Saturday, June 10, 2017

It is Time to Equip The AFRICOM Queen

The Marine force designated as the crisis response force for Africa contingencies was focused on support for special forces operations. With bases in Spain and Italy, the force could use The AFRICOM Queen.

The Marines find themselves busy in Africa:

In preparation for its deployment last October, the Marine Corps' crisis response task force for Africa met and trained with Navy SEALs in Dam Neck, Va.; with the Army's 3rd Special Forces Group in Fort Bragg, N.C.; and with MARSOC Raiders aboard nearby Camp Lejeune.

And when the task force arrived in theater, forward-staged in Sigonella, Italy, and Moron, Spain, there was no question what was emerging as the most pressing mission for the unit.

"What we found during our deployment was the preponderance of our effort and focus the entirety of our deployment, seven days a week, was focused on support to special operations," Col. Dan Greenwood, the rotation's commander and commanding officer of 2nd Marine Regiment, said at a deployment debrief Thursday.

In "The AFRICOM Queen" I proposed a modularized auxiliary cruiser equipped as a power projection vessel to extend AFRICOM's reach beyond the range of ground forces located in southern Europe and Djibouti.

In many ways, it would be most useful as a special operations carrier. With a company of special operations capable Marines and supporting aircraft and other systems embarked, that's what it would be.

This would extend the range of ground forces currently tied to the southern shores of Europe beyond the northwest corner of Africa.

Unless the Navy makes Africa a higher priority for major ship deployments, how will Marines earmarked for Africa be more than Army troops with different uniforms stationed ashore?

I know the Marines are looking for alternate ways to put Marines afloat that don't rely on traditional amphibious vessels that never seem to make it to Africa (except when transiting to and from CENTCOM). A modularized auxiliary cruiser would provide that alternate platform.