Professional Notes

The Marine Safety Office (MSO) pollution investigator was on the beach, preparing to deploy an oil-containment boom around the grounded tank barge. He had arrived by truck, towing the boom trailer with him. The coxswain of the station's 41-foot utility boat tried to maneuver his craft to take the boom in tow but the shallow water prevented him from getting close enough for a quick hook-up. Eventually, a line was passed to shore and the boom was hauled, hand-over-hand, out to the boat. Once secured, the boom was towed into place to contain the oil slowly leaking from the barge's ruptured bottom. Had the pollution investigator been more familiar with the utility boat's draft limitations, he could have found a better site from which to deploy the boom, saving valuable time.

The 23-year-old ensign stood on the bridge of the 210-foot medium endurance cutter. She had graduated from the Coast Guard Academy the year before and was halfway through her tour on board. The deadline for submitting an assignment data card—dreamsheet—for her next assignment was quickly approaching and she could not decide what job to ask for. Her decision could have a dramatic impact on the rest of her career.

Her skipper, executive officer, and operations boss all encouraged her to seek another sea tour, as a patrol boat skipper or possibly executive officer on a buoy tender. She worked hard, was a good shiphandler, and enjoyed shipboard life, but she wasn't sure if this was the career path for her.

The idea of flying helicopters always had intrigued her, and during her studies to earn her degree in marine engineering, she found the courses on ship design and construction intellectually challenging. She missed those types of challenges and found herself contemplating a career in the technical side of Marine Safety, with a tour at postgraduate school to earn her master's degree.

What frustrated her about making this decision were the things she did not know about her career options. She knew what a career in surface operations held. But she knew nothing of life as an aviator or a Maritime Safety Officer. "Would I regret pursuing one of those options?" The thought continued to haunt her as her midwatch drew to a close.

The common theme that runs through all three of these hypothetical situations is that poor inter-program education and communication create barriers between Coast Guard members from different programs. Those barriers hinder our ability to respond in the best possible manner to operational needs and to provide the best possible service to internal and external customers. The barriers also limit the knowledge junior enlisted members and officers gain about different programs. These limitations may lead some of them to make ill-informed decisions about the career paths they choose within the service.

The barriers historically have been supported by the Coast Guard's division of work according to mission type: law enforcement, marine safety, and maritime defense. This division of work has had its advantages. It has allowed the respective programs to focus on their particular customers. It also has fostered strong commitment to their respective programs.

The down side of this force structure is that it can engender tunnel vision and resentment toward new ideas that members might perceive as a threat to their corner of the Coast Guard. In the past, service members were content to live with these disadvantages; today, the Coast Guard no longer can afford to do so. We are in the information age now. Change is quick and often dramatic. The Coast Guard must do all it can to maximize the use of its information, capitalize on its own successes in internal improvements, and promote creative problem solving. Breaking down inter-program barriers is essential.

The similarities between the arguments for better Coast Guard inter-program communication and for joint training between the armed forces in the Department of Defense are obvious. The Coast Guard should capitalize on them.

For example, Lieutenant General John Cushman, U.S. Army (Retired), exhorts us to "Look not at the service components of a joint force but at joint force functions, which do the job better and cheaper under joint command, with no service owning all it needs to perform its role alone....We seek only to open each of them up to the others and to encourage teamwork among their members and units at all levels." (See "Roles and Missions-Again," Proceedings , July 1994, page 9.)

The Coast Guard already operates this way, to some extent. No program has all the physical assets it needs to perform its role. Helicopters procured for use primarily in search and rescue (SAR) are used routinely for law enforcement and pollution detection and assessment. Small boat station crews use their utility boats for their primary missions of law enforcement and SAR but are valuable platforms for most near-shore pollution response efforts by MSOs.

Inter-program planning is evident in the design of our new ships and equipment. The new Juniper (WLB-201)-class buoy tenders were built specifically to collect spilled oil in addition to carrying out aids-to-navigation, SAR, and law enforcement work. Close behind them are the 26.5-meter patrol boats, also being advertised as multi-mission platforms, designed and equipped for oil spill response work. Both vessels could one day be equipped with a new "Management Information for Safety and Law Enforcement" computer system which will allow law enforcement officers to tap into merchant vessel data collected by "M-types," and vice versa.

The emphasis on inter-program capabilities of this equipment is obvious. But if the Coast Guard is to realize the full multimission benefits of this hardware, there must be a corresponding focus on improving the joint program aptitudes and attitudes of software: the Coast Guard's men and women. As General Cushman stressed, we must encourage teamwork at all levels through inter-program training and communication.

The Pentagon's jointness training focuses on upper-level leaders. Officers must complete a joint tour before they can be selected for flag rank. The emphasis is that top decision makers need an understanding of joint service capabilities more than the people at the deckplate level.

The Coast Guard, however, should emphasize such training for more junior personnel as well. It is the petty officer small boat coxswain and lieutenant (junior grade) helicopter pilot who must understand each other's capabilities and needs as they work together to rescue a distressed mariner. The buoy tender crew tasked with deploying the Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System (VOSS) to recover spilled oil must understand the MSO member's basic pollution response techniques to be effective. And the junior officer department heads at today's Groups and MSOs will be the commanding officers of tomorrow's combined activities.

How, then, should the Coast Guard introduce this inter-program jointness? In today's climate of budget reductions, creation of formal joint training programs is out of the question. Permanent assignment in an out-of-specialty tour is not realistic either; program managers are strapped for qualified petty officers and junior officers, and none of them can afford to release experienced people to serve in another program area for one or two years.

One solution is to develop a structured plan to assign Coast Guard personnel to different units temporarily. The goal, of course, is to improve understanding between different program communities and prepare junior personnel for the Coast Guard career choices they must make and the challenges they will face with interprogram operations.

The length of temporary assignment could vary from one day to several weeks, depending upon commitments of the member, and the missions of the sending and the receiving units.

Expense must be kept to a minimum. The options, therefore, should be confined to a tight geographic area so the participant could travel under no-cost orders. Participation should be tailored to junior personnel; Senior members will be less inclined to believe they can spare the time for this training and if they do, they are bound to get the "royal treatment" from the sponsoring unit.

This type of training does take place occasionally now but only when the interested member pushes for it and the command is open to broadening the knowledge of their members. A structured program, sponsored at the District, Area, or Commandant level, would endorse the temporary duty option as a viable tool for a much broader segment of the population, improving inter-unit cooperation, and preparing junior officers for future assignments as leaders of men and women from all specialties. Sponsorship at such a high level would promote greater support by unit commanding officers, which is critical to the plan's success.

Initiation of this plan would send the message that familiarizing oneself with other aspects of the service (breaking down barriers between staff areas, as Dr. W. Edwards Deming puts it) is a key quality principle, vital to short- and long-term improvement of the Coast Guard. Additional benefits include allowing the visiting member to familiarize members of the host unit on the activities normally carried out at his or her home unit. And it enables people to become familiar with individuals from other units in one geographic area. This will nurture inter-unit familiarity and even camaraderie, and pay dividends through faster, freer discussions among workers on the front lines.

Ideal locations for this training exchange would be metropolitan areas with large Coast Guard populations such as major cutters, a Group with Stations, a Marine Safety Office, patrol boats and an air station. Boston, Norfolk-Portsmouth, Miami, Long Beach, San Francisco-Alameda, Seattle, Honolulu, and Kodiak fit the bill. Many of these areas also are home to District offices and major support commands staffed with young Coasties eager to get out of the office and spend some time in the field. Orders for temporary duty between units stationed in any one of these metropolitan areas could be issued at little or no cost.

Coordination and advertisement of these opportunities would be relatively simple to establish. Since most of these areas are home to an area commander or district commander, their staffs would be the logical choice to carry out this task. They could create electronic joint-training bulletin boards accessible to all units in each area. Information on command points-of-contact, training opportunities, etc., could be fed into the database which could be read by any member with access to a standard workstation.

This proposal is one remedy for breaking down inter-program barriers. Critics may find fault—and they may be right. There may be better ways to attack the problem, but we must address the issue.

The well-publicized reductions in Coast Guard strength place greater demands on all of its people. Hardware additions to the fleet are being designed for a broader range of missions than their predecessors. The officers and crews of these new ships, boats, and aircraft will be expected to understand the operations and technology of a broad range of programs, many outside their traditional area of expertise. Opening each program to the others will reduce parochialism and encourage teamwork between units at all levels. It will enable members to make more effective use of the tools they are handed. It will help junior officers and enlisted members make better-informed career path decisions. And when they become senior decision makers, they will be better positioned to make more effective multimission decisions at lower cost.

Commander Sturm is the Chief, Coordination Staff for the Assistant Commandant, Marine Safety and Environmental Protection at Coast Guard Headquarters. He served most recently as Executive Officer, Marine Safety Office, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

 

Psychological Operations…From the Sea

By Commander Randall G. Bowdish, U.S. Navy

Of all the U.S. armed forces, the Navy has the farthest to go in fielding an information-age psychological operations (PsyOps) capability—and yet, it has the most to offer.

The Army has the strongest PsyOp capability, with one active-duty group—the 4th PsyOps Group (Airborne)—and three reserve groups. Equipped with 10 and 50 kiloWatt (kW) television and radio broadcast transmitters, mobile audiovisual vans, loudspeaker units and print systems, the Army also places a premium on the training of PsyOps personnel. Specialty training consists of basics in psychological operations, plus specialized geographical and language training. Officers within the specialty enjoy PsyOps command opportunities at various levels, up to the rank of colonel.

The Air Force's capability largely resides within the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and its four EC-130 Commando solo aircraft. The Air Force also maintains an ability to drop leaflets from MC-130 Combat Talon aircraft.

Navy PsyOps capability is limited to a 10.6 kW, van-configured amplitude-modulated (AM) radio transmitter and the ability to produce audiovisual products from a host of imaging commands. in addition, the Navy has begun training a cadre of Information Warfare specialists at the Naval Postgraduate School. Graduates of the Information Warfare curriculum receive a Master of Science in Systems Engineering and an XX46P subspecialty code. The curriculum offers one four-hour course on Psychological Operations. A career path has been established for surface, submarine, aviator, cryptologists, intelligence, and fleet support officers with opportunity for major command.

Interestingly, the term "psychological operation" was coined by Captain E. M. Zacharias, U.S. Navy, in a World War II operations plan designed to hasten the surrender of the Japanese. Regardless of the term used, psychological operations have been used by nations throughout history as an adjunct to armed conflict to compel adversaries to yield to their will.

PsyOps are defined as "Planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, or individuals."

The reach of mass media, the networking of society, government, the military and business, coupled with advances in the understanding of what influences human behavior may well enable an outer limits-like capability to "shape one's vision to anything the imagination can conceive." Military PsyOps capability must improve to keep pace with information-age developments.

The concept is not new. In ancient China, Sun Tzu thought that the real art of war lay in the psychological preparation of the enemy-breaking down alliances, spreading discord and misinformation between leaders and followers, and sowing the seeds of subversion and dissension-such that the will of the enemy was broken before fighting even began. During our own Civil War, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest exploited the effect of fear—"Get 'em skeered, and keep the skeer on 'em—"to attack the enemy's will to fight. During World War II, Adolf Hitler saw the psychological value of the blitzkrieg as "Mental confusion, contradiction of feeling, indecisiveness, panic: these are our weapons."

During Operation Desert Storm, leaflets were used effectively to attack the enemy's will to fight. They told the Iraqis when and where to expect B-52 strikes, which then took place as forecast. The effect on the morale of the targeted Iraqis was devastating, resulting in a large number of Iraqi desertions and defections.

PsyOps have been validated outside the realm of combat, finding utility in military operations other than war (MOOTW). For Operation Uphold Democracy, the restoration of democratic government in Haiti, radio and television broadcasts and leaflets were used to prepare the Haitian population for the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Psychological operations played a critical role in the successful operation, which was conducted without bloodshed.

The global reach of the mass media—with more than 120 satellites beaming television into every inhabited continent, to 1.2 billion viewers—provides a very powerful medium through which to influence a target audience's behavior. As marketing and advertising sophistication grow, along with social science advances in understanding what influences human behavior, the potential for PsyOp to compel an enemy to do our will increases accordingly.

There are several key advantages associated with conducting PsyOps from the sea. Naval forces are distinguished by their virtually unlimited access to the world's littorals, which puts them within range of 80% of the world's capitals and 75% of the world's population. Consequently, basing PsyOps personnel and equipment on board ship would provide a regional commander-in-chief (CinC) with a forward-deployed, quick-reaction, mobile PsyOp capability.

The economic advantages associated with conducting PsyOps from the sea become apparent when one looks at Table l's notional equipment suite. Navy ships have excess power-generating capacity. While power generation can be a problem for a shore-based broadcasting capability (requiring a separate generator), on board a ship it merely entails plugging into the ship's electrical distribution system. Communications are a critical regional PsyOps capability issue as overt, peacetime programs require high-level interservice and interagency coordination. Ships have sophisticated communications suites, able to transmit and receive locally and world-wide; mobile shore systems may not he as fortunate.

Economy of scale also works to the advantage of maritime operations; the additional billeting required for personnel would be insignificant on a large ship.

In its cryptologists, the Navy already has some of the expertise required, such as linguists well versed not only in the language of the target audience, but also its culture. Navy Public Affairs personnel have a background in broadcast and print journalism. Graduates of the Postgraduate School course are reaching the fleet, and larger Navy ships normally have such expertise on board as a part of the crew.

This is not to suggest, however, that the Navy should compete with the Army and the other services. But the Navy can, and should, contribute more than a platform from which to conduct operations. A core element of Navy PsyOps personnel who understand the workings of a ship and the role of PsyOps within that ship and the Navy at large will be required to field this capability. Basically, the Navy should host operations as a member of the joint PsyOps team.

There are some disadvantages. For high-frequency, line-of-sight broadcasts, some method of elevating the transmitter will have to be used, such as a balloon on a tether or a link to an aircraft or satellite. The equipment footprint would have to be small because of the limited amount of real estate available on ships—a constraint that all but eliminates smaller combatants. Ships also are designed with a given crew size and minimal room for growth, which would once again work against smaller combatants. Finally, fielding new equipment and funding additional training would require an investment of already scarce resources.

Information-age advances may provide solutions to some of these disadvantages. For example, part of the real estate requirement stems from the need for radio and television studios. A virtual studio might be an option. Broadcast and graphics personnel could remain stateside, with access to advertising, marketing, political, cultural, and social science expertise, where they could craft an integrated product, get it approved at the appropriate level, then link it digitally to the ship for dissemination.

Another option would entail joint development of a modern capability with the Air Force and Army or, at the least, the development of interoperable equipment. The Air Force has a vested interest in developing lightweight, miniaturized equipment for the follow-on to its Commando Solo aircraft, an interest shared by the Navy. The Army might be interested in a plug-and-play capability that they could fly out to a ship in a crisis, then transport ashore along with their own personnel, if required.

The Navy may be able to reap ancillary advantages from hosting an information-age PsyOps capability on its ships.

Many thought that the Navy lost the public relations war during Desert Storm. Part of the problem was the difficulty and amount of time it took to get the story from sea to shore. Late news is history—overcome by breaking events. A maritime PsyOps capability would go a long way to communicate naval contributions in a timely, news-worthy fashion.

Analysis will have to determine whether the pay-offs warrant the added cost of fielding a maritime capability. Intuitively, the advantages of conducting PsyOps from the sea appear to outweigh the disadvantages. But larger issues bear investigation. How does one measure effectiveness? Who can prove that a particular operation deterred a war that never happened? What about unintended consequences? Could our efforts make a bad situation worse? What about the cost? These questions, and others like them, deserve careful consideration before embarking a maritime capability.

There are several possibilities. The Navy could develop a command-and-control warship. (See "The 'Q' Transition," Proceedings , February 1997, pages 57-61.) PsyOps, as one of the five elements of command-and-control warfare, would have an integral role in this mission. A modem capability could be built into the ship from the keel up.

This option has merit, particularly in view of the need to replace the fleet command ships in the near future. It is unlikely, however, that the Navy could afford a class of ships like this in the numbers required to provide regional CinCs with a forward-deployed maritime PsyOps capability. Thus, another class of ships also would need to have this capability.

Retrofitting is possible, but it comes at a price, both in monetary terms and in the capability lost in the removal of existing equipment to make room for the PsyOps equipment. Nonetheless, if the capability addition is deemed worthy, it can be accommodated.

The Wasp (LHD-1)-class amphibious assault ships are an excellent candidates to host a maritime capability, using this approach. These ships and their embarked Marines are likely to be a regional CinCs first choice for a host of small-scale contingencies. Humanitarian, disaster relief, nation support, and noncombatant evacuation operations are just a few of these.

These big-deck ships would not suffer the problems of limited space and hotel-services demand associated with small combatants. The Wasp class already carries a complement of linguists, who operate the Combat direction-finding system. As an amphibious assault ship, transport of PsyOps equipment and personnel ashore would be a routine matter.

Also worth consideration are the Tarawa (LHA-1)-class amphibious assault ships, which share many of advantages of the Wasp s. The Tarawa s are beginning to feel their age, however; the five ships of the class were commissioned between 1976 and 1980.

One is tempted to make a case for the mightiest warship of all—the aircraft carrier. Its size, communications suite, flag officer presence and concomitant staff, and penchant for being where the action is are reasons enough.

The very presence of an aircraft carrier off a nation's coast sends a psychological message in itself, and the demands on the carriers in their power projection role are colossal. Even though the carrier may be best suited from the perspective of having complementary resources, it may not be the best choice in view of the large number of requirements already placed upon it.

Information-age PsyOps offers a bloodless opportunity to attack the mind of the enemy—an opportunity the Navy should not ignore. It is time to take a hard look at conducting "PsyOps . . . From the Sea."

Commander Bowdish , a surface warfare officer, is an action officer in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

 

Number-Crunching Through the Surf

By Major C. Reid Nichols, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Jack G. McDermid, and Marshall D. Earle

U.S. naval forces responding to crises in strategic littoral regions are finding themselves at center stage. Only a few countries are capable of applying the advanced technologies necessary to develop the amphibious equipment that can maneuver safely in the dynamic environment where air, land, and sea meet.

Analysis of the U.S. Marine Corps' program to replace the early1970s Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) with a high-speed Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) offers a programmatic model for implementing new systems that meet environmental challenges to naval expeditionary warfare. The AAAV is designed to sustain water speeds of 20 knots in sea state 3 (wave heights greater than 1.6 ft but less than 4.1 feet) and cross-country speeds of 45 miles per hour. In order to evaluate this goal, carefully selected climate, coast type, and wave information has been compared to design specifications. Resulting environmental characterization products that support AAAV development provide secondary benefit by establishing baseline information to assess naval expeditionary force concepts of operation and schemes of maneuver.

If the new assault vehicle is to support Operational Maneuver From the Sea, design specifications must integrate today's understanding of the littoral battle space with tactical concepts such as ship-to-objective maneuver, the dependent relationships that the vehicle shares with other weapon systems, and enemy threats. Regional studies of climate, i.e., long-term oceanographic, meteorological, estuarine, and riverine conditions for countries where a threat exists, offer a starting point to compare contingency plans and operational capabilities against anticipated environmental variables that will affect existing and planned equipment. Environmental climatologies are especially valuable for major regional commands since the information is relevant to large areas and is applicable to critical thresholds affecting specific missions. Climatic information for winds, waves, breaker heights, and near-shore currents is fundamental for planners at organizations such as Special Operations Command where risks for conducting maritime, SCUBA, or swim operations are determined. Sea state characterization in a strategic location also provides a basis for assessing the utility of sea-keeping and controllability design specifications, which require the new assault vehicle to be directionally stable at all speeds and to withstand 9.8-foot seas without capsizing.

For both water and land mobility, concerns over engine cooling prompted the program manager to evaluate a specification requiring the amphibious vehicle to meet all operational performance requirements at ambient air temperatures ranging from -25 deg Fahrenheit (F) to 125 deg F. Oceanographers analyzed long-term and quality controlled data bases consisting of coastal weather station data, buoy data, and ship observations for the world's hottest regions. They computed monthly histograms showing the frequency of various temperature observations in comparison to the normal distribution curve (Figure 1 ). The results indicated that air temperatures were greater than 103.9 deg F only 1% of the time. This probability was then compared to the Persian Gulf air temperature maximum of 124.6 deg F and, when combined, provided the hard data that prompted the program manager to relax the temperature specification for AAAV performance in water mode to 104 deg F.

A specification requiring the AAAV to operate in high-speed mode through riverine environments was evaluated against hydrological information collected from regional watershed databases. Locations 150 meters above sea level were identified since altitude affects engine load requirements. Descriptive data such as depth, discharge rate, and channel length were determined for rivers while depth and surface area were determined for lakes in 25% of the countries where U.S. Marine Corps commitment is most probable. The five highest discharge rates were from the Amazon, Congo, Negro, Yangtze, and Orinoco Rivers. The only navigable riverine environments affecting engine performance were located on broad continents with small bed slopes. For example, the Mississippi River crosses the 150 meter contour at a distance of 1,300 kilometers from the Gulf of Mexico while the Amazon River crosses the 150 meter contour 3,500 kilometers inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately 31 navigable lakes in seven countries were found to be 150 meters above sea level. Lower altitude lakes tended to have a greater area than high altitude lakes while high altitude lakes were generally much deeper. The largest lakes included the Caspian Sea, Aral Sea, Victoria, Tanganyika, and Baykal.

Wave height and period analyses are particularly valuable for AAAV designers concerned with ride quality and stability. For foreign coasts of interest, long-term computer-modeled wave information is not available. Therefore, long-term ocean surface wave conditions observed by ships at sea were substituted as a reasonable source to build deep-water wave and surf probabilities. These statistics affect such vehicle requirements as minimizing sea-sickness for embarked troops during a one to one and one-half hour run to the beach at 20 knots in significant wave heights of up to 3 feet and then negotiating 6-foot plunging surf near the shoreline. Table I provides deep-water wave height probabilities for a strategic portion of the Sea of Japan over a 24year period. The data indicate that amphibious operations off the East coast of the Korean Peninsula will encounter sea state 3 (wave heights greater than 4.1 feet) approximately 50% of the time. Planners must evaluate carefully requirements for conducting certain naval expeditionary force missions under wave conditions in which the assault amphibians cannot operate in planing mode. These deep-water waves were brought ashore using an updated version of the Navy Standard Surf Model, which considered shallow-water effects such as wave refraction from deep water to the surf zone. The surf model then was applied to selected littoral penetration points to propagate numerically wave energy across the surf zone while dissipating wave energy caused by breaking waves. Annual surf parameter probabilities for a beach near Kojin-Hang, South Korea indicated that breakers above 6 feet occur less than 20% of the time. Since this particular coast is not subject to significant long-period swell, plunging breakers are less likely than the favorable spilling surf, which occurs 80% of the time.

Linking descriptive coastal classifications with climatological information also benefits the modeling and simulation community by establishing baseline data that can be applied to simulate a realistic littoral battle space. A key element in visualization might involve describing expected meteorological and oceanographic properties, e.g., land sea-breeze fronts, bar or reef locations, inlet plumes, and beach widths, based on known relationships that exist between coast type and physical processes. Some of the descriptive coast type classifications are mangrove, barrier island, drowned river valley, delta, and wave-cut cliff. Other more subtle categories are associated with geological processes such as tectonic coasts or biological processes such as coral reef coasts. This generic approach eliminates the requirement to collect data for specific locations. Detailed wave information at a selected littoral penetration point, however, must be site specific because of local effects on waves and surf. For example, the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers converge about 160 kilometers north of the Persian Gulf to form the Shatt al-Arab River which produces a deltaic plain as it drains into the Gulf. Wave energy is lost as waves from the Persian Gulf reach shallow water over the delta and mud flats that comprise Iraq's 58 kilometer stretch of coast. Table 2 provides realistic shallow-water wave period and height probabilities created by refracting Persian Gulf waves at the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab.

To conduct ship-to-objective maneuver, amphibious systems must be designed to cope with the majority of complex environmental conditions common to the littoral battle space. This summary of Naval Research Laboratory-Stennis Space Center work to support the AAAV program illustrates how comprehensive environmental databases and numerical models can be integrated to develop climatological and oceanographic information which assists capital projects. Further, this work sets the stage for evaluating actual vehicle performance with U.S. Navy and commercial sensors that produce high quality data for characterizing the littoral environment. Tests and evaluations of prototype AAAV systems should be conducted in conjunction with comprehensive environmental measurements allowing environmental snap shots that determine which specifications were met under the conditions prescribed and within necessary safety margins. Such combined meteorological and oceanographic support benefits the operational community by providing environmental intelligence that may be applied to war gaming and contingency planning. By extension, future mission-planning systems can be designed to analyze climatic and near real-time meteorological and oceanographic data automatically for comparison to critical thresholds for decision makers.

Major Nichols works on applied meteorological and oceanographic projects with Neptune Sciences, Inc. He served on active duty with the 2d Force Service Support Group and 3d Marine Division, and drills now with the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing. He holds a Masters of Science in physical oceanography. Mr. McDermid is a Project Manager-Contract Specialist at the Naval Research Laboratory-Stennis Space Center. He has served as a diver and oceanographer with the Naval Oceanographic Office. Dr. Earle is a senior oceanographer and Vice President of Neptune Sciences, Inc. He has been working in the field of applied oceanography with an emphasis on circulation and waves since 1967. He holds a Ph.D. in Oceanography.

 

Why Not Miramar?

By Lieutenant Raymond E. O’Hare, U.S. Navy

The Navy's five remaining Pacific Fleet F-14 squadrons are all established at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, along with their Atlantic Fleet counterparts. While single-siting is an appealing idea, there are problems. To alleviate the materiel, personnel, and operational burdens encountered in this transcontinental undertaking, F-14 squadrons that deploy on board Pacific Fleet carriers need a suitable Southern California location from which to embark—and NAS Miramar is the only facility that satisfies the multiple requirements of this demanding undertaking.

My squadron, VF-2, was the first F-14 squadron faced with the formidable task of deploying with the Pacific Fleet from Oceana. During our work-up cycle, VF-2 traveled from Virginia Beach to San Diego no less than four times in 15 months. This does not include detachments to NAS Fallon, Nevada, for air wing training or other West Coast commitments such as Operation Roving Sands in Roswell, New Mexico. These transits required a Herculean effort by all members of the command.

On average, 10 of the squadron's 14 aircraft, all 35 air crew, and roughly 250 of 275 maintenance troops made the cross-country venture each time, along with about 75,000 pounds of gear. The EA-6B community has been doing this for years, but with due respect to the travails of others, the Tomcat community is attempting it on much larger scale.

It means a lot of time on the road. Two to three days transit time for the whole squadron plus another day or so to load our gear onto the USS Constellation (CV-64). Add another two-three days for the return trip and a two-week boat detachment turned into a month-long evolution before we got back, even if everything—transport, tanker support, aircraft, weather, etc.—went perfectly. Upon arriving back in Virginia Beach, two-three more days were required to unpack. Families were separated two extra weeks and an already full training schedule was further delayed.

Nevertheless, we pulled it off. In a touch of irony only a bureaucrat would love, one of the primary reasons the squadron was able to succeed was ready access to the line, hangar, and operating spaces at NAS Miramar that used to be ours! (They are as yet unoccupied by the Marine Corps.) In addition, support from base personnel, services and equipment, and the Marine Corps F/A-18 squadrons at Miramar, especially our Carrier Air Wing-2 brother VMFA-323, was outstanding and most gracious.

For one detachment, we did base out of NAS North Island. While geographically close to Miramar, North Island posed several significant problems: severe foreign object damage, potential ramp over-stressing, limited ground support equipment, and highly restrictive noise abatement procedures, to name just a few. North Island is a beautiful location, but it is not—and probably never will be—prepared to handle a squadron of Tomcats for any extended period of time.

NAS Miramar, on the other hand, has everything. How surprising. Plenty of space that even the Marine Corps admits it cannot fill, 12,000-foot runways, bidirectional arresting gear, adequate refueling facilities and equipment, straightforward navigation/course rules, sufficient lodging for enlisted and officers, ready access to the carrier for staging of supplies, and most important, easy access to all Southern California operating areas. In addition, more than one carrier often is under way in the area at any given time, which means that two and possibly three Tomcat squadrons may be on the West Coast simultaneously, and Miramar is the only facility in the region that can handle this load.

There is a move afoot to use Naval Air Facility El Centro, California, as a staging base. At first glance, this seems appealing. But from an operator's view point, El Centro is unsatisfactory. It maintains a small cadre of maintenance personnel to host detachments from VFA-125, the West Coast FlA-18 Fleet Readiness Squadron (FRS), and VF-101, the F-14 FRS. When a squadron arrives, it brings with it several airplanes and a sufficient number of personnel to augment the command permanently on station. The Blue Angels spend much of the winter there as well. Obviously, the current manning could be increased permanently to handle the large influx caused by a temporary F- 14 "beach detachment. These are the positives.

Now for a reality check. El Centro is 80 miles, as the crow flies, east of Miramar. An F-14 operating from a flight deck 100 miles off the Southern California coast would need an extra 1,000 pounds of fuel to reach El Centro on a bingo divert profile. Normal air wing operations in the offshore operating areas require Tomcats to maintain 3,400-3,700 pounds of fuel (day) and 3,500-4,200 pounds (night) for a divert to Miramar. These fuels weights would increase to 4,400-4,700 pounds and 4,500-5,200 pounds respectively to reach El Centro. Depending upon aircraft configuration, e.g, tactical air reconnaissance pod system aircraft or some air-to-ground weapon configurations) the maximum fuel at maximum trap weight often is as low as 5,500 pounds. At night, one pass can consume 900 pounds. If we do the math, a Tomcat could very easily be "bingo on the ball," and even less after one landing attempt, in order to reach El Centro.

Of course, Miramar would still be available, but no F-14 maintenance personnel or supplies would be in place to work on the jet. A team could then be dispatched from El Centro, but this would be costly, time consuming, and extremely inefficient. Realistically, El Centro does not have the facilities to accommodate even a single F-14 squadron detachment if other commands already are in place.

NAS Lemoore has been suggested as a possible site for an F-14 beach detachment. At least two Hornet squadrons from the air wing would be there to host an incoming F-14 squadron. The divert fuel problems, however, are even worse than El Centro's. F/A-18s based at Lemoore rarely bingo to their home field; they usually head for Miramar, which is much closer. Also, the presence of Marine Hornets at Miramar ensures parts and maintenance support for those diverting F/A-18s. Significantly, an F-14 detachment at NAS Lemoore would have to be built from scratch.

Why not establish a detachment at NAS Miramar for the inevitable diverts?

The F-14 community should establish a permanent detachment operating out of Miramar. This beach detachment would occupy designated hangar and line space only when required, and the personnel and equipment would come from the U.S. Pacific Fleet Strike Fighter Wing Maintenance Unit at El Centro. These personnel would arrive at Miramar in time to meet incoming F-14 squadrons along with the squadron's advance party. A small Navy liaison section could be established permanently to coordinate ground support equipment, fuel requirements, and to maintain the Navy spaces and equipment.

The military drawdown has forced naval aviation to do more with less. This plan would fulfill that requirement while still maximizing the facilities and assets available to Pacific Fleet air wings and battle groups. Other sites seem appealing and expedient for the reasons listed above. However, Miramar is the only location that fulfills the safety, materiel, training , and operational requirements demanded of the multirole F-14 community.

Establishing a West Coast F-14 detachment at any location other than Miramar just doesn't make sense.

Lieutenant O’Hare , an F-14 Radar Intercept Officer, recently completed his first sea tour with VF-2 and is a student at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.

 

 
 

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