Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) stood up Riverine Group 1 during an establishment ceremony at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek, May 25.Back in April, the US Naval Institute held a seminar on Riverine Warfare which is wrapped up here. Here's a take on the environmental conditions that prompted the rebirth of the Riverine Force:
According to Rear Adm. Donald Bullard, NECC’s commander, Riverine Group 1 is just one element of the newly created NECC, which integrates all war fighting requirements for expeditionary combat and combat support elements so the Navy is more capable, responsive and effective in the global war on terrorism (GWOT).
“We know there are many areas around the world where rivers are the main lines of communication,” said Bullard. “We, the Navy, need to expand in order to go into that brown water environment, to be able to train and work with our combined allies and neighbors and make those lines of communication secure.”
Cmdr. William J. Guarini, commander of Riverine Squadron 1, ended the ceremony proceedings with an excited “Hooyay Riverines!”
“Standing here today, commanding and establishing Riverine Squadron 1 is the greatest moment in my naval career,” said Guarini. “Once trained, we will be the Navy’s face in the global war on terrorism.”
Riverine Group 1 is preparing to deploy next year and will be made up of three squadrons and approximately 900 Sailors.
Rear Admiral Donald K. Bullard of Naval Expeditionary Combat Command opened the second day’s sessions with a presentation offering substantial food for thought vis-à-vis all things riverine. Delineating the Navy’s expanding riverine mission, Admiral Bullard also stressed the importance of the Navy’s operational big picture—and of understanding the riverine mission in a larger context.And a Riverine Group website here. The photo is of a Riverine boat in action. Caption:
The goal of naval thinking today, said Bullard, should be to “build awareness from the blue water to the green water to the brown water, in an integrated battle space.” The maritime environment is a more complex matrix now. “You have to put riverine into this bigger picture,” Bullard said. “It’s not alone.”
Riverine is one category among others on Expeditionary Combat Command’s functions-and-capabilities checklist: maritime security, riverine and boat operations, diving and salvage, logistics, construction, detainee ops, law enforcement, etc.
Navy Rear Admiral Donald K. Bullard stressed the importance of placing riverine ops in a larger context.
Even as its own operational subset, the riverine role is an expanding one; the goal ultimately is to bring area control, counterpiracy, interdiction, insert/extract, fire support coordination, and identify/locate/destroy missions firmly and officially into the riverine sphere.
The global war on terror is the Navy’s cue to rethink itself, suggested Bullard, and pointed out “the three r’s” as providing the rethink methodology. 1) Reorganize accordingly. 2) Recognize; that is, recognize “where the gaps are ... where we need to expand into new capabilities” to be an ever-more viable fighting force in the war on terror. 3) Redistribute “the current force structure in the Navy” to add fluidity to the Navy’s ability to fight this new kind of war in a new century.
A small unit riverine craft assigned to U.S. Marine Training Detachment, Camp Lejeune, N.C., demonstrates a “J” turn for U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen in the Severn River. The riverine craft and their crews visited Annapolis for the U.S. Naval Institute 2006 Applied Naval History Conference, “Riverine Warfare: Back to the Future?” U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Cale Hanie (RELEASED)