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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Lesson 18: The US Navy since 2001
(This presentation is a work in progress)
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
● Missile system
● Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of
Defense (mandated under “transformation”)
● Transformation Office
●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.
Unfortunately, it took the tragedy of 9/11 to initiate President Bush’s call for change.
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)
● U.S. invokes Article 5 of NATO treaty
● NATO governments respond slowly to call for troops
● 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
●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)
●New weapons: GPS and Joint Defense Attack Munitions (JDAM)
●Improved Air Tasking Order
●Real time intelligence streaming
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.
● U.S. accused of killing civilians
●Taliban moves targets into civilian-populated areas
●Shoulder-launched Stinger missile threat
● Northern Alliance
● Special Force representatives
● 13NOV: Northern Alliance take Kabul, then Konduz (last stronghold in the north) with little opposition
● 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
● Task Force 57 (air support)
● Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG)
● Camp Rhino
Camp Rhino Marines
● 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.
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
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.
● Tribal leaders
● U.N. stabilization force (called in to legitimize Afghan government without the appearance of American occupation)
Map of tribal leader territories
● 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.
●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
●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.
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.
●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).
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.