocky, arrogant, chaotic, ill-conceived, ill-planned, badly executed, badly supported, poorly coupled with any other branch of the service, and ultimately bad for morale.

Next, there is this from The New York Times.

Britt Slabinski could hear the bullets ricochet off the rocks in the darkness. It was the first firefight for his six-man reconnaissance unit from SEAL Team 6, and it was outnumbered, outgunned and taking casualties on an Afghan mountaintop.

A half-dozen feet or so to his right, John Chapman, an Air Force technical sergeant acting as the unit’s radioman, lay wounded in the snow. Mr. Slabinski, a senior chief petty officer, could see through his night-vision goggles an aiming laser from Sergeant Chapman’s rifle rising and falling with his breathing, a sign he was alive.

Then another of the Americans was struck in a furious exchange of grenades and machine-gun fire, and the chief realized that his team had to get off the peak immediately.

He looked back over at Sergeant Chapman. The laser was no longer moving, Chief Slabinski recalls, though he was not close enough to check the airman’s pulse. Chased by bullets that hit a second SEAL in the leg, the chief said, he crawled on top of the sergeant but could not detect any response, so he slid down the mountain face with the other men. When they reached temporary cover, one asked: “Where’s John? Where’s Chappy?” Chief Slabinski responded, “He’s dead.”

Now, more than 14 years after that brutal fight, in which seven Americans ultimately died, the Air Force says that Chief Slabinski was wrong — and that Sergeant Chapman not only was alive, but also fought on alone for more than an hour after the SEALs had retreated. The Air Force secretary is pushing for a Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award, after new technology used in an examination of videos from aircraft flying overhead helped officials conclude that the sergeant had killed two fighters with Al Qaeda — one in hand-to-hand combat — before dying in an attempt to protect arriving reinforcements.

Good Lord!  Whatever happened to no man left behind?  This is really dark, and is surely a blight on their reputation, with the reputation questionable in my opinion anyway.

Now there is something that apparently I’m late to, perhaps because I wasn’t watching closely enough.  It pertains to Marcus Luttrell.

If Marcus doesn’t understand the problem with universal background checks, then he is part of the problem rather than the solution.  If he can’t fathom an overextended federal executive infringing on God-given rights and liberties, then he needs to study history and philosophy before opening his mouth again.  This is the problem with making more of military heroism than is there.  He is a military hero.  He isn’t a political philosopher, theologian or veteran of the war of independence (which began over gun control as much as anything else).

Why am I not feeling the love for the Navy SEALs?

What Those Sailors Captured By Iran Should Have Done

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 9 months ago

No doubt as you have noted, we have some sailors being held by Iran.  No doubt either, their vessels have been confiscated by Iran and are being reversed engineered now, perhaps with the help of Russian engineers and programmers.

Daniel (my former Marine) and I discussed it.  We both agreed upon the necessary course of action had we been on board those vessels prior to being confiscated by Iran.  Call on a satellite phone with your last known location, deploy life rafts, water, guns, ammunition and food, and then scuttle the vessels.

If they could not do that, they should not be sailors.  I’m sorry if this offends former sailors, but this is what I think. And it’s what Daniel thinks.  Sailors are supposed to be warriors too.  We’ve become soft.

The Navy And Marines Need Adult Supervision

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 11 months ago

Jean sends this along to show why the Navy needs Marine supervision.

Meanwhile, the officials also said that a Russian electronic intelligence-gathering vessel was granted safe harbor in the commercial port of Jacksonville, Fla., within listening range of Kings Bay.

But the Marines have their own problems.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SABIT QADAM, Afghanistan – As full integration of the Infantry Automatic Rifle into the Marine Corps’ arsenal becomes complete, the M249 Light Machine Gun, formerly the Squad Automatic Weapon, slowly fades into the history of the Corps.

The SAW has seen action since 1984 and has protected Marines since. Replaced by an automatic rifle of similar size and weight of the M16A4 service rifle already issued to rank and file Marines, the familiarity with the new weapon is almost instant.

“The IAR has fewer moving parts than the SAW does making it a lot more ‘grunt friendly,’” said Lance Cpl. Tyler Shaulis, an IAR gunner with 4th Platoon, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7. “It has a direct piston system, so there are fewer jams. It stays cleaner, longer with less carbon build up after it’s been fired. The muscle memory stays the same with it as it would an M16. If an IAR gunner goes down, any Marine could grab the weapon and lay down accurate suppressive fire without thinking twice.”

[ … ]

“We’re going back to what we had in WWII with the Browning Automatic Rifle,” Henderson said. “Since the 1980s, we gave the infantry squad the light machine gun, and now we’re having another shift in the Marine Corps to get back to what we were doing right the first time.”

I asked Daniel, my former Marine, what he thought about this.

This is sad. The reason we went with the SAW was because the BAR and its associated concept were inadequate.  At times in combat in Iraq, we had all nine SAW gunners firing during engagements, and I’m glad that we did.  We needed the fire power.  In the thousands of rounds I put down range stateside and Iraq, I never had a single problem … never … had … a … single … problem, with my SAW.  I kept it clean.  This change to the IAR is a testimony to laziness.  What do Marines want to do – take someone out on a date?  What else do they have to do when they’re deployed?  What’s the problem with cleaning weapons?  Mine worked because I maintained it right.  All this has done is make the Marines weaker.  It may be that this IAR could be used for select circumstances like room clearing, but the death of the SAW will bring nothing good.

Additionally, in spite of this, the Marines are still hell bent on bringing women into the infantry officer training at Quantico.

The Marine Corps’ effort to evaluate whether more combat jobs should open to women marked another milestone last week when the second of two female volunteers washed out of infantry officer training.

A second lieutenant, she was dropped from the program Friday after failing to complete required training due to unspecified medical reasons, a Marine official told Marine Corps Times. It’s unclear whether she was injured or if she became ill.

[ … ]

At Quantico, those overseeing the IOC experiment have said that it will involve up to 100 female officers and take at least a year to complete. The Marine official, speaking on condition of anonymity, reaffirmed the Corps’ intent to recruit female volunteers for subsequent iterations of the course.

“This was just the first shot,” the official said.

The Navy is out to lunch, but the Marines have joined them at that lunch.  If they aren’t attempting to force women through training at Quantico, they are worrying over large scale, heavily armored amphibious assault landings on near peer states, something that will never occur again.  Meanwhile, SOCOM continues to use up the money and be the nation’s first responders.  There are no adults left in the room, and the Marines are left without mission, leadership or vision.

Iranian Boats Shadow U.S. Aircraft Carrier

BY Herschel Smith
9 years, 8 months ago

Currently in the Persian Gulf.

The American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln has passed through the Strait of Hormuz, shadowed by Iranian patrol boats.

But there were no incidents on Tuesday as the Lincoln’s battle group crossed through the narrow strait, which Iran has threatened to close in retaliation for tighter Western sanctions.

Several U.S. choppers flanked the carrier group throughout the voyage from the Gulf. Radar operators also picked up an Iranian drone and surveillance helicopter in Iran’s airspace near the strait, which is jointly controlled by Iran and Oman.

Make no mistake about it.  These boats are a threat to U.S. sea craft.  And consider what I have reported before.

… consider what happened (I have reported this before) with the 26th MEU in 2008.  The USS Iwo Jima was in vicinity of the very subject of our discussion (somewhere in the Persian Gulf, or Strait of Hormuz), and an Iranian helicopter virtually landed aboard the ship.  The Marines at that time judged a threat and prepared to engage the enemy, but Navy officers, not wanting an incident, of course, ensured that the Marines didn’t respond.

An Iranian aircraft virtually landed on board the USS Iwo Jima, hovering above the deck for minutes.  The U.S. Navy did nothing.  And you can rest assured that the Navy will do nothing concerning Iranian sea-borne threats either.

Concerning Iran, the U.S., and the Strait of Hormuz

BY Herschel Smith
9 years, 9 months ago

We’re all aware of the recent boasting over how Iran can shut down the Strait of Hormuz.  We also know all about the pipelines being constructed by the UAE in an attempt to circumvent the Persian Gulf and thereby defang Iran in its hegemony over the region, at least as regards its threats over the waterways.

There is also – as usual – the bluster about how Iran won’t possibly make good on its promises, and how the U.S. Navy issued threats of its own.  But rest assured that if the U.S. or Israel launches a strike against the Iranian nuclear program, given the radical Mullahs apocalyptic and eschatological view of reality, they will hold nothing back from their retaliation.

And don’t rest so comfortably in the blustering of of the U.S. Navy.  Their fear of shore to ship missile technology has been the basis for their demurral to define any role at all in what they want so desperately to have a role in, i.e., littoral combat.  They won’t tread any closer than 20 miles to shore, the “beyond the horizon” distance.

As for anecdotal data, consider what happened (I have reported this before) with the 26th MEU in 2008.  The USS Iwo Jima was in vicinity of the very subject of our discussion (somewhere in the Persian Gulf, or Strait of Hormuz), and an Iranian helicopter virtually landed aboard the ship.  The Marines at that time judged a threat and prepared to engage the enemy, but Navy officers, not wanting an incident, of course, ensured that the Marines didn’t respond.

The incident of Iran filming a U.S. Aircraft Carrier rather pales in comparison to an Iranian helicopter hovering just over the deck of the USS Iwo Jima, does it not?  I have no confidence whatsoever in the willingness of the US Navy to engage Iran on any level at all.

The Navy in Asadabad?

BY Herschel Smith
10 years, 8 months ago

In Response to Afghanistan: We No Longer Give Pens and Stationary Away, DirtyMick responded as follows:

I was on the previous two PRTs in Kunar. They need to jettison the navy element and make it an army effort. Previous two Navy commanders (especially the one with the Nevada National guard in 2009/2010) focused too much on the soft aspect of coin, were in overall charge of the army manuever element at camp wright (like army running a ship), had a hard on for wanting to take non essential navy personnel (ie anybody not engineers) into places like the pech river valley and north of asadabad, and passing out badges and awards like candy on Halloween (so navy guys can be just as stacked as an 0311 marine cpl.). Torwards the end of this summer did my higher chain of command do things like cancel projects in the pech only after many months of us getting shot up in the pech. Why build a school for assholes when they’re shooting RPGs at us? I will never work on a PRT again.

And in response to Abandoning the Pech Valley Part II, Scarbelly79 said:

I was with DirtyMick in Asadabad during 2009-2010; I felt like our time was wasted in large part to satisfy the egos and experimentations of everyone who wanted to show how nuanced they were, and how we were going to make a lasting impact by NOT killing the enemy… An old vet told me once that “when you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow”.

It’s bad enough that Army and Marine Corps field grade officers are unwilling to risk their careers by granting air and indirect fire assets to troops in contact… We have Navy surface warfare officers and Air Force admin officers “leading” PRT’s; most of them without applicable experience or training – but trying desperately to pick up their O6 as they blame the Army and Marine Corps for screwing everything up.

The Pashtuns are not suicidal fanatics, they are brigands. We won’t win them to our side by bribing them with roads (when many of them don’t own cars), hospitals (without doctors to staff them), or electricity (when most of them don’t own televisions). We will win them to our side by effectively separating the militant Taliban from the general populace by hunting them down and killing them.

If you look back at the advent of Naval officers on PRTs in Afghanistan, it has pretty sad and naive theoretical framework.

The teams were founded in 2004 and are designed to be mobile goodwill ambassadors for coalition forces, using their transportation, logistics and communications capabilities to access the most remote Afghan villages.

Once there, the specialized personnel can hold medical, dental and veterinary clinics, and help build roads, wells, schools, irrigation systems and other facilities that will improve life for Afghans who have known only war and poverty for generations, Hartung said.

What about the infantry, you ask?  Why, they handle force protection for the team.  That’s right.  Force protection.  But DirtyMick and Scarbelly79 have given us reason to think that things are even worse now.  Naval officers are adorning themselves with medals at the expense of the fighting men, and then blaming the Army and Marines to boot.

Let’s make one thing clear.  We can discuss ineptitude all day, or organizational inadequacies, or lists of reasons that we are failing in Afghanistan.  We can treat that with clinical precision and a degree of detachment as a scientist.  But for a Naval officer on a PRT to complain and blame the fighting men is about as low as it gets.  I’m not sure what medals adorn the Naval officers on the PRTs, but unless they have been involved, engaged and active in kinetic operations and under fire, they don’t deserve and shouldn’t be awarded Combat Action Ribbons.  This would be a travesty.

Finally, here is the prerequisite for a Naval officer to complain about anything – ANYTHING – that is going on in Afghanistan.  Pick up a weapon, go on patrol, take fire, and kill the enemy.  Until you do, no one cares about your complaints, and playing the blame game with men under fire is immoral.  If you are a Naval officer who wants to complain, then lodge it right here, right now.  But show us your combat action ribbon first.  Tell us all about it.  We’re waiting.

SECDEF Gates on the Navy and Marines

BY Herschel Smith
11 years, 5 months ago

Before we address the issue of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ position on the sea services, let’s debunk the mythical notion that either the military or the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan is bankrupting the country (or even demanding the lion’s share of money).  From CATO (h/t Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit).

That’s quite enough said about that.  On to the sea services.

“Our current plan is to have eleven carrier strike groups through 2040,” Gates said. But a look at the facts is warranted, he added. The United States now has 11 large, nuclear-powered carriers, and there is nothing comparable anywhere else in the world.

“The U.S. Navy has 10 large-deck amphibious ships that can operate as sea bases for helicopters and vertical-takeoff jets,” he said. “No other navy has more than three, and all of those navies belong to allies or friends.”

The U.S. Navy can carry twice as many aircraft at sea as the rest of the world combined, Gates said. Under the sea, he told the group, the United States has 57 nuclear-powered attack and cruise-missile submarines – more than the rest of the world combined, and 79 Aegis-equipped surface ships that carry about 8,000 vertical-launch missile cells.

“In terms of total-missile firepower, the U.S. arguably outmatches the next 20 largest navies,” Gates said. “All told, the displacement of the U.S. battle fleet – a proxy for overall fleet capabilities – exceeds, by one recent estimate, at least the next 13 navies combined, of which 11 are our allies or partners.”

The United States must be able to project power overseas, Gates said. “But, consider the massive overmatch the U.S. already enjoys,” he added. “Consider, too, the growing anti-ship capabilities of adversaries. Do we really need 11 carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?”

The Marine Corps is now 202,000 strong. It is the largest force of its type in the world, and exceeds in size most nations’ armies. Between the world wars, the Marine Corps developed amphibious warfare doctrine and used it to great effect against the Japanese during World War II. Whether that capability still is needed, however, is worthy of thought, the secretary said.

“We have to take a hard look at where it would be necessary or sensible to launch another major amphibious landing again – especially as advances in anti-ship systems keep pushing the potential launch point further from shore,” Gates said. “On a more basic level, in the 21st century, what kind of amphibious capability do we really need to deal with the most likely scenarios, and then how much?”

The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) will take a particularly tough beating over the course of the next several months and years, but the Marines have rolled out their case.

The Marine Corps unveiled its new $13 billion landing-craft program on Tuesday, a day after Defense Secretary Robert Gates questioned the Pentagon’s need for it …

“Secretary Gates has placed his marker, and he’s not in favor of continuing the program,” said Dakota Wood, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and a retired Marine officer. “The Marine Corps is going to have to come up with a whale of a rationale to convince him otherwise.”

The need, the Marines say, stems from their need to replace its Nixon-era Amphibious Assault Vehicles. The new vehicle will allow Marines to land on a hostile shore, a capability needed, for example, in the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Somalia in the 1990s and civilians from Lebanon in 2006, said Lt. Gen. George Flynn, who leads the Marine Corps Combat Development Command. The amphibious capability also forces adversaries to undertake “costly defensive measures,” Flynn said.

Analysis & Commentary

The issue of expense of military hardware, systems and size has nothing to do with overspending.  It pertains to the relative commitment of this particular administration to national defense as opposed to government-run, government-administered programs and subsidies.  We have the economy to support an even larger military than we currently have.  What we don’t have is the national will.

Aircraft carriers, as much or more than any other military hardware, is a way of projecting power across the globe.  My support of them is well known, and my support for the F-22 program has been made clear.  In fact, I have proposed an increase rather than a decrease in Carrier battle groups.  The size of the Marine Corps is not a problem for the national economy, and it’s easy to question expenditures for a strong national defense while comfortably enjoying the peace and security that it has brought.

But this isn’t the same thing as questioning the need for the EFV and the forcible entry doctrine of the Marine Corps.  I have taken the doctrine to task.

I do not now and have never advocated that the Marine Corps jettison completely their notion of littoral readiness and expeditionary warfare capabilities, but I have strongly advocated more support for the missions we have at hand.

Finally, it occurs to me that the debate is unnecessary.  While Conway has famously said that the Corps is getting too heavy, his program relies on the extremely heavy Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, that behemoth that is being designed and tested because we want forcible entry capabilities – against who, I frankly don’t know.

If it is a failing state or near failing state, no one needs the capabilities of the EFV.  If it is a legitimate near peer enemy or second world state, then the casualties sustained from an actual land invasion would be enormous.  Giving the enemy a chance to mine a beach, build bunkers, arm its army with missiles, and deploy air power, an infantry battalion would be dead within minutes.  1000 Marines – dead, along with the sinking of an Amphibious Assault Dock and its associated EFVs.

No one has yet given me a legitimate enemy who needs to be attacked by an EFV.  On the other hand, I have strongly recommended the retooling of the expeditionary concept to rely much more heavily on air power and the air-ground task force concept.  It would save money, create a lighter and more mobile Marine Corps (with Amphibious Assault Docks ferrying around more helicopters rather than LCACs), and better enable the Marines to perform multiple missions.  I have also recommended an entirely new generation of Marine Corps helicopters.

This is not suggesting that the Marine Corps in any way needs to have its funding cut or decrease its size.  It is to suggest that the money might be more wisely spent in other areas.  The mission still isn’t clear.  Above it has been suggested that the Corps needs the EFV for withdrawal of forces (such as from Somalia) or evacuation of civilians (such as from Lebanon).  But this explanation doesn’t comport with the facts of the program.  “The Corps aims to buy a total of 573 EFVS. This would give it the capacity to amphibiously transport eight infantry battalions of about 970 Marines and sailors per battalion, the Congressional Research Service said in a report dated August 3, 2009.”

We don’t need 573 EFVs and eight infantry Battalions to evacuate civilians from Lebanon.  The Corps obviously plans to replace its amphibious transport of Marines (currently with the LCAC) with the EFV.  The Corps also plans to continue its doctrine of amphibious-based forcible entry.  But as I have pointed out, there is no reason that this cannot be done via air and a new helicopter fleet.  If the plan is to be prepared to invade a near-peer via an amphibious landing, this is lunacy and madness.  If the plan is to save ships by allowing them to be 25 miles offshore, this is naive and sophomoric.  The Navy had better be designing better counter-measures.

While there is every good reason to be more efficient in both military spending and non-defense spending, there is no good reason to cut funding to the Corps.  But the Corps needs to rethink its basic doctrine and reassess the real need for the EFV.  Going in the direction of a lighter, air-sea-based, rapid reaction force has its merits, and should warrant some attention.  Gates should hear fresh thinking from the U.S. Marine Corps, not warmed over 60 year old doctrine.  It’s too bad that the QDR, that brainchild of Michelle Flourney,  is such an incredible waste of ink and paper.  It would have been a good repository for fresh thinking.


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