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Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress

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Technical Report

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Congressional Research Service Washington United States

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The Navy in recent years has carried out a variety of irregular warfare IW and counterterrorism CT activities. Among the most readily visible of the Navys recent IW operations in recent years have been those carried out by Navy sailors serving ashore in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The May 1-2, 2011, U.S. military operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed Osama bin Laden reportedly was carried out by a team of 23 Navy special operations forces, known as SEALs an acronym standing for Sea, Air, and Land. The SEALs reportedly belonged to an elite unit known unofficially as Seal Team 6 and officially as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group DEVGRU. The Navy established the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command NECC informally in October 2005 and formally in January 2006. NECC consolidated and facilitated the expansion of a number of Navy organizations that have a role in IW operations. The Navy established the Navy Irregular Warfare Office in July 2008, published a vision statement for irregular warfare in January 2010, and established a community of interest to develop and advance ideas, collaboration, and advocacy related to IW in December 2010.The Navys riverine force is intended to supplement the riverine capabilities of the Navys SEALs and relieve Marines who had been conducting maritime security operations in ports and waterways in Iraq. The Global Maritime Partnership is a U.S. Navy initiative to achieve an enhanced degree of cooperation between the U.S. Navy and foreign navies, coast guards, and maritime police forces, for the purpose of ensuring global maritime security against common threats.

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