Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mobile Security Detachment 25 Deploys to U.S. 5th Fleet

MSD 25 was established Sept. 17, 2004, under the new Mobile Security Squadron 6, a growing expeditionary force responsible for anti-terrorism/force protection for the Navy’s assets overseas. MSD 25 completed its Final Evaluation Problem (FEP) mid-April 2005, certifying it as fully qualified and ready for deployment.

While deployed, MSD 25 will report to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet for a variety of force protection taskings, which may include protecting Iraqi oil platforms and other high value assets.
(source) The MSD 25 team is part of the Navy's new Martime Protection Force Command (MFPC):
...The [MFP] command’s mission is to provide forces to protect Navy units and other assets that are outside secure installations or facilities. Elements of the new command are protecting oil terminals in Iraq, for example, and it will be responsible for the security and protection of Navy ships that drop anchor at some foreign ports.
Included in the MFPC are some diverse units that it makes sense to tie together:
Capt. Mark E. Kosnik, selected to be the first commander of MFPC, will direct the force structure of existing naval coastal warfare squadrons (including inshore boat units and mobile inshore undersea warfare units), explosive ordnance disposal units, expeditionary salvage (diver) units and the recently created Navy Mobile Security Force detachments. With a budget of approximately $52 million, he will supervise the training of more than 5,000 naval coastal warfare sailors and 2,000 sailors from explosive ordinance disposal and expeditionary salvage units.

MFPC is not intended to provide security at installations that have resident security forces. “Expeditionary” and “mobility” are key descriptors of the command’s mission.

“When there is a requirement for a high-value asset [to be deployed] outside the traditional security of installations, then it’s our mission to provide protection,” Kosnik told Sea Power.

The force to be protected could be a ship — such as a Military Sealift Command logistics ship in a foreign port not frequented by Navy visits — or a high-value aircraft — such as an executive transport carrying VIPs or a P-3 surveillance aircraft — staged to a remote airfield with no resident security forces. Protection of maritime facilities such as Iraqi oil terminals from sabotage and direct attack also fall within the mission of mobile security force detachments and naval coastal warfare squadrons.
As an old MIUWU (Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit) sailor, I like the concept...especially as it points toward the future:
Kosnik said the implementation of the Sea Basing concept, a part of the Sea Power 21 strategy of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark, is likely to increase the role of MFPC forces. Mobile sea bases, such as prepositioning ships operating away from established ports, may require more protection from hostile small craft and divers.

MFPC will be working with Fleet Forces Command in the latter’s active-reserve integration studies. At issue is the possibility of shifting the naval coastal warfare squadrons from the reserve to the active force structure, Kosnik said.
MIUWU/Coastal Warfare has long been mostly a reserve function, where it makes sense to have a core of people ready to deploy and the units were among the Navy Surface Reserve's prime units. Many reserve admirals came up through the MIUWU chain...I'm not sure it will be an attractive career path for active duty personnel, but given an expanded mission, perhaps there is too much demand for it to remain mostly reserve...Navy League Sea Power

Update: Here's a picture of the TSQ-108 Radar Sonar Surveillance System used by MIUWU units in performing shore based littoral force protection work:

During Desert Storm the MIUWU community worked with the US Coast Guard's Port Security Units as the PSU's "eyes" to compliment the PSU "teeth". More info on the PSUs here. The PSU used "Raider" boats armed with machine guns to perform their duties. A typical Raider boat looked like this:

The close cooperation between the MUIWU and the PSU in Desert Storm included co-location:

However, the Navy has now developed its own boat units, the Inshore Boat Units (IBU) which are also part of the MFPC.

Maritime Force Protection Command site

More info on Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal here.


  1. Anonymous11:12 PM

    This last image appears familiar...Oh yes, now I remember. I was there!