Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Fourth Option for African Littorals

This Navy analyst offers three options for matching Navy assets with operational needs in east African waters:

U.S. naval presence in East Africa has improved maritime security and facilitated operations on land. Coalition efforts reduced piracy incidents from 237 attempted hijackings in 2011 to only three such attempts in 2017[1]. Joint exercises, such as Cutlass Express, have developed partner nation maritime law enforcement capacity[2]. Intelligence gathering from sea based platforms has enabled multiple U.S. military missions ashore[3]. Increasing demand for high-end combatants in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea leaves the East African littoral mission vulnerable to having its gains reversed and questions the utility of those ships for low intensity missions.

The author makes no recommendation after laying out the three alternatives. Why just three options? Perhaps that's why no option stood out as the best solution.

I of course think that the match between Navy high value assets needed elsewhere and operational needs around Africa is best achieved by a fourth option: outfit The AFRICOM Queen modularized auxiliary cruiser (as many as needed, of course).

The AFRICOM Queen could be an Army vessel designed for multi-service assets, as I suggested. But the Navy could equip the ship, too.