...for a budget rounding error...
Maybe we should take a page from the US Space Force and create yet another military branch, the US Riverine Force.
The USRF would instantly have institutional and bureaucratic inertia, along with all the accompanying incentives for self preservation and growth. Every agency strives to keep existing.
I'm only 99% kidding.
Riverine warfare should have been on the Marines front burner decades ago and not handled by Navy Master at Arms, except for actual operating of the craft themselves maybe. The trigger pullers in the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) should be the USMC.
This is what I never understood about their current design for the new landing ships...that are too slow and too big for the type of Marine Raider operations they are talking about. Sure, once the Marines GET where they want to be and want to grow a footprint, you can bring in the large, slow ships to offload supplies...but you can do that from other ships (and none of it will be stealthy). I always favored the opinion that it was better to be able to sneak into a place and, if noticed, be able to get out quicker than you got in.
People complain about the Marine Corps reduction in size. Some of it reflects changes in missions or a return to roots which I agree with while I disagree on some of the specifics. The other is based on the reality the Navy is not really interested in providing the corps with needed support. The lack of riverine craft and the planned reduction in the gator navy (in defiance of the Federal law). means the Corps has to downsize to what can be supported.
Navy intends to break law for 30 years
What was/is the opposition of the CB90?
I get that its a foreign made design, however its pretty damn versatile and its proven. What am I missing here?
I think the Marines should handle Riverine operations and return to their roots. At the same time, I think the USMC should go for the CB90 and operate them off the LPD and LSD's. They can use them to launch amphibious raids, Anti piracy operations and Force Recon Raids.
Effective 9/17/2020, all Coastal Riverine Forces changed their name to “Maritime Expeditionary Security Forces”
While not in the same class as the Mark VI, options are available stateside.
With SOCOM continuing to do the upfront work for future designs with funding aligned to support it.
Bottom line, Riverine isn't getting a lot of publicity, but based on the continuing requirements for it within the COCOMs, it is alive and well. If the USMC is interested in jumping into this mission, they have the means to get after it with lots of investment already made with PEO Maritime and NECC.
In my view, not only will there be periodic requirements for operational US riverine units, the future of surface naval operations probably will ONLY involve small craft. An electronics technician radar, I was lucky to be trained as an electronic warfare technician more than a decade before that rating was formally created. In this century, the possibility that large surface units can operate undetected is diminishing rapidly. Any major naval war is likely to demonstrate that only small and relatively stealthy surface craft can survive in surface combat operations. We probably can develop viable submersible and semi-submersible vessels for logistics and modest amphibious operations, but the days of gigantic surface vessels are probably behind us. The more experience we have with small combat vessels, the more likely we are to evolve as trends probably will require.
Hah! NATTC Millington. Spent 39 months as DIVO for 2 “A” schools at NTTC Corry Station. NATTC & NTTC worked for CNET. My own dealing with Millington was with their senior civilian GS staff. You learned pretty quick with those imperious foot-draggers to just say, “OK, I got it”, and then teach an up-to-date curriculum without waiting for it to get inexpertly parsed by wonks with overloaded in-boxes and no concept of an out-box. And, yeah. being imperious and a foot-dragger isn't mutually exclusive. Pronounce NATTC and see how it sounds. And no, it is not an acronym for Naval Air Testicle Twisting Center. NATTC was always obsessed with “Thru-Put”, that is, attrition vs graduations. In highly technical fields what's wrong with a 98.1% Thru-Put? Have it fall to 97.6% and you'd think the world was ending. A good friend was the LCPO for IM/OM School at Corry Station. He got called in for a séance with our XO re “Thru-Put”. The XO was a Naval Aviator (helo). The Senior Chief said, “It's like this, XO. you know what a barometric altimeter is right? Now imagine I graduate some IMSN from my “A” School who is not only just getting by academically but who is an attitudinal A__bag with zero work ethic. You wanna going flying on some foggy night in mountainous terrain knowing that IMSN Schmedlapp just calibrated your altimeter?” That stiffened up the XO's resolve to fob off NATTC and tell 'em, “You worry about the numbers all you want but we'll only graduate quality”. I was lucky. I worked for a good LDO Commander. That IMCS(SW) and I ended up working together as asphalt/road building inspectors for the county. Go figure.
Andrew Higgins can hum a few bars of this tune!
The Navy, down deep, does not like brown water. The Navy invented riverine warfare in the Civil War and quickly abandoned it. We reinvented riverine warfare in Vietnam and then scrapped it. The Navy is no longer capable of designing and building small combatants for littoral and riverine warfare. Our best course is to purchase such platforms from allied navies and, perhaps, put the Marines in charge of operating them.
How can we trust a Navy that ignores riverine warfare, claims that Little Coffin Ships are actual warships, and does not own a single destroyer, ( BURKEs are NOT destroyers, they are CLAAs, modern ATLANTAs.)
Perhaps we should contract with the Scandinavians, for our Riverine Force.
Unfortunately, it is a matter of turf and funding. Navy is basically Air, Submarine and Surface. Whose pot of money would riverine assets be taken from? Whose training base would have riverine as a carve out? I suppose it might be possible to make a case for Reserve forces as a component of SOCOM---but that wouldn't really be right either.
We had a well-developed riverine capability in our combined Army/Navy Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta. As a 9th Division GI, it was enormously impressive to be part of it on operations. But did it repay its large cost and overhead by conferring greater mobility and combat capability? AFAIK, the divisional command considered the Riverine Brigade the least cost-effective of its three brigades. They handed off the gunboat and landing craft flotillas to the Vietnamese as soon as they could, in favor of operations supported by faster and more versatile helicopters. The original "Dinassaut" riverine squadrons had been useful in the French Indochina war, but seemed obsolescent in an age of airmobility.
FWIW this is the navalism cycle of every conflict I have studied. During the English Civil War, the big flashy boats were built in the peace before the war, while all the construction during the war was small boats. Same with WWI: the RN built all the big battleships before the war, spent the conflict churning out small boats. Peacetime sees displacement go up, wartime sees it drop. But you are right that tomorrow's wars are not going to give the industrial base time to react like that.
Seems like the simple, relatively cheap, and effective solution is a few Naval Reserve units stationed at coastal and inland Coast Guard Stations.