Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Riverines trade in their CB90s for Mark VI Patrol Boats...are they now glorified Master-At-Arms?

The CB90 is a staple of Riverine/Coastal Marine forces worldwide.  I'm especially fond of what I'm seeing the Swiss/Netherlands are doing but it doesn't end there.  Even the Russians have adopted their own version of the  boat.  Surprisingly, the biggest operator after the Swiss Royal Navy is the Mexican Navy (Wiki article here).

But I digress.

The Riverines are trading in their CB90s for Mark VI Patrol Boats.

Does this tell us anything about how they're going to operate in the future? I'm not sure.  Check this out via Defense News.
The Mark VI patrol boat bristles with heavy automatic weapons, and that’s the way its crews like it.

“I tell the crews that you want to look like a porcupine,” said U.S. Navy Senior Chief Derrick Cox, who trains the sailors that man the Mark VI as part of Coastal Riverine Squadron 2’s training evaluation unit. “You don’t want to kick a porcupine because you know there will be consequences.”

The Mark VI is a replacement for the Riverine Command Boat, which gained notoriety three years ago when two of them, along with their crews, were captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard when they strayed into Iranian waters near Farsi Island in the Arabian Gulf.

“This has double, maybe even triple the firepower of the RCB,” Cox said.
Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, the parent command of the Riverines, dispensed training for offensive operations and refocused the Coastal Riverine Force toward port and infrastructure security, high-value unit escort missions, and other such anti-terrorism, force protection missions. It also forced the Riverine crews to get serious about their jobs, Cox said.

“Our missions were in more permissive environments, and a lot of our training was tailored toward that,” he said. “Now we are geared toward non-permissive environments.”

The head of NECC, Rear Adm. Brian Brakke, is taking that new focus and his new Mark VI platform and turning toward the challenge at hand: great power competition.
Story here. 

In my title I asked if they're now glorified Master-At-Arms.  I think that applies more than many Riverines would like to think.  Check this out (again via Wiki).
According to the United States Navy Enlisted Occupational Standards, NAVPERS 18068F, it states that Master-at-Arms provide waterborne and land security, aircraft and flight line security, strategic weapons and cargo security, maritime security and platform protection; conduct customs operations, corrections operations, detainee operations, and protective service operations; perform force protection, physical security and law enforcement; organize and train personnel in force protection, physical security, law enforcement, and weapons proficiency; develop plans for physical security and force protection enhancement of Navy bases, installations, property, and personnel; and assist commands in conducting terrorist threat analysis and implementing defensive measures.
The lipstick is that they're realigning for peer vs peer combat.  The reality is that to play a role in that type of conflict they're going to take on more of the waterborne elements of the Master-At-Arms rating.

I'm pretty stunned.

A force that was once a light weight SWCC and had a legacy going back to Vietnam has been castrated without protest.

They've gone from exercises with the Royal Netherland Marines to now being engaged in force protection, and large ship escort (don't get it twisted those are invaluable roles and the work must be done).  I can't help but wonder how big a role the capture of those two Riverine boats, along with crews led to this outcome.

The pity isn't that these essential mission are being done by Riverines.

As I said.

The work must be done.

The pity is that they didn't allow this unit with a proud history to case their colors and fade into history with the distinction they're worthy of.  Instead the name remains but the mission is now completely different...nothing like the one that was their claim to fame in the past.

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