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Sea Power and Maritime Affairs. Lesson 18: The US Navy since 2001 (This presentation is a work in progress). Learning Objectives. Comprehend the policy goals of the George W. Bush administration (2001-2009) and their effect on the navy.

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sea power and maritime affairs

Sea Power and Maritime Affairs

Lesson 18: The US Navy since 2001

(This presentation is a work in progress)

learning objectives
Learning Objectives
  • Comprehend the policy goals of the George W. Bush administration (2001-2009) and their effect on the navy.
  • Comprehend the navy’s role in the Global War on Terror (GWOT).
  • Comprehend the trends of public commitment during the period from 2001 to 2008 relative to the support for defense budgets, force deployments, and administration policies.
  • Know the essential elements of the document “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower” (October 2007).
learning objectives1
Learning Objectives
  • Know the causes of the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the international reaction to it.
  • Comprehend the roles of the US Navy and US Marine Corps in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Comprehend the national strategic implications of the start of the war on terror and its effects on the US Navy.
  • Comprehend the roles of the US Navy in domestic and international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
learning objectives2
Learning Objectives
  • Comprehend the nature of joint operations in the post-9/11 era, especially the role of the navy in joint operations.
  • Comprehend the changes in naval policy and technology of the 2000s and will know how to evaluate their relevance to the post-9/11 navy.
prologue foreign policy of president george w bush
Prologue: Foreign Policy of President George W. Bush

Emphasis during 2000 presidential campaign

was to keep up with the Revolution in Military

Affairs (RMA) and within budget by

modernizing the military. President Bush’s

plan included:

● Missile system

● Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of

Defense (mandated under “transformation”)

● Transformation Office

missile defense system
Missile Defense System

●Hostile states (Iran, N. Korea) were developing long range missile programs

●China challenges U.S. protection of Taiwan

●It was suggested U.S. would not be willing to use nuclear weapons if challenged.

september 11 2001
September 11, 2001

Unfortunately, it took the tragedy of 9/11 to initiate President Bush’s call for change.

the challenge
The Challenge

The administration had to bring firepower to an area with no immediately available bases, but how?

● Sea-based carrier warfare

● Network-centric concepts (limited, PRECISION force)

coalition warfare

● U.S. invokes Article 5 of NATO treaty

● NATO governments respond slowly to call for troops

maritime war
Maritime War

● Naval aircraft flew ¾ of all sorties, dropped 1/3 of all bombs

●Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs) provided principal ground force in Southern Afghanistan

●New tanking architecture and cooperation with allied forces provided tanking to support carrier based air strikes

coalition forces
Coalition Forces

●England (heavy contributor of sea and air power, tankers, and surveillance)

●Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Japan (moderate sea power contributors)

●Pakistan (allowed integral covert use of airfields)


●Preexisting CENTCOM command structure makes command relationships clear from onset, its success prompts permanent Joint Task Force build up

●Exercise of command via satellite later blamed for important misunderstandings in the war

●USAF Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Saudi Arabia vital for effective air power employment

USAF Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC)

precision air attack the new kind of war
Precision Air Attack: The New Kind of War

●Effects-based targeting

●New weapons: GPS and Joint Defense Attack Munitions (JDAM)

●Improved Air Tasking Order

●Real time intelligence streaming

initial strikes
Initial Strikes

Mission:Roll back Afghani Integrated Air

Defense System (IADS) and destroy land


07OCT01: Attack on Taliban begins with TLAM launches, followed by carrier strike aircraft, USAF long-range bombers from Diego Garcia, B-2s from United States, etc.

taliban response
Taliban Response

● U.S. accused of killing civilians

●Taliban moves targets into civilian-populated areas

●Shoulder-launched Stinger missile threat

war in the north
War in the North

● Northern Alliance

● Special Force representatives

● 13NOV: Northern Alliance take Kabul, then Konduz (last stronghold in the north) with little opposition

war in the south
War in the South

● Southern Alliance (weak)

● Fifth Fleet (based in Bahrain) responsible for most of theater

● Task Force 58 (2 MEUs minus heavy material) allow personnel insertion far inland with organic helicopters

war in the south1
War in the South

● Task Force 57 (air support)

● Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG)

● Camp Rhino

Camp Rhino Marines

fob rhino
FOB Rhino

● Seized by the Marines 25NOV

● Position (“tyranny of distance”) limits rate at which Rhino can be built up.

● Marines thrived in smaller formations.

● Initial strikes eliminated Taliban anti-air


● Rhino personnel was capped, so as not to anger native Afghanis, raids are limited, and conducted at night.

war in the south2
War in the South

19OCT: Southern campaign commences with special forces attack on Taliban compound outside Khandahar

● The U.S. proves itself and learns that Afghan fighters have limits

● Body armor keeps U.S. casualties low during the entire war

war in the south3
War in the South

06DEC: Kandahar taken by Marines from Rhino and Southern Alliance forces

Jan 2002: TF 58 relieved in place by Army’s 101st Airborne Division. The fighting did not stop, and handover was not completed until the end of the month.

other considerations
Other Considerations

● Tribal leaders

● U.N. stabilization force (called in to legitimize Afghan government without the appearance of American occupation)

Map of tribal leader territories

opposition s leadership
Opposition’s Leadership

● Although major cities had fallen, none of the Taliban or Al Quaeda leaders had been captured.

● Leaders were believed to be either hiding in the mountains or escaping to Africa by sea.

● U.S. and allied warships set up an interception zone in Arabian Sea, but only a few leaders were caught.

● However, new campaigns waged in the mountainous regions of Tora Bora and Anaconda were fruitful in providing masses of documents, computers, personnel, and intelligence.

tora bora
Tora Bora

●Large Taliban concentration, including Osama Bin Laden

●Assault conducted by Afghan troops and U.S. firepower

●Many key figures escaped, perhaps due to difference in coalition and U.S. goals

●Taliban loses 50% of force

●Al Quaeda learn U.S. can intercept radio and cell phone communications

operation anaconda
Operation Anaconda

●U.S., British, Canadian forces, with Australian SOF

●Largest ground battle of the war

●Mostly Army operation, Naval support came via air sorties

● Considered a disappointment due to joint effort problems—lives saved mostly due to effective body armor

The war ends with U.S. and coalition forces in nominal

control of Afghanistan, however, many Taliban are still

in place, and there is general agreement that the war

is not over, as conflict still exists.

airstrike footage
Airstrike Footage

March 11, 2002: F/A-18 airstrike on fleeing Al Qaeda forces attempting to exfiltrate the Anaconda area

March 4: F-14 airstrike on a mortar position that was engaging friendly forces.

a modern war
A Modern War

●RMA: emphasis on network-centric war

●Initial air strategy: attack Centers of Gravity (successful with addition of ground support, e.g., MEUs and Northern Alliance

●SOF liaisons with Northern Alliances

●New approach to presence--reflected in decision to form ESGs and ARGs (Amphibious Ready Groups).

in hindsight
In Hindsight…

The Afghan air war was closer to network-centric models than past wars (Kosovo), but did not quite get there:

●Not enough sensors

●Split objectives between hunt for Bin Laden and defeat of Taliban


The Afghan War demonstrated the value of naval forces which could operate free of bases, remote sensing assets (satellites), and special forces operations. Sea-basing offered independence, and sensing facilitated the information “backplane” necessary for network-centric warfare. All of this is integral to Sea Power 21.