Foreign Flag Shipping: A Weakness in the Sealift Trident
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Operational logistics provides the foundation for every surge and sustainment capabilities for all military operations. The sealift portion of logistics is the most cost effective and most utilized means to transport our military cargo to an operational area. Therefore, our militarys responsiveness and sustainment is imperative on having a strong and reliant sealift capability. With the steady decline of the United States flagged Merchant Marine and the need to maintain a strong and reliant sealift capability, the United States military has been required to rely on foreign flag shipping to fully meet their sealift requirements. This reliance on foreign flag shipping introduces multiple inherent risks that could interrupt the flow of personnel and materials into a theater of operations. This has the potential to significantly impact the ability to surge and sustain forces, which could result in the constraint of strategic, operational, and tactical options available to the operational commander. This paper discusses these inherent risks to the geographic combatant commanders and TRANSCOM, the functional combatant commander, while also demonstrating the need to address these risks. Finally, the paper will draw a conclusion concerning these inherent risks and recommend updating doctrines and plans so that they incorporate todays reliance on foreign flag shipping allowing the United States military to continue having the freedom of action necessary for an operational commander to respond to any conflict worldwide that threatens United States national security.
- Marine Engineering
- Military Forces and Organizations