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U.S. Military Unable to Conduct Amphibious Operations in Pacific

A Marines Osprey lands aboard the USS Somerset in view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge
A Marines Osprey lands aboard the USS Somerset in view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge / AP
• March 26, 2014 10:19 am

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The Navy and Marines do not have the necessary assets to carry out an operation in the Pacific, the top commander of U.S. forces in the region said Tuesday.

The remarks come as disputes surrounding the Senkaku Islands grow in Japan and China.

Stars and Stripes reports:

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, Marine Corps leaders want the service to return to its roots of being a force that can attack enemies from the sea, as the Marines did frequently during World War II. But Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the capability does not presently exist in his area of responsibility.

"The reality is, is that to get Marines around effectively, they require all types of lift. They require the big amphibious ships, but they also require connectors (meaning landing craft landing craft and other amphibious vehicles)," Locklear said. "The lift is the enabler that makes that happen, so we wouldn’t be able to [successfully carry out a contested amphibious assault without additional resources]."

There are four amphibious ready groups in San Diego and one in Sasebo, Japan. Locklear said he has requested additional amphibious lift capabilities from the Pentagon, and that request is under consideration, he told members of Congress.

Locklear partly blamed global force requirements for the problem.

He told lawmakers he sometimes must send amphibious forces that he has trained and maintained to commanders in the Middle East and Europe. Going forward, he believes that the Pacific should be given highest priority when it comes to amphibious capabilities.

Published under: Marines, Military, Navy