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Military sealift may need more help to combat vehicles to Europe

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If the Pentagon accelerates the spindle in the direction of the great power of the competition and go further than 15 years of counterinsurgency, the U.S. military continues to build up forces, increases the training and conduct exercises with regional allies in both the European and Pacific theatres.

This is generally known as the NATO and the U.S. Army Europe continues to launch visible allied interoperability activities, and — simply put — a significant build-up of military power. Of course, much of this is intended to send a clear “deterrence” message to Russia.

However, all of these highlights are the huge AMERICAN deficit when it comes to actually “be there,” — send forward troops and supporting Ready Reserve Forces. US Military Sealift Command, according to the Congress, and the Pentagon authorities, working with insufficient staff and boats for the transport. C-5, C-17’s and other air assets can, of course, the forward position of troops, supplies and equipment needed-but how does the Pentagon get enough of tanks and heavy armored vehicles to Europe without adequate modern transport-ships, and sealift assets? How does the US counter Chinese incursions in the Quiet and safe transit of vital international waterways? How can a country assets such as artillery systems and armoured vehicles to key locations on the island in the Pacific ocean?

The fleet is not only too small, but drastically in need of upgrades and aggressive modernization. Many of the boats that make use of outdated steam propulsion and, perhaps of greatest importance, the ships just don’t move heavy goods which are required to conform to the big power threat of China and Russia. Roll-on/Roll-off ships upgrades — new needed.

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For example, in an interview with Defense News last Fall, retired Rear Adm. Mark Buzby told the newspaper that the average age of the fleet is 43 years. Of the 46 ships in the reserve, about 23 or 24 urgent attention, Buzby said, according to the article.

Congress perspectives are aligned with Buzby, following serious concern over a US Military Sealift readiness crisis. The 2019 NDAA required the Navy to submit a business case analysis for the obtaining of the Ready Reserve recapitalized.

“To buy more than two of such vessels, the Secretary would have to certify that the U.S. Navy launched an acquisition strategy for the construction of not less than 10 new sealift ships, with the lead ship expected to be delivered by not later than the year 2026,” said a note released by the Congress, quoted by the Defense News. This can all lead to longer-term progress, but what kind of near-term financing, and modernization of the efforts necessary to the readiness crisis “today?” — given the severity of great power threats in both Europe and the Pacific. A part of the necessary Military Sealift increase is necessary to recover from an 2012 of personnel and equipment efficiency and cost reduction of the power.

A 2012 Military Sealift Command’s essay cites the effort as the streamlining of the force to become more agile. Senior Pentagon officials regularly cite the continued need for more heavy troops in Eastern Europe significantly. In recent years, the Pentagon has moved at least two heavy Armored Brigade Combat Teams in Europe, along with Stryker brigades and infantry assets. As part of this broad strategic push, the U.S. Army is sending a Stryker brigades armed with emerging Short-Range Air Defense technology. A mobile air defenses is the source of inspiration for the armament of Strykers with new weapons. The Cold War, mechanized warfare, air-defense emphasis atrophied during more than a decade of counterinsurgency. In addition, U. S. Army Europe conducted a visible Dragoon Drive in convoy in Europe a few years ago, during the conduct of exercises with East European allies along the way.

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There is little doubt that this was deliberately done as a message to Russia by showing that the U.S. Army troops could be competent transit to the European continent, if necessary. An essay in West Point is a Modern War Institute makes the point that the Russian and the former Soviet railway transport has decades of much more developed than the NATO and the allied rail transport infrastructure in Western Europe. This phenomenon, it goes without saying, explains why the U.S. would carry out exercises in order to emphasize that it is prepared and cross-continent deployment. US Military Sealift is essential for this effort.

In addition, there is not only a problem when it comes to the transport of tanks and other heavy combat assets, but the U.S. Military Sealift Command is also expressing concern about its ability to meet “the global patient movement taskings,” according to an MSC news reporting.”Currently, we can satisfy the global patient movement taskings, but as demand increases and/or as working in a contested environment, our ability to perform this important task can be hindered. The efforts of the GPMJAB (Global Patient Movement Joint Advisory Board) in advance and to ensure that the willingness of our global movement of the patient’s ability now and in the future,” said US air force Colonel John Andrus, USTRANSCOM (U.S. Transportation Command) surgeon general.

Another pressing threat circumstance relates to the aggressive Chinese military and commercial shipbuilding enterprise, according to an interesting essay, “To a completely New Maritime Strategy”, written by the Vice-Adm. A. Brown (ret), President and CEO of NDTA (National Defense Transportation Association) and NDTA Military Sealift Committee. Among other things, the editorial calls for a large-scale strategic reset when it comes to ensuring vital commercial trade, expanding OUR Sealift assets and the pursuit of a broad-based Military Sealift operational uptick.

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“China has the largest shipping companies in the world, is the world’s largest shipbuilder, and has the world’s largest port operating companies, resulting in the maritime influence on the whole world. Chinese ships, designed with advanced Chinese developed technology operated by the Chinese shipping companies to call on the Chinese controlled ports to deliver goods manufactured in a Chinese-managed international supply chain around the world. That is the Chinese vision-a strong, compelling vision that has no parallel in the US, nor in the specificity of the desired outcome, nor the boldness in thinking.”

Given the urgent problems, and many others, there is clearly an unambiguous and urgent need to quickly address a Military Sealift crisis. In addition to the upcoming budget, planning, there seems to be an immediate need to re-direct, or fast-track funding to address the deficit. Many believe that the threats are just much too big for US to do otherwise.

Kris Osborn is a Senior Fellow at The Lexington Institute

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