Friday, September 04, 2015

The Breeze Has Shifted

It's nice that we are exercising with the Ukrainian in the Black Sea, but could we practice naval tasks more important to Ukraine?

We sent the guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook to the Black Sea. This is certainly a good show of support:

U.S. 6th Fleet said the exercise — which has been held since 1997 — will focus on “maritime interdiction operations as a primary means to enhance maritime security,” during the at-sea phase of the exercise as well as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and protecting against small boat attacks.

But I'm thinking that it would be better to hold exercises that focus on anti-ship operations from at sea and ashore, stopping infiltration landings from the sea, plus offensive and defensive mine-laying.

And the Ukrainians should keep that in mind as they ponder their navy's future:

Ukraine lost about two-thirds of its fleet when Russia annexed Crimea in early 2014; the Black Sea peninsula was home to most of Kiev’s warships and its naval headquarters at Sevastopol. The Ukrainian Navy now has about 5,000 sailors and about a dozen ships.

Remember, the existence or non-existence of Ukraine's navy had zero impact on losing Crimea and losing portions of the Donbas. Ground and air power are Ukraine's main needs.

If Ukraine wants a navy, it should be small anti-ship combatants as well as mine laying assets for the core of the force. Especially mine laying assets. Putting down defensive belts to protect their coast as well as mining the Russian naval bases at Crimea and elsewhere should be the priority for naval power.

You know, if Ukraine's navy is to have real-world relevance to Ukraine's military problems right now rather than preparing Ukraine's decimated navy for international naval missions.