How to Make the West Coast USNR a War Winner?
if you can't fuel, supply or feed your force - you surrender it
There is an interesting nugget in the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Readiness markup of the FY24 NDAA that is a great setup to something I’ve been pondering since last week. (thanks Charlie)
One - of the many - underspoken enabler questions of not just the USMC’s EABO concept but pretty much any conflict that will take place in and around the Western Pacific combat environment is - how are we going to get fuel, food, parts and equipment ashore where and when we need it?
Well … these two beauties pointed out by ThinkDefence are handy:
MV Vice Adm. K.R. Wheeler is a 16-yr old Offshore Petroleum Distribution System (OPDS) ship used for ship to shore fuel transfer.
As far as I can tell, we only have one (1).
Does anyone here think that in the case of war in the Western Pacific against the People’s Republic of China we will need just one of these? Forget the USMC … the entire Joint/Combined Force?
Even if you wish away combat loss (which I don’t) - will one ship be able to cover what the USMC and USN will need from Darwin to Okinawa east to Wake?
Looks pretty handy, doesn’t it? As far as I have been able to discover, this capability was resident in Amphibious Construction Battalion 1 on the West Coast and 2 on the East Coast. Let’s check in with them;
On March 2, Amphibious Construction Battalion TWO (ACB2) held a decommissioning ceremony at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek (JEBLC) chapel after nearly 80 years of service to the Navy and Marine Corps team and our nation.
Sigh. So … I’ll throw this out to the Front Porch - please tell me it isn’t as bad as it seems where once again we are talking a big game, but when it comes to the hardware and expertise to actually go to war - the unsexy but important enablers are … not there.
I don’t see any sane argument that would make the position that we need less instead more of both of these … especially in line with the recent NDAA mark-up.
Let’s loop back to the title of this post. One of my great frustrations for decades is that every other service seems to do a better job getting a bang for its buck from the reserves. The Navy seems to let so much human capital go uncaptured - even in part - when they leave the active force.
Both of these capabilities - if the active force feels it is too sexy to do the important work, can we find a home for these capabilities in the USNR? In the war when we’ll need them, everyone is getting recalled to active duty anyway - why not have the equipment and personnel ready to go at D+1?
Something to ponder mid-week.