What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

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What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

leesea
I would like to add to this my recent comments to some other folks about the riverines and NECC:
 
"What maritime security in the Navy and specifically NECC lacks is ship and transportation assets of their own. They are always hitching a ride on amphibs and sealift ships.
 
I submit the model used in Iraq i.e towing boats around on trailers is NOT that which we Gamewardens were used to and is probably not what will be done in other AORs.  We, for the most part, worked from waterborne bases some of which were fairly mobile.  That is what the Navy should be working on - afloat forward basing.  It reduces footprint ashore and adds flexibility for employment.  You all can tell sea stories of working off an LSD, or an AGP/LST, or the old Benewah, or a MOBASE.
 
Lee


News from Inside the Navy provided by the InsideDefense NewsStand
-----------------------------------------------------------

RIVERINE FORCES LOOK BEYOND IRAQ AS DRAWDOWN APPROACHES

South America, SE Asia eyed next
Date: November 2, 2009

Navy Expeditionary Combat Command riverine forces are looking at conducting exercises and training in South America and Southeast Asia when forces draw down in Iraq over the next year, according to Capt. Anthony Krueger, commander of NECC’s riverine group.

Logistics group western Pacific (CTF-73) staff recently contacted NECC about conducting bilateral exercises with countries in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines, Krueger told Inside the Navy in an Oct. 22 interview. Riverine forces are discussing that possibility as the group mulls what to do next after they leave Iraq. South America is also a potential location for riverine forces, the captain added.

“We’re evaluating that right now and [whether] it’s going to be with the military or the police forces,” he said. “We’re still working our way through the details.”

The riverine group consists of three squadrons that cycle through six-month deployments. In the summer, riverine forces moved from Anbar province in western Iraq to the south in Basra, where they are doing the same work -- training with Iraqi riverine forces so that they will be able to take over operations when U.S. forces leave.

“Since setting up shop down there, we have been partnering and working with the coastal border guard units down there -- the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi riverine police,” Krueger said.

The captain said he felt that the situation in Anbar was “in pretty good shape when we left.”

Their permanent departure from Iraq is looming perhaps next year, but the group does not know exactly when that will happen and their future assignments have not been determined.

Krueger said he does not expect to have any role in Afghanistan.

“The rivers they do have there are very seasonal, with the winter run-off and the raging torrents, and then in the summertime they’re almost dried creek beds,” he said. “Because of that, there is no contemplation for us, because the geography doesn’t really support that.”

Instead, the riverine group is turning its focus to the regions that NECC as a whole is placing a greater emphasis on -- South America, Africa and Southeast Asia.

“There are actually more requests for commitments than we can handle in the next two years from [South America, Africa and the Pacific],” he said. “So I think life after Iraq, we won’t be lacking for work around the world in support of the various combatant commanders out there.”

The group’s approach will differ depending on the region, he said.

“Are they looking for us to stand up a capability from the ground up, which we’re working right now with a South American country, or is it a more advanced riverine capability where the areas of training and exercises can be on a more advanced level?” he said. “It really does depend on a particular country and what the combatant commander wants us to do.”

Krueger acknowledged that leadership in the Pentagon was discussing standing up a fourth riverine squadron, but said it would be “premature” to talk about it and what impact it might have on the group.

“Discussions are ongoing,” he said. “Depending on if it happens, and what the size and scope of this would be, I couldn’t really answer that unless we knew.” -- Dan Taylor

© 2009 Inside Washington Publishers
LCDR SWO MTS all retd now PBR-FVA VP
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

DeltaSix
  Towing around the boats worked well for us in SBU-26. In many ways isolated, SBU-26 was on the cutting edge of mobility which was accomplished by using the Patrol Boat, Light or PBL. Flying down range is relatively simple to do depending on what you are trying to accomplish and how many assets require mobility at the same time.
  Basing of assets is done by the host nation extending its bases to the unit/detachment. This, in the past, has been quite satisfactory. Usually all that is asked in return is an opportunity to train with our forces and to supply them with things that are hard for them to get. From ammunition, spare parts, and at times, toilet seats and paper. When on A DFT (Deployment for Training), a minimun 10k rounds of ammo, 6-10 toilet seats, and a case of toilet paper was the standard on the wishlist.  The host country would supply the fuel or we would pay for it. Fuel was never a problem. However, the fuel of preference in the hinterlands is not diesel, it is gas which could be an issue. Deployments were typically 3 weeks so a 60-day load out of parts and whatnot weretaken. We were prepared to take a prestaged, 90-day load out if required.
  In today's battlespace, mobility is crucial. The Mothership/boat concept is too slow a process to engage in if the goal is to get in and get out. Long term deployments can be accomplished thru host nation facilities. If there are no facilities are available in AOR's then MEATS operations are the most viable option. Those boys better get training with those caving ladders if they want to keep thier jobs! Barges are too slow and in most rivers in this world, neither they or any support ship I know of currently in the inventory, will not be able to navigate to the AOR. This will severly affect tasking to only areas with Barge/SHip support. It's called roughing it. If you want the work, get and keep your thinking cap on.
  The rivers in Vietnam centered around the mighty Mekong. Most rivers that areas of concern are nothing like the Mekong as far as navigability. Most tropical Rivers are seasonal in thier depth. Sometimes a 40 ft difference between dry and rainy season must be considered.
  The size (weight, length and beam) must be considered as well as that of the prime movers. A 25 ft PBL and a pickup can be packed into a C-130. Known for its short take off and landing capabilities. Therefore getting closer to the AOR was never an issue. C17's and particularly, C-5's, Require quite a larger landing/take-off area so access to the AOR must either be left to a long and many times dangerous, extended drive, or by MEATS. Moving with the prime mover is always preferable due to its capability to carry logistic requirements.
  Different assets for different AOR's must be considered by NECC. Particularly if the want to reach into the unimproved areas of the globe. Small, light boats similar to PBL's should be considered for logistic and transportation purposes. Willingness to diversify it's assets may be the key elemnt to the Riverine Divioins' log-term success by being able to extend its influence to as many AOR's as possible or it will go the way of the MRF, which is to say, extinct.
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

Seafox
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

DeltaSix
What's it take to transport that boat? Anybody? What is the Combat weight?
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

leesea
In reply to this post by DeltaSix
D6, I think you/we need to define our terms better.  Some history:  Most opeartions in Vietnam were NOT on the big rivers.  Review the history of SEALORDS to see how Adm Zumwalt pushed the naval units up into streams almost too small to turn around in.  I never ran patrols on a large river.  Next many Gamewarden operations were based a ATSBs because they were involved in long term COIN ops not strike&return ops or raids like you are discussing.   Obviously what we had in Vietnam and as you allued to, that required host nation support and also obviously the HNS did NOT get the USN secure bases!  HNS takes a long time to set up and MUST be included in the responsiveness considerations.   Merely having a fast boat on a trailer is not looking at the whole picture.

What SBUs and more recelntly the RivRons have been doing in later water does not constitute a complete baseline.  I would ask what if there are NO roads for your PBL & truck/trailer, and aren't they targets for land mines, and who stays behind to watch your gear when the boat is deployed?

Yes the need is for force adaptive packages and I believe that will more oftern than not require an afloat forward support ship aka  mothership.  I am talking about something much more than a PC with a stern ramp.  PCs may have enough speed but lack weapons and logisics capacity.   To think that motherships are barges or slow is not looking at what is already out  Why not discuss what the NSWG has been doing off the MSC chartered Choust Bros OSVs?

One has to get in line to for a unit's assets to be airflifted to the nearest big damn airfiield.   IF NECC had a proper mothership intact RivRon dets could be deployed, operated and supported by them.   So long as Navy small boat units have to "hitch a ride" on an aiflifter or amphib, they will always get to someplace else too late IMHO.
LCDR SWO MTS all retd now PBR-FVA VP
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

DeltaSix
   Considering that our mission in Latin America, for the most part, and thusfar would be "Training", the immediate interest should be in  one or 2 detachments maximum, be sent for joint training with the host nation that will and have, provided basing and fuel for the operation.
   I can agree wholeheartedly, that a Division would be neccasary to maintain a long term presence inan AO but at this time, there seems to be neither desire or invitation from a host nation to do so. I am simply stating, that to maintain the validity and value of the RivDivs, there must be vialble employment or they will be on the chopping block sooner than later.
   Here are some benefits to Deployments For Training or DFT's:

1. Provide a relationship to be built between our forces and the host nation.
2. Allow our forces an opportunity to learn the lay of the land....aint nothin like first hand experiance in a place you may be fighting in tomorrow.
3. Often, it is the US Force that leaves with a better understanding of HOW to operate ina particular AO by learning what really works based on observation of the Host Nation's troops.
4. Provides more in-the-field clout to our host counterparts as any opposing force will surely know that our troops are in the AO. It has been my experiance that when the USN is in town. things generally are a bit more quiet, which our host are extremely grateful for.

  The primary reason that SBU-26 even exsisted was that NAVSPECWAR was looking to make an impact in Latin America. It would sstill be SBT-26 except for the Panama Canal treaty. There is enough work there for a lifetime. The issue is, an entire division up river would not be accepted or could be undertaken on that large a scale for a period of just a few weeks.
   The Riv Divs are in a situation to be on the cutting edge of the sword here as far as expeditionary warfare goes. In fact, if I were still active, I might be more inclined to serve with them rather than an SBT. For the future of the Force's long term survival, it needs to be able to train itself in potential hotspots. To do this on a continuous, non-alarming basis, detachments must be formed to execute the experiance building opportunities DFT's offer.
  Im afraid, training on the James River waiting for something to happen, will not be ebenficial to the long term vialility for the unit.
  MTT's to places like Puerto San Jose, Guatemala are dandy, but limited. Gotta have YOUR boats With YOUR guys operating jointly. MTT's are for the benefit of the host nation. DFT's mostly benefit our guys.
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

leesea
D6 FYI, the NECC RivRons (while they train up as one unit) do not deploy as such.  The way it worked in Iraq, was for a Det to operate 4 to 6 boats.  The dets rotated while the boasts stayed in-country.   All three RivRons got to send dets over.  BUT RivRon 3 uses different boat over at Yorktown.  I believe they are 11 mtr Zodiacs or Willards.

The structure the Navy used for new Riverines was very peculiar to me UNTIL I looked at the Navy Landing Party manual and there it was.  Yep they followed a document that had not been updated for decades and look what they got?  A squadron staff which does NOT go beyond the wire, staffers just like DESRONS.  When talking to the new riverines always ask if they are combat qualified (or just spent time over there)?

I was told that towards the end of the deployments, they were doing much more training of Iraqi army troops for assaults (aka raids) and of the Iraqi National River Police who were sked to take overf from the riverines up north around Haditha Dam.  The USN then was move down to around Basra to do regular river patrols there (trying to stop Iranian intruders and safeguard the oil infrastructures).
LCDR SWO MTS all retd now PBR-FVA VP
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

DeltaSix
Doesn't look like they will survive another 5 years if they dont start thinking outside of the box a bit. As you mentioned. The key to thier future is remaining viable.
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

Seafox
 My question is how does the BIG Blue Admirals view the Riverine Forces????
I remember well after Vietnam The Navy did away with the Brownwater Navy.
Only NSW CRDs were saved and they were designated NRF.
Many of the Current Active duty don't realize that from the 70s to the 90's
The CRDs and later called  Special Boat Units were 66% manned by Reservists.
 The USMC got involed in Riverine Warfare during the early 90's...
becuase they were looking for missions to do during this period of Peace.
Once a long term War began in Iraq and Afganistan The Marine Generals
have turned over their Riverine assets and trained the first Squadrons of USN Riverines.
Politically with the current Adminstration wants to get out of Iraq, When
They do...will the Big Blue Admirals let the Riverines survive???
Its going to take a Admiral who can sell the Riverines to the JCS when the post war cuts come.
and historically Post war cuts always come.
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

Seafox
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

leesea
I see two boats both new to the RivRons in this photo - a RCB (I believe its the CB-90 demo boat) and RAB aka SOC-R.

goto SafeBoats Intl website for more details about RCB here:
http://www.safeboats.com/default/boats_dynamic_sections.php?section=mission

and to USMI for RAB info here:
http://www.usmi.com/riverineCraft.htm
LCDR SWO MTS all retd now PBR-FVA VP
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

DeltaSix
   Might sound small and insignificant, but ever wonder why a boat with windows has never had a handcrank or power to open and close?
   Windows are cool to have in the big water to protect the trons inside and whatnot. But the reflection and noise dampening on a river is an issue. Just sayin......... Sometimes the simple things evade out attention
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

Seafox
In reply to this post by leesea
 How many of the" new"
 boats do they have already??? How many are they suppost to have???
The photo looks cool, but if they are just proto types and not in production. Seems they are
moving slow in funding and production and the Riverines  are still driving the USMC hand me down
SURCs???
So which Squadron is up to full speed on Boats in their Table of Origanization?
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

leesea
There are three RivRons running now all with a full complement of existing boats.  The SURCs became the RPBs and are used by Rons 1 & 2.  I don't know if NECC has bought any more new hulls.  RivRon 3 was using Navy Standard Zodiac cabin RHIBS.  I believe the RAB aka SOC-Rs are in service with one Ron?
All those comments by COMNECC point to funding for new boats like the RCB, but I couldn't find the funding line in the SCB budget (it may be there I just don't have time to use a magnifying glass on all those tables!)
LCDR SWO MTS all retd now PBR-FVA VP
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

Seafox
Leesea.. Thankyou for your reply.You seem to have the most knowledge about the new Riverines.

For me I see a problem when RivRon 3 is running around on RHIBs..... instead of the boats they need to fight on.
and now another Squadron.
Sounds like the Riverines is playing ' Robbing Peter To Play Paul" with boats..
and the Navy is behind on Funding and procurement for the Riverines.
  Training on RIBS!! to do riverine warfare!!. somebody upstairs seems to have a fleet thinking..  well a Boat is a Boat.

Thats like training on a LCPL and deploying on PBRS...minimum training value.
Only solution I see is, They have to have some sort of rotation system on to the Boats they will deploy on.
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

Seafox
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

Seafox
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

leesea
In reply to this post by Seafox
Well its a carryover from the Marines who were training on RACs even after they were driving SURCs in-country.  The Riverienes trained on RACs to start with and then some plain jane SURCs before going over.  I think Ron3 got their cabin RHIB because there were not engough SURCs to got around.  And if they are indeed using RABs (=SOC-Rs) it once again is probably for money reasons.  Both USMI and SafeBoat products on on the GSA sked and hence easier to buy IF there are funds available?
LCDR SWO MTS all retd now PBR-FVA VP
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

Seafox
In reply to this post by Seafox
RAB
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Re: What next for the Riverines? Opinion and new article

Delta Six
Looks rather British. Doesn't it, Seafox?
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