Improving the U.S. Navy Riverine capability lessons from the Colombian experience
Flores, Ricardo A.
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Since the end of the Cold War, United States naval forces have had to adapt to a rapidly changing security environment. To better contribute to the U.S. War on Terror, former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Vern Clark and his successor, Admiral Mike Mullen, decided in mid 2005 to rebuild the Navy's riverine forces. Such a capability, with limited exceptions, had not been emphasized since the end of the Vietnam War. In 2005, the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) conducted a review of the Navy's "past, current, and future" riverine capabilities and identified key gaps, specifically in counterinsurgency and Line of Communication operations. Using the CNA study as the baseline, this thesis will examine Colombia's 50 year riverine experience combating insurgent guerrillas and providing security along its 15,000 kilometers of rivers. This research will address the capability gaps identified in the CNA study. It is based on interviews conducted in Colombia of U.S. military and Colombian personnel, and research of Colombian naval archives obtained during a September, 2007, visit to the country.
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