The Armed Forces of the
and the Navy, as our focus on this blog, exist to
fight wars. There is no other
mission. Everything else is a secondary,
time wasting exercise. If we aren’t
fighting a war then we should be preparing for war. Instead, the Navy’s time is filled with
useless tasks that detract from the main mission. A case in point is the humanitarian
assistance that is being provided to hurricane areas at the expense of combat
training. As USNI News website describes
it (1), United States
“The Navy and Marine Corps’ Bold Alligator 17 international amphibious exercise will still take place this month but will be scaled down due to ongoing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.”
“However, due to ongoing HA/DR missions in
Puerto Rico, many of
the forces set to participate in the major live exercise will not be available
So one exercise had to be scaled back a bit. What’s the big deal? Well, the big deal is that Bold Alligator is not just a small exercise. It is the main amphibious exercise for the Marines/Navy.
“Bold Alligator … is now the East Coast’s premiere amphibious force training exercise.”
Worse, the exercise, despite being the main training exercise, is only occasionally conducted as a live exercise so it is absolutely vital that the opportunity for live work be taken.
“Bold Alligator was last conducted as a live exercise in 2014, with the 2015 installment meant to be a simulated event. Last year’s live exercise was postponed a year, with the services opting instead to conduct a pierside live, virtual and constructive event to prepare for this year’s highly integrated exercise between traditional amphibious forces and the carrier strike group needed to help set the conditions for amphibious operations.”
Does it really matter if a ship or two misses the exercise?
“Expeditionary Strike Group 2 leadership was set to serve as the Commander of the Amphibious Task Force aboard amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3). Now, ESG-2 and Kearsarge are no longer available for BA 17, along with 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7), amphibious transport dock USS New York(LPD-21), dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD-50), hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20), aviation logistics support container ship SS Wright (T-AVB 3), and elements of Naval Expeditionary Combat Command and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing – all of which are tied up with the ongoing HA/DR response, according to a U.S. Fleet Forces Command statement.”
That’s a lot of assets that will miss the premier combat training exercise of its type and a rare and vital chance for live training. The very reason for the existence of the exercise is being curtailed.
“On the Marine Corps side, without Kearsarge and other amphibious ships, many planned amphibious landing events have been canceled … “
So, a vital and rare opportunity, which only comes once every two or three years, is going to be watered down and many units will miss it entirely so that the Navy and Marines can deliver food and water? Let me repeat. The Navy has only one mission – war or training for war.
government has many assets and organizations at its
disposal that can provide humanitarian assistance but the military should not
be one of them. Humanitarian assistance
missions degrades the readiness of our forces, puts unnecessary wear and tear
on equipment, and racks up precious flight hours on aircraft. U.S.
This is a shining example of the failure of the Navy to say “no” to a non-mission essential task request. The Navy’s failure to say no is why we have ships and crews sailing with lapsed certifications. Instead of training and perhaps learning basic seamanship, navigation, and combat, we have crews spending their time delivering supplies. Instead of providing our ships and aircraft with maintenance to restore readiness, we’re sending them to deliver supplies – a job that any commercial cargo ship can do far more cost effectively and efficiently.
We are tasking our Navy with gender issues, sensitivity training, diversity programs, biofuel experimentation, climate change planning – in short, everything but war and training for war.
(1)USNI News website, “Bold Alligator 17 Exercise Scaled Down Due to Ongoing Humanitarian Assistance Mission in
Puerto Rico”, Megan Eckstein, 13-Oct-2017,