This blog was written by Capt. Rudy Laco, Chief of Staff, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command
Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) celebrated its fourth anniversary in January. As the type command for expeditionary forces, we have grown beyond infancy to become a dynamic force of men and women – our platform and basis for mission success – who have been tested and proven as strong team members in the warfighting arena. NECC commands are contributing in the global environment every day, serving as a full-spectrum enduring expeditionary force providing capability across the full range of military operations. Let me tell you how.
NECC’s more than 30,000 active and reserve Sailors link the land and maritime domains, extending the Navy’s influence from blue to green to brown water in direct support of all six phases of Joint operations.
As we prepare ourselves for future warfighting environments, we have rich historical roots that demonstrate our country’s need for enduring of expeditionary forces. Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Seabees trace their history to WWII. Re-established in 2006, the Riverines have a strong heritage that includes Vietnam. These units provide capabilities necessary for executing the Maritime Strategy today and the years to come.
The Riverine force is in Iraq performing missions including point defense, fire support and interdiction operations along inland water ways to defeat enemies and support U.S. Marines and coalition forces.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal units are currently conducting counter-improvised explosive device missions in Afghanistan and Iraq and are deployed globally supporting expeditionary and carrier strike groups. Additionally, EOD’s Mobile Diving and Salvage Units provide salvage and ship battle damage repair as well force protection dive support.
Our Naval Construction Force Seabees are globally deployed providing combat support to combatant commanders in peaceful areas and war zones alike through construction projects for joint commanders. They are doctrinally tied to the U.S. Marine Corps at the 5th element of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. Seabees also have the ability to defend themselves, making them true joint enablers.
These three examples of historic-to-current capabilities provided by NECC forces don’t completely define us. The irregular warfare vision recognizes the value of persistent, purposeful presence worldwide. NECC additionally has maritime civil affairs, and expeditionary intelligence and maritime security forces executing combat support missions.
The focus of our Navy reaches beyond traditional blue water operations to the areas along the littorals, where NECC has worked to strengthen maritime surveillance and security near coasts, harbors and straits with the dedication of the men and women from Maritime Expeditionary Security units. These Active and Reserve Component Sailors provide Anti-Terrorist and Force Protection capabilities ashore and afloat ensuring that the global maritime environment is secure and open for commerce.
Navy Expeditionary Intelligence Command Sailors are meeting irregular challenges through a broad array of multi-mission capabilities. This command delivers flexible, capable and ready maritime intelligence forces that respond rapidly to evolving irregular warfare intelligence requirements worldwide. NEIC Sailors are able to aggressively exploit targets to generate operations – and then to exploit the targets just taken down to generate the next target and the next. This capability has brought a phenomenal return on investment, especially since NEIC is less than one percent of the NECC force. Human Intelligence Teams are priceless capabilities that augment our forces. When they attach to NECC units during deployments, they provide intelligence that saves lives.
While winning the battle is important, combat unit rely on combat service support. Sailors from Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group deliver expeditionary logistics capabilities to combatant commanders that are critical for peacekeeping, crisis response, humanitarian and combat service support missions. NAVELSG also provides the only break-bulk cargo capability in the Department of Defense — critical in less developed ports. Made up primarily of Reserve Sailors, NAVELSG deploys active and reserve members at a moment’s notice to execute missions around the globe.
Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Force Assistance Sailors are using diplomacy to build trust and confidence among nations with mutual interests and common security concerns. They reach out and facilitate interaction among nations with common interests. Their work is vitally important in building relationships overseas to prevent war and increasing understanding between the U.S. Navy and the global civil population. Maritime civil affairs is an enabling force that works directly with civil authorities and the civilian populations to lessen the impact of military operations imposed during peace time, contingency operations and periods of declared war.
NECC’s forces provide a continuum of capability through the six phases of joint operations from combat through partnership, and capacity and capability building. The maritime strategy specifically calls for “Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, teamed in various combinations of security forces, mobile training teams, construction battalions, health services, law enforcement, and civil affairs units to conduct security cooperation and humanitarian assistance missions, illustrate adaptive force packaging.”