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Why Won’t the Navy Fight?

August 11, 2008

Last week Galrahn reported on a U.S. Navy amphibious ship, the USS Peleliu fighting off a Somali pirate attack with its helicopters. This comment on the action struck me:

The Royal Navy didn’t stomp out piracy in the 19th century by scaring pirates to death.

Then today Strategypage has a analysis on the same subject which echoes these sentiments:

For the last three years, an international naval patrol, CTF 150 (Combined Task Force 150, operating out of Djibouti) has patrolled the entire 3,000 kilometer long coast. But with only about fifteen ships (from half a dozen nations), the CTF 150 has been  able to slow down the pirates, but not stop them. The USS Peleliu is not part of the patrol, but was just passing through the area. Fortunately,  the 39,000 ship normally carries about 30 helicopters, six Harrier jets, and a battalion of marines, so it had the means to deal with pirates.

Moreover, unless this coastal patrol force was willing to send troops ashore to kill or arrest the pirates in the land bases, the pirates will keep playing hide-and-seek with the naval patrols, and continue to attack ships and get away with it.

The USN leadership dallies on introducing littoral ships, they totally ignore the capabilities of small attack craft despite having tested some excellent designs. They ignore the threat from small craft even after the humiliating attack on USS Cole in 2000 as well as the even greater shame of the Royal Navy whose sailors were taken hostage by Iran in full view of Western battleships. While we’ve no doubt Western navies are well trained and have the world’s best ships, what good are our magnificent and world-spanning fleets (to coin a phrase) if the Navy won’t fight?

Related News
Report: German Hostages Freed in Somalia – Deutsche Welle
US Navy foils pirate attack on ship – Cargonews Asia
Pirates ‘putting lives at risk’ – The Press Association

Yahoo Answers
Piracy is Up Near Somalia. Will Pirates Likely Capture a US Aircraft Carrier if Hillary Becomes President?
Why not fight the pirates in Somalia and not just the Militants.?
What will John McCain to stop the Somali Pirates in the middle east?
Where can I get a good crew and a surplus ship to hunt pirates?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. charbookguy permalink
    August 11, 2008 2:09 pm

    The Army has no problem fighting the nation’s foes. Are we headed for a single service, with the ground forces in charge of their own air and naval support (this is already happening)? Why buy these multi-billion dollar battleships and fighters if we never use them. Use them or lose them, I say!

  2. DesScorp permalink
    August 11, 2008 1:38 pm

    Why won’t the Navy fight? You already mentioned the reason. We’d have to send troops ashore to actually stop them. We still have bad memories from Somalia, and no one in Washington is eager to go into the area again.

    Gotta echo you on sending in small boat teams to fight them. This problem is only going to grow if Western countries don’t get in the fight, for real.


  1. Small Ships Needed to Counter Emerging Threats « New Wars

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