Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Plan Salamander Down Under


Just a quick review for you what Plan Salamander has been for over a dozen years: withdraw all maneuver forces from Asia and Europe except for what is needed at Combined Training and Logistics Bases with our most important allies.

WWII and the Cold War are over; we should act like it.

Possible compromise positions would be for a few forward deployed ships and independent, quick response Brigades.

Along those lines - I support this - and no question a lot of people will be fighting for these orders.
President Obama announced Wednesday that the United States planned to deploy 2,500 Marines in Australia to shore up alliances in Asia, but the move prompted a sharp response in Beijing, which accused Mr. Obama of escalating military tensions in the region.

The agreement with Australia amounts to the first long-term expansion of the American military’s presence in the Pacific since the end of the Vietnam War. It comes despite budget cuts facing the Pentagon and an increasingly worried reaction from Chinese leaders, who have argued that the United States is seeking to encircle China militarily and economically.
...
In an address to the Australian Parliament on Thursday morning, Mr. Obama said he had “made a deliberate and strategic decision — as a Pacific nation, the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future.”

The president said the moves were not intended to isolate China, but were an unmistakable sign that the United States had grown more wary of its intentions.
...
Some analysts in China and elsewhere say they fear the moves could backfire, risking a cold war-style standoff with China.

“I don’t think they’re going to be very happy,” said Mark Valencia, a Hawaii-based senior researcher at the National Bureau of Asian Affairs, who said the new policy was months in the making. “I’m not optimistic in the long run as to how this is going to wind up.”

The president is to fly north across the continent to Darwin, a frontier port and military outpost across the Timor Sea from Indonesia, which will be the center of operations for the coming deployment. The first 200 to 250 Marines will arrive next year, with forces rotating in and out and eventually building up to 2,500, the two leaders said.
Nice move Mr. President.

If nothing else; America gets to bring home more Australian wives. They're good, and love American men.

26 comments:

AW1 Tim said...

Well,

  That's how I got here. My dad was a Pharmacist's Mate TAD to Australia for a few weeks. My mom was an Australian working at MacArthur's HQ. They happened to meet one afternoon and struck up a conversation. They wrote back and forth throughout the war.

  Afterward, when he was settled back home, he wrote to her and proposed. She accepted and the rest is history.

  Somewhere I have a copy of a San Francisco newspaper with her and another young woman's picture on it. Those two were the last two "Fiance's of Servicemen" from Down Under to get free passage to the US and begin naturalization proceedings.

  I must see if I can locate that paper and have the article scanned.

Kingsley Browne said...

2,500 Marines are nice, and I should note that I'm just an ignorant civilian, but if our policy is what the President says, don't we need SHIPS?

WCOG said...

I feel like this may be a hedge against the plans to move III MEF to Guam, right? Doesn't it make sense to have the division on a major landmass outside MRBM range than bottled up on a small island praying that the THAAD and PAC-3 batteries will protect them and their ships? It may only be one battalion moving to Darwin now but that's just a start.

As an aside, Cdr, this is northern australia, where it's burning hot and bone dry most of the year except when the monsoons come and drown everything. What we need to do is convince ourselves and the australians that the Brisbane area is more strategically viable, even if it's much farther away from all the action ;)

Captain Joe said...

My Gawd, those girls are barely covered. Where do I sign up for that duty? We don't need ships, I'll swim.

AW1 Tim said...

I'll beat that horse again, and likely some folks are tiring of me saying it, but our Navy needs to rethink our whole concept of "forward deloyed" especially as far as logistical support goes.

If we were ever to go to war with a major power like, oh, say... China, for example, they would be foolish not to make a major strike at all of our supply depots in the Pacific.  Yeah, the fleet is important, but it's hard to fight when all the reserve ammo, JP, bunker and spare parts have been reduced to their component molecules.

Starve the beast. It's a long way home for a fleet that may well have to go to Hawaii, or, more likely, the West Coast of the US in order to resupply.  Takes everyone out of the fight except for the SSN's, most likely.

Anyway, that's my take on things. We need to do a massive build on supply ships and escorts to accompany them, as we are likely to lose a great deal of our land base logistical support in the opening days of any new major conflict.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Yes, something along the lines of a 21rst Century C4 AK, and a modern JOHN C BUTLER, something that we can crank out by the hundreds, if need be.  Here on the Great Lakes we know how to build subs, DDs, DEs and all sorts of auxiliaries.  We could get our shipyards up and running again, and return the USN to the unstoppable power it once was.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Stationing them in Australia is all well and good, but I am glad I am not the CO who has to write to some American family to inform them that thier sun / daughter has been the first US Marine to get eaten by a drop bear.

ewok40k said...

http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20111115-stratfor-conversation-george-friedman-and-special-guest-robert-kaplan
a nice discussion to see... btw soon USN will have to choose between watching the Gulf oil (for the Chinese...), or watching the Chinese in WESPAC - because it will not have enough ships to do both...

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Why, yes we do, and capable, survivable ones at that.

Pass the word.

Robbo said...

I'm all for more VB, but I'm calling BS on the President's comments.
A quick check of my globe shows that the Darwin is twice as far from the Spratleys as Okinawa is.
If we put more Marines in the NT by taking them out of Japan, then we have stepped back from China, rather than standing up to them.
North Korea could take it as a win as well if we move troops 6 times further away from them than when they were in Oki.
This can only be support troops anyway, like training staff and range personnel at 29 Palms, for when MEUs come sailing through. I really doubt were going to move an infantry battalion from Camp Pendleton down there, or add another UDP rotation to the mix.

ewok40k said...

sometimes stepping back puts you out of enemy striking range...

cdrsalamander said...

They have airports .... 

Malachy Marine said...

Thats exactly the plan. This will work out to a UDP in Australia. The vast majority of the Marines won't be stationed there. But rotate as a unit on a regular basis. This could easily replace one of the non-existent UDPs. In order to work up to a full battalion will take time though. Robertson Barracks and the nearby RAAF Base cannot currently support an entire infantry battalion. A few years are required for the infrastructure to be built up.

I would expect the first 250 to be a reinforced rifle company billeted aboard Robbo Barracks, in order to complete working out the training kinks and getting a better feel for the 1st Brigade. Specifically, the infantry battalions. Support can be easily obtained from the CSSB and quite reliably. Ammo is an issue, but that can be worked out.

Plus the training available in the NT is far superior to Okinawa. Higher quality ranges. Relatively new facilities and less restrictions than Okinawa for infantry style training. The one downside is the large number of eucalyptus tress, which during the dry season are prone to explode when the come into contact with fire.

N.B. I've spent some time in the NT in Darwin and at Robertsons Barracks. My unit was recently there about 4 months ago. In retrospect, we were probably the test case for the feasibility of this plan.

Malachy Marine said...

I'd be more worried about the saltwater crocs. They usually have a couple attacks on humans every year.

Malachy Marine said...

The have a RAAF Base in Darwin. Easily capable of NALO and C-130s.

Surfcaster said...

Not gonna happen. DE's, Auxillarys, DDs, ooops 21st century: FFGx, DDGx, DDGs - too much, too delicate, too slow to build. Your depth was mothball fleet - that is gone. Scrapped on the alter of new pew pork on gold plate. I doubt US could gets its a$$ in gear quick enough to build any ship in short time. Too many would bitch, complain, graft, gum up the works to get much done. We may have the knowledge and drive but I don't see the leadership to do it - hope that changes.

Nope - you are going to go with what you got and the only thing you can ramp up quickly can't get into the fight. That or you'll be lashing down excess army gear on the decks of the Pacific Princess.

Robbo said...

I saw some more in the news as it being a SPMAGTF. I think you're right that it looks like a UDP being redirected to NT rather than to Oki. Meaning yes we are effectively taking Marines from Oki to put them in Oz.
I did some libo there, no training, but it's gotta be better than Oki. It all sounds good to me. It's Obama's tough talk about about our 'presence in the Pacific' that I think is BS.

MR T's Haircut said...

Australia, where the Lasses out number the Lads... If I were Indonesian I would swim to Australia...

Hey!  Maybe we can Space A on a MAC flight now?!

Malachy Marine said...

Those UDPs have not been active on Oki for several years. There is a push to restart it, but its non-existent right now. Which means effectively, no current force numbers would change.

SouthernAP said...

We are just expanding our footprint in Australia. For years we have had a "electronics research" facilities out near Alice Springs that is always taking an hearty and enterprising spook or crypto-tech officer and petty officers. I have a neighbor near me that just moved back to the states from around there.

As to Okinawa, Guam and basing in the WESTPAC in general. I think this is a gain from a few incidents. First off the whole of South China Sea region has been annoyed since the PLAN has been exercising heavily in the South China Sea, along with running off folks from places like the Spratleys and even some islands that are obvioulsy under legal jursidiction of either Indonesia/Vietnam/Philippines. So those folks have been clamouring for us to have a base or two in the region and closer to the action. I have some friends who having just returned from the Philippines actually heard talk both in the news and the editorials of even the hard left media groups that the American's were that bad and maybe we should allow them back into the country.

Second of all the rebasing plan out of Okinawa and portions of Southern Japan was being funded and financed heavily by the Japanese government. The idea was that most of the III MEF's bases in Okinawa was supposed to go to cadre status or even turned into POMCUS sites, Kadena was going to stay open as an AFB. Everyone else was to go to Guam. The Tohoku earthquake has effectively killed that plan since the Japanese government now needs the money to rebuild the country.

So it is most interesting to see the Aussies step up and offer space for a MAGTF to hang out in. It would be most interesting to see if they potentially are willing to add support facilities for a carrier group or even allow a Ship Repair Facility to appear at a port in Australia.

Kristen said...

My family went on a vacation to Australia when I was thirteen.  Up in Cairns, I wandered out of the hotel to do a little exploring, and on the path to the beach was a big sign reading:  Stay on the path.  Crocodile attacks are common.

OH.  MY.  I ran back into the hotel as fast as I could and my parents could barely get me to step out of the lobby for a while after that.

Kristen said...

Good stuff, SAP.  I alwsys learn so much from the comments here.

LT B said...

BTW, I love her.  That "one" in the picture.  :)

Jay said...

Sal, BZ to you for giving POTUS a shout-out, especially this close to campaign season...lol. Let's see how Myanmar turns out...

cdrsalamander said...

Jay,
It isn't the first time.  I'm not nor have ever been a blind partisan.  I find that intellectually unattractive. 

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