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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Navy riverine force for Iraq

The Navy's new Expeditionary Combat Command is going into the riverine business, as reported here:
The Navy this month officially stood up its new Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, which will be responsible for fielding a riverine force and getting it ready for a deployment to Iraq by early 2007.
The Marine Corps currently has a riverine force protecting a dam in Iraq, but the service is eliminating its river component as part of a force structure reorganization. The Navy's new river force will take over the Iraq dam protection mission from the Marine Corps starting in March 2007, said Rear Adm. John Bowling, deputy director of the expeditionary warfare division.

Training for the first riverine force sailors is scheduled to begin in June, and the Navy plans to brief a riverine force concept of operations to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen next month, Bowling said Jan. 11 at the Surface Navy Association's annual conference in Arlington, VA. U.S. Special Operations Command also plans to help in training the sailors, he said.

The Navy expects to stand up three riverine squads, consisting of 12 boats each, he said. The Navy has not yet decided what kind of boats to use, though the Marine Corps' Small Unit Riverine Craft and SOCOM's river craft are candidates, Bowling said. Both craft cost more than $500,000 each, he added. Missions envisioned for the riverine force include surveillance, barrier operations, patrol, interdiction, and delivery of land forces from a river, he said.

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