Leveraging Naval Riverine forces to achieve information superiority in stability operations
Gray, Stephen C.
Pfeiffer, Karl D.
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The conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan have provided an undeniable storyline: U.S. forces can conduct a conventional mission better than any in the world, but that mission, accomplished in short order, leaves behind a situation for which conventional forces and equipment are ill-prepared. This situation requires a new mission: Stability Operations. The blue-water is not where these 21st century conflicts will likely take place, and forces such as the U.S. Navy Riverines are among the many forces that provide a capability to integrate and communicate with local populations that cannot be matched by blue-water forces. While the riverine force's mission set is one that could become heavily utilized in stability operations, the ability to conduct those missions is currently hindered by a lack of implementation of information technology. The current disadvantages that greatly increase operational risk include a reduced capability to engage the population, reduced situational awareness, and limited communication reach-back capability. A riverine force properly equipped with and trained with biometric, unmanned, and information sharing systems would provide the NECC, and U.S. Navy as a whole, a more comprehensive ability to conduct stability operations in brown-water areas, something no other conventional Navy unit can currently accomplish.
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