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July 13, 2005

And now for something completely different.

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Photo credit: Bad Cat Robot

Ya know, the Castle really needs a resident sailor. But all the articulate sailors I know blog already, sigh. Heh. That won't stop me from jumping into these waters! Argghhh! mateys! Perhaps the relatively newly-minted Captain Lex will come by and skool me along with the Commander.

I think Cdr Salamander will approve of this little bit reported on Strategy Page about rebuilding the Brown Water Navy. But, "naval infantry"? Isn't that the Corps? But Dunnigan doesn't always get his details straight, then, either - that or his sources don't. I've seen *that* from both sides... and as I've started to get big enough to have people send me stuff... well, I've been tripped up, too.

Anyway - as Castle Denizen Bad Cat Robot caught in pixels in Seattle over the 4th of July - the Navy is working to build back it's 'Brown Water' (riverine) and coastal (littoral) capabilities - a scale-back from the carrier and sub-based focus of the fleet. (yes, I know that's a specops sub, but it's the closest to a boomer pic I've got at the moment) In this case, the vessel in question is the Seafighter.

I admit - I'm *not* quite as keen as the 'Phibian is about the Navy getting into river warfare, pride says the Army could handle it... and we are, in Iraq, and, let's face it, rivers run through Army areas of operations... but.

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Not only is there a long history of the Navy having the job (remember the Civil War? Those weren't *Army* vessels on the Mississippi. Tennessee, Ohio, and James Rivers...) in the case of the Current Operating Environment (as we geeks term it), it frees up soldiers to poke and prod into the urban areas - and opens up a new manpower front, currently not fully utilized but already enlisted (not knocking sailors here) in the GWOT. Rather than expand the Army's capacity (end strength, etc) we could tap the Navy's manpower pool.

There are several other factors at work here - all acting, I think, in favor of the Navy.

1. Smaller vessels, more of them - and smaller shipyards could build them, as well. That builds political and local support for the Navy - and expands their impact through a greater economic spectrum... but I'm no economist, I could be all wet on that. It also means greater capacity - as opposed to being limited to just a few huge yards capable of doing the work.

2. More vessels, more command opportunity. I don't care how you slice it - command of a small vessel is preferable to shore duty or Division Officer on a huge vessel. Need to do them both - but the Navy's officer corps would benefit from more chances to sit in the Captain's chair, I would think.

3. Jointness. More opportunities for land and naval component officers to work together. I gotta admit though, building a river at Fort Irwin for some joint training is gonna be a challenge...

4. And, allow the Navy a cheaper way to perhaps get more involved in the anti-piracy efforts in the Pacific region.

Like I said - not my area of expertise, but that doesn't stop any of the MSM pundits, why should I let it get in my way... but, really, just tossing stuff out there to see what kind of conversation I can start. If I can lure down the lurkers, I usually learn something.