Combined Ops

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Navy's new Maritime Civil Affairs Group

Reported here:
The Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) officially established its newest command, Military Civil Affairs Group (MCAG) during a ceremony at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek, March 30.

MCAG's mission is to assess, plan and execute civil affairs (CA) activities in the maritime operational environment.

"Our areas of expertise include traditional CA functional areas such as public education and public health, but we are focused on three maritime specific functions: commercial port operations, harbor and channel construction and maintenance, and marine and fisheries resources," said Capt. Ken Schwingshakl, commanding officer for MCAG.

MCAG forces will also serve as first responders for disaster relief operations throughout the world.

"A robust communication suite will be used to establish a Civil Military Operations Cell to coordinate efforts of U.S. government response, host nation forces, and non-government organizations," said Schwingshakl. "This is so recovery efforts aren't duplicated and the situation can be brought under control as soon as possible."

Machinistís Mate 2nd Class (SW) Claude Artis, a recent graduate of CA Journal Course, expressed what MCAG's mission will be on a daily basis.

"We will go into other countries, assess the area, look at infrastructure, schools and medical facilities, and report to higher ranking officials with what they actually need," said Artis. "They will then allow us a certain amount of funds to basically go back and help the people rebuild."

MCAG's command currently consists of 40 Sailors, but will increase to 320 by September. The command is headquatered at NAB Little Creek, Va., and will consist of two coastal squadrons, one at Imperial Beach in California and the other at Cheatham Annex in Wiliamsburg, Va.

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