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NECF Protects the Fleet, Joint, and Combined Forces Across the Continuum of Great Power Competition, Crisis, and Conflict
by NECC Public Affairs
12 May 2021
SAN DIEGO, Ca. (Feb. 16, 2021) --
Navy warships and auxiliary support vessels are inherently more vulnerable when moored or transiting into and out of ports and harbors than while transiting at sea. The Navy Expeditionary Combat Force (NECF), including the Maritime Expeditionary Security Force (MESF), Intelligence Exploitation Teams (IET), Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), and the Naval Construction Force (NCF), protects the Fleet when they are in those vulnerable positions ensuring Integrated American Naval Power can keep the fight forward.
As a part of NECF, MESF satisfies the Fleet and Joint Force needs for increased security both afloat and ashore. In this era of Great Power Competition (GPC), Navy MESF dominates in the littorals and reinforces maritime lethality by performing Harbor Defense, Port Security, High Value Unit (HVU) escort, and Aircraft Security and Embarked Security Team operations. Prior to GPC, MESF was known as the Coastal Riverine Force and comprised a substantial part of the ‘brown-water navy’ during the Vietnam War and again during the Global War on Terror. Riverine squadrons deployed to Iraq between 2007 and 2012 to provide both offensive firepower and defensive force protection. Today, MESF is more responsive and capable in its PROTECT role and has continued to meet the changing demands of the global operating environment in an era of GPC.
While providing protection in primarily OCONUS locations, MESF also conducts CONUS HVU escorts into and out of ports on both coasts. Ashore, MESF provides Entry Control Point Security Teams in hostile environments and consistently performs operations that PROTECT Fleet and Joint Forces while conducting operations, precisely at the point where critical assets are most vulnerable. Working with Navy IETs, MESF also operates flexible, maritime platforms providing enhanced battlespace awareness as well as threat indications and warnings (I&W) monitoring. Through both visual observation and niche expeditionary collection operations, MESF and IETs further enhance protection for Fleet, Joint, and Combined Forces.
Working with MESF, a key component of NECF’s PROTECT capability is the NCF (or Seabees). NCF reinforces fleet protection from the shore, providing infrastructure to support both landward and seaward force protection. The NCF improves survivability of naval forces, communications networks and logistics nodes through hardened infrastructure, enhances resiliency, and provides rapid recovery of required infrastructure in support of critical operations. This includes the construction of specific force protection infrastructure such as ECPs, secure perimeter and security posts, bunkers, and counter-mobility/force protection barriers, as well as the development and repair of sea, air and ground lines of communication necessary to sustain the fleet and enable fleet operational availability, maneuver, and lethality.
Since its inception during World War II, through Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and other conflicts, NCF has consistently built the infrastructure necessary to support the survivability of naval forces and networks and provided organic self-protection in threat environments spanning the range of military operations. Seabees are capable of executing assigned engineering missions in hostile environments and are equipped with the weapon systems and tactics necessary to provide limited area security, ECP and ground transportation operations in support of organic force protection requirements or as part of a larger, integrated force protection plan. While, this remains fundamentally unchanged, the Seabees have consistently adapted tactics, techniques and procedures to operate in a variety of threat and operational environments. As the focus on irregular warfare has diminished, NCF has continued to transform its role to match the shift in focus to GPC.
Working with both MESF and NCF, NECF’s EOD teams provide enhanced protection for Navy, Joint, and Combined forces throughout the littorals and in the blue water. EOD provides the critical capability to clear explosive hazards both afloat and ashore, thereby providing access to denied areas and securing the undersea domain for freedom of maneuver.
The recently released 2021 Chief of Naval Operations Navigation Plan stresses the need for a flexible force that competes and wins in a contested sea domain at the time and place of the U.S. Navy’s or Joint Force’s choosing. NECF answers that call with flexible and scalable units that can clear, secure, build, and protect to enable execution of the 9 Rs for Maritime Logistics: rearm/reload, refuel, resupply, repair, revive, reman, rebuild, and recover.
Protection provided by NECF enables Fleet, Joint, and Combined operations across the competition continuum, specifically in contested maritime environments. MESF, IETs, NCF, and EOD have consistently answered the call to PROTECT Fleet, Joint, and Combined Forces while conducting operations worldwide, consistently increasing our nation’s ability to dominate in the littorals and reinforce distributed maritime operations lethality.
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