Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Future of the Navy's Amphibious and Maritime Prepositioning Forces

It's a Congressional Budget Office report from November 2004, The Future of the Navy's Amphibious and Maritime Prepositioning Forces, but it's a worth some time if you are interested in the Navy's "Sea-Basing" concept (bring the fight from the sea with a limited shore footprint):
The Department of the Navy's vision for military transformation, known as Sea Power 21, rests on three key concepts: Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing. The first two concepts focus on improving the Navy's and Marine Corps's offensive and defensive capabilities, respectively. But the third, Sea Basing, is considered by many in the Department of Defense to be the most transformational of the three ideas. It envisions putting a substantial Marine Corps ground force on shore and sustaining it from ships at sea rather than from a land base. Thus, the Navy and Marine Corps could conduct amphibious assaults (including "forcible-entry" operations, like those conducted on Japanese-held Pacific islands during World War II) without needing to seize enemy territory to build a base or to get permission from a nearby country to use an existing base. Supporters argue that sea basing would therefore allow U.S. forces to operate overseas more independently, flexibly, and quickly.

Although the entire fleet would play a role in the "sea base," the most important vessels for that concept are the Navy's amphibious warfare ships--which carry marines and their equipment--and new prepositioning vessels intended to provide much of the logistics support for Marine Corps units operating on shore.(1) Over the next 30 years, the Navy plans to replace most of its amphibious ships as well as buy the new class of logistics ships, which it calls the Maritime Prepositioning Force (Future), or MPF(F).

Update: GlobalSecurity take on "sea base." and from the United States Naval Institute series on "Sea Power 21" this on "sea basing"
Sea Basing is the core of "Sea Power 21." It is about placing at sea—to a greater extent than ever before—capabilities critical to joint and coalition operational success: offensive and defensive firepower, maneuver forces, command and control, and logistics. By doing so, it minimizes the need to build up forces and supplies ashore, reduces their vulnerability, and enhances operational mobility. It leverages advanced sensor and communications systems, precision ordnance, and weapons reach while prepositioning joint capabilities where they are immediately employable and most decisive. It exploits the operational shift in warfare from mass to precision and information, employing the 70% of the earth's surface that is covered with water as a vast maneuver area in support of the joint force.

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