Navy, Marines Offer Options for Syria, North Korea

Navy, Marines Offer Options for Syria, North Korea

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps continue to develop military options for the White House in light of  increased tensions in Syria and North Korea all while progressing with the strategic pivot to the Pacific, senior service leaders told lawmakers May 8 during House Appropriations Defense subcommittee hearing.

Chief Naval Officer Adm. Johnathan W. Greenert told the subcommittee that the service has one carrier strike group in the Western Pacific and another one in the Arabian Gulf region. He said the Navy would be very capable of rapid response should they be called upon for a potential mission related to the situation in Syria, Iran or North Korea.

Rep. Tom Cole ®- Okla., asked service leaders if they would be able to respond to requests for military action should they be called upon when considering the forthcoming budget cuts associated with sequestration.

“We are in an unusual and difficult situation. I think for all of us right now we have an unfolding crisis in Syria where the President may or may not have to do something. We’ve got nuclear capability efforts in Iran and we’ve had a lot of saber-rattling in North Korea,” Cole told Navy and Marine Corps leaders.

“I am absolutely comfortable that we would have the assets that we would need. It is the Navy and Marine Corps’ job to give the president options. You mentioned Libya, we sent a big-deck amphib there which provided the air cover. We also had a submarine firing Tomahawk missiles and we had a destroyer firing Tomahawk missiles,” Greenert told lawmakers. “We have very flexible, multi-mission platforms that can do a lot of different things depending upon the mission, so I am comfortable.”

However, Greenert said that the Navy normally has three carrier strike groups and three amphibious ready groups fully mission-capable on a moment’s notice. Only one of each is currently available because of potential cuts from sequestration.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus underscored Naval readiness. He said the Navy’s ability to forward-deploy assets near Japan proved worthwhile when tensions recently escalated with North Korea.

“We need to be where it matters when it matters. As we proceed through this decade we will be out and about in more places. If it was not for a forward-deployed naval force, we could not be on station in a couple of days providing the missile shield that was necessary during the heightened tensions. Ships matter, ships forward matter most,” Mabus told lawmakers.

Greenert told the committee he would like the Navy to be “in those critical crossroads that resonate with the needs of the combatant commanders of the future.”

He went on to explain that the service had set potential Pacific-region threats as a benchmark against which to train and prepare for future contingencies and scenarios.

“We sat down and benchmarked the challenges in the Western Pacific toward ASW [Asymmetric Warfare], toward electronic warfare, strike and cyber and said that is the theater we benchmark against and we have invested in capabilities to that benchmark. We also have migrated home ports toward the Western Pacific so that by the end of this decade we will have 60-percent of our ships in the west,” Greenert told the subcommittee.

Greenert also explained that the Navy was stepping up the complexity of exercises with allies in the region such as India, Japan and South Korea, among others.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos outlined recent recent unit transitions to alter his service’s force structure to adapt to the Pacific pivot.

“We are all in with regard to the rebalance to the Pacific. We just put our third infantry battalion in the Pacific whereas we had one in there a year and a half ago. We just put a force back on the ground in Australia. We’re training in Guam, we’re training in the Philippines, so we’re committed to the re-orientation to the Pacific to support the President’s strategy,” Amos told lawmakers.

Tags: , , ,

Join the Conversation

Regarding the T-LAMs sent into Libya, it was reported that most of those were sent from USS Florida (SSGN-728), one of the four Ohio SSBN to SSGN conversions, each of which can carry up to 7x22=154 T-LAMs in the big vertical tubes. A few other platforms tossed in a token number, like a good training exercise.

I suspect Russia will soon restart their game with Georgia and the breakaway republics.

With a million man Chinese army and a growing fleet of diesel submarines, what’s a Marine battalion stationed on land in the Western Pacific called? A target.

I keep saying it. Chinese goods, on Chinese ships, passing through Chinese waters, on their way to sell to stupid America customers, who send our dollars to China! And our role is to keep the sea lanes open for China? How stupide are we? Let them build their navy so they can pick up the slack our navy has been carrying for the last two decades!

To be fair, American companies claim the vast bulk of the money on purchases made in China. Whether they do a good job keeping the Money in the US is another issue. We only keep sea lanes open in the deep ocean, China isn’t truly blue-water yet. That million man army is also mostly a paper tiger, with the vast bulk of it being laughably trained and equipped conscripts. I’m wondering why they don’t mount an active sonar or underwater radar on the supercarriers to hunt down diesels though, they stand a good chance of finding them and you aren’t hiding a supercarrier active sonar/radar or not.

Costs too much to bring money home to the states. Instead you borrow and exploit low interest, a la Apple.

If we are attacking Syria, what’s the endgame? Weaken Assad until the non-radicals and the radicals can do another Afghan Civil War on Syrian soil?

I don’t see a blowback-free Endgame other than just provide minimal aid. Food, supplies and locally-acquired black market weapons. (Shipping in more weapons has issues, and those black market weapons would likely end up in other hands in the long run anyhow) Direct attacks will be a long term nightmare with fermenting more Anti-US hatred.

What minimal aid is probably coming from Jordan and the Saudis. If it comes from the Guardians of the Twin Mosques, surely it’s Islamic.

As much as I hate to say this, there’s likely no way to assist with no risk. It’s minimizing risk, and working with Islamists in a minimal fashion is the least risky. After the Bin Laden fiasco, and the long-term issues with Operation Cyclone more direct assistance is probably off the table.

Geography isn’t in the jihadis favor imo. Im no fan of handing out weapons though. Id rather we just borrow a page from Bosnia and Kosovo and crush Assad from the air if we decide on action. Afterwards given the borders of Syria I don’t think the jihadis will have as easy a go as they had in Iraq and Stan.

Crushing Assad from the air is doable, but has long term consequences. People linked to Assad will turn efforts entirely against the US and link up with other Anti-American groups, blaming our intervention on their loss. Even groups that gave up on Assad could use it for propaganda, saying the US meddled in other nation’s affairs and were willing to violate national sovereignty. Even with the rebels, us helping them may still not sway some that dislike the US, and then the country is helping groups acting against it. It’s… a tricky scenario.

It’s not really tricky at all. If we want to be involved, then we should be involved. If we don’t, then we should shut up and stay home. What we shouldn’t be doing, and by ‘we’ I mean POTUS, is shooting off our mouths drawing ‘red lines’ and then not backing that up when they are crossed. The President and his national security team look feckless and lack conviction of their alleged morals. That, is far more dangerous to us than what a bunch of ignorant jihadist savages already think of us anyway.

Doing War is relatively simpler than handling the politics before and after the war. Getting acceptance from both allies and non-allies is difficult, especially after the track records in Libya and Iraq. Russia considers that it was deceived into accepting the UN resolution on Libya. The entire world considers that they were deceived into a war based on false intelligence about WMD. So, the pre-war politics and diplomacy is harder now on Syrian matters. Israel, even when the US calls it as a close ally, does not toe the US line at all times. Their unilateral actions might trigger all of the rest of the middle east to rally against them.

And there is the post-war diplomacy and politics. Who will reign a contry as diverse as IRaq or Syria. The contry has dozens of factions within them. The syrian opposition, even before the war, is not a single unit with aligned phylosophy or solution to the issue.

Handling all of these in the right manner is necessary. Otherwise, Russia and China are going to gain more mileage in these countries that what they have now. US will just be paying their bills.;

A few B-2s, each carrying 80 GBU-38s, flying with some EF-18 Growlers in the area, would likely be enough to disrupt the remaining command nodes, critical infrastructure, and operational Syrian ground units. Would be enough to leave it up to the resistance to finsh the regime off. Personally, would perfer to let the Turks and Jordanians to go in to re-establish control, and to confiscate Syrias ballistic missiles, WMDs, and Manpads. Would be nice too confiscate some of the small amount of sophisticated weapons (SA-11, Pantsir, SA-10?) that might happen to be in the inventory to assist our intell folks as payment for the bombs. Russian ATGMS and Iranian weapons would also be a priority. Dismantling Hezbollah in Syria would be a priority I would also think.

Not getting involved also has its consequences. Salafis don’t need more refuges. We didn’t support the Tajiks, and the Afghan Civil War led to the Taliban. And we’re back ten years later, fighting and dying. Hip hip hooray for staying out of it.

Maybe they should just turn Syria over to the Kurds.

The POTUS doesn’t just look feckless, he is feckless. He should have never stated a criteria for our involvement.

This is a good war to sit out.

Agreed, and it’s mostly academic because we are involved hip deep already. This President though clearly likes saying he is President, he just doesn’t like doing the job very much. His political handlers want his hands ‘clean’ so his library doesn’t have any controversy.

Sitting back and not getting involved in the middle east sounds good at the time and then you wake up with and deal with countries like Iran for 30 years as a gift for the ‘sit this one out’ option.

To be fair, we should look at the score for military interventions:
USSR-world does not end in fireballs
Laos-Hmong refugees
Vietnam-Vietnamese refugees
Haiti-stopped military coup in tracked, probably stopped “cleaning house” (eg, killings)
Somalia-dead Americans, contained failed-state
Sierra Leone-stabilized
Bosnia-stopped further genocide, most killing completed.
Kosovo-stopped further genocide, most killing completed.
Lebanon-numerous kidnappings, embassy bombing: didn’t follow us home

And non-involvements
Afghanistan-Pakistan refugees, Taliban
East Timor-some killing, no big deal (AU takes charge)
Iran-we let “democracy” get squeezed out by an ayatollah elected by the people.
El Salvador-no official involvement
Argentina-no official meddling, military dictatorship
Chile-no official meddling, military dictatorship
Bolivia-no official meddling, military dictatorship
Colombia-no official meddling, military dictatorship, drug gangs eventually trigger DEA involvement
South Africa-apartheid until Mandela
Bahrain-ruling dynasty
UAE-mixed bag
Saudi Arabia-Salafi dictatorship

If anything, the arbitrary states of the Middle East are constructs by Europeans, who let those constructs go free at some point. They don’t reflect history or ethnographics or culture very well. A Kurdish nation should be cut out of Syria and Iraq. Syria as an Alawite nation should be retained, perhaps Jordan, the eastern and southern parts of Syria and west Iraq should become Transjordan.

I wonder how the land boundaries would change if decoupled to the present day borders.

who cares?

The Navy can sit off the coast of anywhere as long as we don’t start sending in civil engineers to start building golf courses.

And what does that have to do with NK or Syria?

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said “We need to be where it matters when it matters. ” Then we need to back in US waters controlling our borders not someone elses. THAT’S WHAT MATTERS.

Wow, two whole carrier strike groups? Well, that’ll show ‘em. We had FOUR in the Med alone at one point during the lebanon crisis in the early 80’s.

laughable. Didnt you learn anything from Iraq and Afghanistan — don’t start a war unless you are willing to see tens of thousands of American casualties.

Yeah well, the Navy was a LOT larger back then as were the other services. Also, the Navy was not keeping CVBGs on continually station in the Arabian/Persian Gulf back then. Actually, in the 70’s and 80’s the US normally kept 2 CVBG and an Amphib Ready group on station in the Med at all times. Now… we generally have a CVBG in the Med during the time it takes to transit from Gibralter to Suez or vice versa.

I am still not sure who the bad guys are in Syria. I think we have to take our pick first and then wipe out whoever takes over.

That is the purpose of the Coast Gaurd.…not the US Navy…why would we need a carrier strike group to guard the florida coastline.… you realize that what the navy does oversees (i.e. carryout sanctions, run down arms carrying cargo ships, recon, intelligence gathering, military/sensitive cargo transportation, ballistic missile defense etc. etc. etc.) all affects what happens here or what could happen here in the united states.

Depending on the situation, if a problem broke out in some area of the Pacific Rim having two or three Naval strike groups around would only help if they just happen to be floating close to the AO. The Pacific Rim is a very big place and it could take days for our Navy to steam to the particular hot spot to either hit it with TAC-air, naval gunfire or land marines.

Remember what happened during Desert Shield. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 the U.S. Navy had ships and marines in the med but who were the first boots on the ground? U.S. Army paratroops from the 82nd Airborne who flew by jet transport over 6,000 to get there.

The U.S. Army has the 4th BCT (Airborne) of the 25th I.D. as a rapid response force for the Pacific. They can drop or land 3500 combat troops complete with light armor and artillery within 18 hours of notification. They could hold a port or an airfield long enough for the Navy and marines to arrive by a slow boat.

3500 troops with vehicles and armor within 18 hours? What are you smoking? Whats the TPFDD say for number of loads for that. I can tell you that there isn;t enough airlift in place at any one time to do even a battalion that quickly. This stuff is already worked out in the TPFDD and maybe they told the troops that they could do X and Y within 18 hours but the infrastructure is just not there to do it.

In Argentina the CIA helped assassinate the democratically elected president (Allende) because he was a socialist and not friendly to the “democratic” values we Americans hold. So that’s in the wrong column.

Mexico? Really? We openly allow them to export their excess labor to our country so they don’t have to have a decent welfare program and spend some of that oil money their #1 in the world billionaire (Carlos Slim) has basically stolen from his people (based on his government, police and military contacts and relationships).

Vietnam? We lost 58,000 dead for what? So they can be our trading partners now?

So, your list is not black and white.

The best way to deal with an airborne invasion coming your way is to take it out when its still airborne. Why do we always believe the skies are uncontested or that an adversary doesn’t have enough manpads or ground-to-air to take us out? They don’t need a real air force to contest our intervention. Drones are changing that equation.

Guest: get a grip, I served proudly with the 82nd, don’t u go talkin sheet about the capabilities of it. All I here on this blog is Navy this, Marines that, what about our air force, 24–36 hours of properly planned NATO Supported U.S. Led air interdection & we own the skies along with the Turks, as far as “forced entry” by the 82nd, (I will not mention bases because ur obvis. a NAVY man) 24 hours and you have a BCT on the border w/turkey & Syria, another 24 hours a BCT in Nothern Iraq (Aligned w/the Kurds) 24 hours after that a BCT in Jordan. I.D. and train the refugees and let them make the start of the land offensive Then you plan your glorified amphib landing, which hasn’t been accomplished in combat in how many years 60?, stick to sea stallions (My preference) and those goony birds to secure a port in the southern tip of Turkey to resupply the isurgegents we back, only problem is the 60k russian advisors, the russian naval forces at Tartus, 10K-15K irainians, and a brigade of al-sadr murderous bast*rds.…oh I left out our most staunghist ally in the m.e., they’ll prob. make a land grab in s. Leb or another cunk of the Golan for “Security” purposes..that my war plan.….6 months & its over with the Syrians doing most of the fighting, Iknow.….…..its only a pipe dream.….…..the “red line” will be moved & their will be a need for more “clarrification”, like evidence in a court room.….….& the slaughter continues

Agreed but Id say on balance we are better off and happier with outcomes when we take action as opposed to not.


‘For the invasion, an airdrop was planned involving 3,900 paratroopers. Most of this force was airborne when Haitian officials agreed to a peaceful transition of government and permissive entry of American forces. With U.S. troops prepared to enter Haiti in a matter of hours, President Clinton dispatched a negotiating team led by former President Jimmy Carter to discuss with the de facto Haitian leadership the terms of their departure. As a result, the MNF deployed peacefully, Cedras and other top military leaders left Haiti, and restoration of the legitimate government began, leading to Aristide’s return on October 15.

Air refueling was used extensively for reconnaissance and combat air patrol missions, with 297 sorties and 1,129 flying hours logged by KC-135 and KC-10 tankers. To transport personnel and materiel from the continental United States to the Caribbean basin, strategic airlift relied on three stage bases close to onload locations: C-5s staged at Dover AFB, Delaware, primarily, and also at Griffiss AFB, New York, while C-141s staged at McGuire AFB, New Jersey. In Haiti, Port-au-Prince was the destination of the strategic airlifters. Airfield conditions at another offload site, Cap Haitien, precluded its use by C-5s and C-141s. C-5s and C-141s delivered troops and cargo to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, where the personnel and supplies were transloaded to C-130s for movement to Cap Haitien and other Haitian locations.”

<4k troops, ready to stomp in hours. Not bad.

Now you know why we don’t get further involved, neither do we…not just yet anyway. But what we do know, Assad is not a good guy. What we should do, is actually what we are doing now, wait and see who come out on top. The last time we sent troops in to topple a known dictator it cost us many lives, and much money over a ten year period.…we are still there, and we are still paying for it.

What air defenses did Haiti have? The answer is none.

For an Army airborne assault to work in a contested area, that means there needs to be aircraft over head be it Navy or Air Force or foreign allies. During Desert Storm, there already was air protection in place when the airborne units were dropped.

I wish the military would take all weapons from home land security and disband them. Hard to believe they are cutting our forces while building a private army to do what they National Guard is supposed to do. It seems like we don’t have politicians or military leaders with enough balls to say no and get back to being able to protect our country. In some cases, HLS is better equipped than our military with new unabused equipment. Police are having a hard time keeping enough ammo for their needs because HLS is buying everything up. THe police state is here and the SS is being reformed right here in the US and no one is making a move to stop it.

Defense Civilians are being furloughed while billions go untouched to corrupt foreign governments. What is wrong with DoD and OMB leaders?

You are correct.

Oh but the poster said 3500 troops with vehicles and armor within 18 hours and I’m telling you that there aren’t enough planes and tankers in any theater to do this and actually, considering that he said with vehicles and armor, there isnlt enough airlift in the inventory to do this from notification to completion in 18 hours. You claim that you are moving several BCTs in 24 hours each and I’m telling you that unless you already have the vehicles in place, it isn’t happening that fast. I suggest that you re-look at how many vehicles are needed for each BCT and how many can be carried by a C17, C5, C130. Then look at how many tankers there are in the inventory to fuel them on the way.

Oh, any you’re wrong about my service. Ever hear of TRANSCOM? We are the people who move the troops, vehicles, bombs, beans and bullets and while you may KNOW that your troops and vehicles can be ready by such and such time, the lift to get them to the fight is in MY court.

Months of planning and prepositioning of forces were involved in making this happen. I was part of the force and know this. The airlift, tankers, sealift, etc were all set up well ahead of time.

Uh, Allende was Chile, not Argentina, and it worked more or less: the military dictator voluntarily stepped down, and most of the abuses under Allende were not repeated.

We have not properly tested airborne or amphibious assaults since WW2, when the appropriate interdiction methods were primitive as well.

The Landing Ships that carried the infantry close enough for the Higgins boats would’ve been easy meat against anti-ship missiles, and the aircraft that did airdrops would’ve been easy meat for surface to air missiles.

In both cases, for either to succeed there is a reliance on the assumption of minimal resistance.

Have they ever wargamed either against modern defenses?

Considering how many interventions we did during the Cold War, I was tempted to create a “CIA-only” intervention column in addition to a “military intervention” column, followed by non-involvement. I suspect the first to have the outcome of “refugees”, the second to have a mix of military dictatorships and refugees, and the third to have a fair amount of killing. Of course, there were some military and CIA operations that wound up, and the killing started after we pulled out (Laos, for example).

Did you mean Pinochet when you said Allende?

Oh look, more Marine Corp screw ups and deaths:

3 Fired Over Fatal Mortar Training Explosion that killed 7. http://​kitup​.military​.com/​2​0​1​3​/​0​5​/​3​-​f​i​r​e​d​-​f​a​t​a​l-m

Guess we need to get a closer look at the way they do military exercises in the Pacific theater to find out.

I didn’t see much in CIC when I was there.

You can’t do an airborne op against resistance. They do a great many amphibious assault exercises.

RDF could deploy in 18 hours but only the marines can get an excuse out not to go in 4 hours.

Strange, I keep hearing otherwise on these forums.

u ain’t got a clue

and if we conduct a forced entry airborne assault in Syria, the USAF takes care of the air threat, wild weasel’s etc, B-2’s et al the sam ecm threat, then a sheet load (wing) of A-10 relocate to incrilik w/in flight refuel cap. then the air drop. I think they call it the Air-land battle concept!.……gotta dust off that manual, now that I hear of this assine air-sea battle doctrine concept being floated at the MEL IV institutions!

u mean like USAF assests that could be relocated to our NATO ally Turkey & ally Jordan?, not saying a carry or two & a LHA + a sheet load of marines offshore would not be a good thing , but USAF & USA staged properly, can do it hands down! Then leave the remaining dirty work to the Syrian insurgents we have trained & supplied.

Not only NO but what part of it don’t they understand?



NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2015 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.