Monday, November 07, 2005

CNO sets "Naval Infantry" straight

The CNO gets straight 5.0s for clarifying the plan for "Naval Infantry" that was dumped in his lap during the turnover. There was a lot of head scratching over "Naval Infantry" - "Riverine" - and the new "Naval Expeditionary Combat Command."

It took awhile, not his fault, but all is clear now - and from the cheap seats, looks like a homerun.

Recognizing a growing need for sailors trained in close combat and security, the Navy has realigned and plans to expand its land-based forces under a single command.

The Naval Expeditionary Combat Command was established last month and will eventually encompass 40,000 sailors around the world. Their headquarters will be at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base.
“The Marines are the naval infantry,” said Rear Adm. Donald C. Bullard, deputy chief of staff for operational readiness and training for Fleet Forces.
With heavy combat in the Middle East taxing the Army and Marines, the Navy wants to put more boots and force into the fight. The Navy estimates it has 7,000 sailors on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sailors guard ports and oil platforms, build roads and buildings and run customs operations, among other duties.
The new Naval Expeditionary Combat Command also will include the Naval Construction Forces Command, or Seabees, Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force, Maritime Force Protection Command and the Master at Arms force. Bullard, a naval aviator and former skipper of the aircraft carrier Constellation will initially lead the new group.
Here is the thing that makes Phibian's heart pound. I felt so alone all those months ago...but things got better....and better...

The Navy also will re-establish a riverine combat force to close a gap in providing force and protection along rivers in hostile countries. The “brown water Navy” has not been widespread since swift boats fought in Vietnam, although Navy SEALs perform specialized river operations.

Bullard expects a force of more than 700 sailors to fill three units of river combat forces, with the first unit to become operational in 2007.

He said the riverine force could be used around the globe, particularly in Niger and Colombia. A home port or ports for the new force has not been decided.

If I was a young surface warfare officer, I would be tripping over my boss to get in on the ground floor. To hell with the Skipper that gives you the "career impact" statement. Sure, folks select in their own image, but, honestly - you only have one shot at a career. Do what you would be excited about - your career will take care of itself.

Good commentary over at EagleSpeak on the same subject.

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