Report advises Congress how to question Navy


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May 5, 2007

As the Navy’s role in the war on terror increases, a recently revealed report offers questions that lawmakers should ask about this relatively new mission for the sea service.

The report, titled “Navy Role in Global War on Terrorism — Background and Issues for Congress,” was authored by Ronald O’Rourke, a naval expert at the Congressional Research Service. The report was updated in April, but released publicly this week by Secrecy News, a Web site that posts government documents.

In recent years the Navy has expanded its traditional blue-water sea power mission. It has provided on-the-ground medical and construction support in places such as Iraq and Djibouti; conducted direct-action missions with Navy SEALs in Iraq and Afghanistan; and performed maritime interdiction operations in various waters around the globe. Moreover, the Navy has approximately 13,000 individual augmentees serving in various fill-in capacities for Army and Marine Corps personnel around the world. Additionally, the service created the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, which includes the return of a Navy riverine force and a nascent maritime civil affairs group, to better meet growing mission areas in green and brown waters. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen has also introduced the new concepts of Global Fleet Stations and the “1,000-ship navy” to expand the Navy’s presence in other countries....

The Navy has always had the aforementioned missions with the exception of Individual Augmentees for the Army and USMC. Fleet Hospital units, Construction Battalions, SEALs. MIUW units (Maritime Inshore Underwater), EOD, UAVs, Cargo Handling Battalions, Diving and Salvage, Mine Sweeping squadrons, etc. -- nothing new here. O’Rourke must not be familiar with OPNAV N-85, Expeditionary Warfare, which is headed by a USMC General.