The Navy for several years has carried out
a variety of irregular warfare (IW) and counterterrorism (CT) activities.
Among the most readily visible of the Navy’s recent IW operations have
been those carried out by Navy sailors serving ashore in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many
of the Navy’s contributions to IW operations around the world are made by Navy individual
augmentees (IAs)—individual Navy sailors assigned to various DOD operations.
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 Navy’s riverine force is intended to supplement the riverine capabilities
of the Navy’s 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.
The Southern Partnership Station (SPS) and the Africa Partnership Station (APS)
are Navy ships, such as amphibious ships or high-speed sealift ships, that
have deployed to the Caribbean and to waters off Africa, respectively, to
support U.S. Navy engagement with countries in those regions, particularly
for purposes of building security partnerships with those countries and for
increasing the capabilities of those countries for performing
The Navy’s IW and CT activities pose a number of potential oversight issues for
Congress, including the definition of Navy IW activities and how much
emphasis to place on IW and CT activities in future Navy budgets.
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