As economies across the globe continue to contract, navies, armies, and air forces are being told, if not, “do more with less” to at least “do the same with less.” Proceedings thus asked sea-service commanders around the world: What innovative efficiencies and economies are you implementing, or considering implementing, to improve force readiness?
Admiral Nazih Baroudi
The preeminent focus at this time for the Lebanese Armed Forces-Navy (LAF-Navy) is its role in building, step by step, a new LAF–Navy Task Force, a concept closely linked to future training in the navy. The aim is to train them technically and tactically to conduct operations and crew new vessels so the LAF-Navy can take on certain tasks currently conducted by the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon maritime task force (UNIFIL-MTF).
For this purpose, the navy has to upgrade its command, control, and communications (C3) system and the endurance capabilities of its units at sea. Those upgrades will be focused particularly on tasks the LAF-Navy is assuming. Once Lebanese jurisdictional waters extend beyond the UNIFIL area of maritime operations (AMO), the LAF-Navy will undertake deployments beyond that AMO as well, extending all the way to the outer limits of Lebanon’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The current gap between LAF-Navy and UNIFIL-MTF capabilities will be filled by restructuring LAF-Navy, reshaping it into a naval force with increased capabilities and enhanced innovative efficiencies. That will be accomplished under a five-year plan having four steps:
1. Acquisition of new vessels and equipment, categorized as imminent needs or second priorities.
2. Technical training (operating equipment) and individual training.
3. Tactical (integration) training. This is the most important step, in accordance with the LAF-Navy tactical doctrine, combining all elements (combat and C3) to fulfill any assigned mission. Units will have attained final operational capability at the end of this step, and our naval units will be able to participate in joint exercises as directed, and to be fully operational at sea.
4. Deployment of naval assets. This will occur when the LAF-Navy is ready for operational tasks in the AMO and EEZ—and capable of operating alone.
To assume the UNIFIL-MTF mission, we will need all-weather offshore patrol vessels (40-60 meters in size), firefighting/tug boats and logistic ships. Our tasks will include maritime interdictions and boardings, C3 operations, defensive operations, search and rescue, tug and firefighting missions, salvage operations, and training for cadets.
To meet the requirements for innovation of its sea services over the course of the five-year plan, the LAF-Navy requires about $450 million, which will come from government, through donations, and assistance from our allies.