Monday, June 27, 2011

Test driving Influence Squadrons?


Though I am still iffy on the name - the concept is solid.

Strip out the DDGs ... and what do you have? CAPT Hendrix, call your office.
... diving and salvage ship USNS Safegurd (T-ARS 50), ... US Navy Seabees, representatives from the US Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST), the US Navy Mobile Security Squadron, a US Navy Riverine Force and Medical Support personnel.
...
Ashore training includes Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) exercises; diver training; salvage operations; joint medical, dental and civic action projects, and aircrew familiarization exchanges.
...
The at-sea phase of CARAT focuses on developing maritime security capabilities in areas such as maritime interdiction, information sharing, combined operations at sea, patrol operations and gunnery exercises, to include the anti-piracy and anti-smuggling exercises.
... and liberty - one hopes - in The Philippines.

69 comments:

LT B said...

Liberty in the PI?  They DEFINITELY need METOC assitance in those tropical W. Pac waters! 

UltimaRatioRegis said...

I have to ask the question here.  If we call them "influence squadrons", and I understand you aren't sold on the name, but it seems clear that is what the Navy is attempting with these deployments, the question remains, just whom are we trying to influence? 

If "influence" means the Philippines, then the task is what we called "theater engagement", now TSCP. 

If we are trying to influence a potential adversary, which is what "influence" has traditionally meant, then it is aimed at PLAN.  That, however, can only be done with credible combat power. 

Haven't we made that mistake before?  Built an Asiatic Fleet consisting of just enough combat power to be important enough to sink?  Admiral Hart might say we did.

Salty Gator said...

This is considerably more solid than having Nigerians practice damage control onboard a DDG Flt IIA.  Glad to see some sanity slowly creeping its way back into the whole TSC arena.

Capt Hendrix said...

What?  Did you think I just wrote the article and went away ;) ?  I'm not sold on the name either (who wants to command InfRon ONE?) but needed to get the idea across somewhat clearly.  As far as calling my office, no thanks.  I'm on leave, back home, on the farm, in Indiana.  My girls are on horseback this week, in God's country.

ewok40k said...

and in about the same place...

FCC said...

I've got a couple CARATs under my belt, and in my experience they really are a great program.  Granted, it kind of sounds like a grip-and-grin boondoggle (and there are some elements of that); but the U/W periods have great utility for dusting off and flexing divtacs, flashing light, and other traditional capabilities which, unfortunately, sometimes do fall by the wayside (for USN at least).  Comms can be rough -- ever heard Thai english over FLTTAC? -- but then that, too, is part of the benefit.

The Old Salt said...

Been a few years since I did a CARET, but enjoyed the interaction. The only reason our "influence" works is because our friends know the friendly guys with the big guns are just over the horizon and just beyond the ADIZ. Two sides of the same coin...we have influence because of our combat forces, not in spite of them. We need to ensure the leadership doesn't forget this salient fact.

Capt Hendrix said...

Like I said in my 2010 follow up article, "More Henderson, Less Bonds" "...The discussion here suggests that naval presence is a strategic end in itself; as long as you are present, you establish and maintain the rules in the area where you operate. In ten years, through an alternative shipbuilding scheme that converts one high-end platform's worth of investment per year into ten less complex ships, the U.S. Navy would gain 100 ships' worth of war-preventive naval presence.
Remember, the high-end portion of the Navy does not just go away. Ninety percent of the shipbuilding budget would still go toward these platforms. And, as stated in 2009's "Buy Ford, Not Ferrari" article, they would still be sailing to hotspots or being held in high readiness in home waters in case someone attempts to intimidate an Influence Squadron. It is a truism that only a fool plays with a grizzly bear cub in the woods, because the mother bear may be just over the hill. Our high-end force will remain over the hill, ready to respond."

RM said...

"<span>... and liberty - one hopes - in The Philippines."</span>

You're showing your age!  How many squids are still around who tasted the joyful fruits of crossing S**T River into Olongapo?  (Anybody remember the "S**T River Centurion t-shirts?) Better yet, the Barrio Barreto or the Wild West Subic City!

leesea said...

yes the concept is solid.  The old navy days of large ship formations steaming across the Pacific for days on end are behind us.

My only hiccups with Capt Hendrix's concept and revision is the composition of the task groups (at least that term works?~).  Distributed operations with smaller ships need diffent ship types than the USN currently has in service. LCS and JHSV will need a different type of logistics ship to support them.  On the warship side (ingnoring LCS since it isn't) there needs to be a good corvette/frigate which the USN is not going to have in the future UNLESS someone pulls their head out of ... and buys an existing design sooner rather than later

leesea said...

Capt, I agree up to the point where the big boys are over the horizon.  Since the InfRons will probably be well forward they need organic weapons for self protection.  IOW something to cover their six with.  I am not so sure that the "Battle Network" will be able to take care of all the popup shooters?

leesea said...

How about simply forward task groups?

Grandpa Bluewater. said...

Task group means just what it says (horrors!), a group of different units, presumably with different roles and strengths, working to accomplish a mutually assigned task.  Regardless of tonnage, internal pecking order, or mixture of types. The term definitely "works".

All ship types requiring an afloat tender (vessel) will either need one optimized for the task, or one capable enough to offer or get what is needed from/with its own crew and equipment. A CV is, in the final analysis, a tender for fixed wing wheeled aircraft modified with a tailhook (a tender which can offer an airfield in range of the aircrafts' target - the hard part, drives the desigh - but a tender none the less.  Bird Farms excepted, this Farragut well knew, and Dewey, and Sims. So, tenders are usually auxiliaries - but also when required, warships. They also can support Marines and army outfits, as a side line. See also defense of the Philipines. Full bore indeed.

The LCS is neither a combat ship or a warship, just a bad design and a huge mistake.  As for Frigates, you will find their lack graven upon all our hearts soon enough. 

Me, I'd prefer a squadron of PGM variants of a late model PT or PM, with a tender. Call 'em Corvettes, it's close enough.

Retired Now said...

Gates said in 20 June issue of Navy Times, "Littoral combat ships will deploy to the island nation of Singapore, part of a wider plan to reassure allies worried by China's increasing assertiveness and military reach..."

... "Sources said LCS crews and mission modules would be rotated on and off at Singapore, where the ships would recieve maintenance and support.  They said the ship likely would operate from the Sembawang Wharves on the island's north coast...."    "Sembawang has been home to Logistics Group Western Pacific, which supports U.S. units in the region."

DeltaBravo said...

Well, if SINGAPORE can't find a way to make a profit off all that scrap aluminum, NO ONE can!  (umm... wait... maybe that isn't the quiet intent of this?  Oh... sorry.  Nevermind.)

Retired Now said...

Written by Vago Muradain of Military Times in late June,  Navy Times published an article called, "Gates: LCS will deploy to Singapore".    I cannot get a link to it, but I subscribe each week.   Here is a quote in the article from Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, "The U.S.'s strong presence and continued engagement in this area has been and will continue to be a critical force of stability and progress for this region,".

The final paragraph of this newspaper article, "Australian defense minister Stephen Smith declined to say whether LCS would operate from Australia, citing an ongoing force structure review."

So, if we were all younger, and there was only peace, never conflicts in this region, then forward operating from either Singapore or Australia on any LCS would be great !  I'd volunteer.

sid said...

Yeah...

LCS's to "Influence" ...

Sure.

sid said...

"Buy Ford, Not Ferrari"

Nor should either grossly over priced analogues to a larcenously over-priced Yugo be bought either.

or being held in high readiness in home waters in case someone attempts to intimidate an Influence Squadron.

"Influence Squadrons" are arguably the oldeest -and most enduring- construct of the USN. They used to be called "Stations" is all.

And, it should be important to note, that it was on that particular station...in what would today be described as a "low to medium threat environment"...that the USN took its first casualties from a peer force years before the outbreak of hostilities in a wider higher threat conflict.

The resident higher end unit was constrained by both ROE and the environment and took damage as well...


While I am not suggesting you need IRBM busters out there chasing drug addled teenagers...nor do you need badly reconfigured racing boats and ferrys in a place where they will likely be the units shot at both first, and the most often.

Our high-end force will remain over the hill, ready to respond.

A similar CONOP went up in smoke here.

And it left these guys in a real lurch.

leesea said...

Grandpa my suggested "tender" is the German Berlin class Type 702.  I would use the term forward logistics ship instead.  Go look at that design because is provides for UNREP, flight ops, large accomodations spaces, cargo hauling and boat ops. And they did that in a hull 2/3rds the size of the T-AKE.  That type is capable of supporting muiltiple ship types in a forard task group.  One of the many facets which the LCS lacks is a place to store the other mission modules.  Those can be carried on the Type 702.

I had managed an old PG for awhile and they were bears to keep running~

The Singapore excursion is just to show off the LCS not for homeporting, BUT that again points to a weakness.  The LCS NEED to be forward deployed but where is the USN going to do that and how to support them while forward.

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