19 February 2007

Brown Water Warfare

Brown water warfare refers to warfare conducted in coastal areas and rivers. Recent developments brings news on that front.

First, Coast Guard efforts to upgrade its fleet, called the Deepwater program, are a disaster. The only good news here is that failure has been admitted, so that change can occur.

Second, the Navy is starting river based forces, a la the Swift Boats of the Vietnam era. The good news here is that a some active duty military personnel that have been useless in Iraq because they are in the Navy, can help releave burdens that existed on the Marines and Army. The bad news is that this approach screws with the operational chain of command -- do we really want soldiers in Iraqi rivers to report to the Secretary of the Navy, while the soldiers on the shore report to the Secretary of the Army? In the short run this might be a band aid that helps, but in the long run, wouldn't it be better to leave the Army in charge of fighting in rivers?

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