Author Topic: Navy Will Have to Learn to Fight Terrorists and Pirates:-Admiral Drew Robertson  (Read 22295 times)

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Navy will have to learn to fight terrorists and pirates: admiral

By MURRAY BREWSTER

OTTAWA (CP) - The Canadian navy needs to learn how to fight terrorists and pirates, says the top commander.

As the army has been forced to fight a brutal counter-insurgency war in Afghanistan, Vice-Admiral Drew Robertson says the navy must prepare itself for conflicts where "threats are whatever your imagination can conceive."
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Robertson said an attack on an Israeli warship last year was the wake-up call.
Most of the 80 crew members of the Israeli corvette Ahi-Hanit were having dinner below deck on a sweltering, sleepy Friday evening 14 months ago when - seemingly out of nowhere - a Chinese-designed sea-hugging missile slammed into the warship's helicopter deck.

The explosion and fire killed four sailors, but the shock waves of the surprise attack by Hezbollah could be felt well beyond the waters of Lebanon.
It was the nightmare scenario that had kept commanders in established navies all over the world awake at nights.
"Here we have a group that's not a nation, armed with mach-(speed), sea-skimming missiles," said Robertson.

"A year ago, no one had foreseen the idea that weapons of that kind could have proliferated to a non-state actor."
Sophisticated armaments in the hands of violent militias and even terrorist organizations represent the biggest emerging threat not only to 21st century navies, but to merchant shipping as well, say experts in maritime warfare.

Hezbollah fired three radar-guided shore-to-sea C-802 missiles that day. One exploded just after takeoff, the second struck the Ahi-Hanit and the third exploded and sank a Cambodian-flagged cargo ship. The high-tech weapons, with a range of 120 kilometres, were apparently supplied by Iran.
In case anyone believed the July 14, 2006, missile strike was a fluke, or even a lucky shot in the dark, U.S. intelligence agencies recently reported that the Shiite militia in Lebanon was boasting openly that it had tripled its store of Iranian-built C-802 missiles.

The threat of seaborne terrorism came brutally into focus in October 2000 with the al-Qaida attack on the USS Cole as it sat in berth in the port of Aden, Yemen.
The suicide bombing killed 17 American sailors, but it was carried out with a relatively unsophisticated speed boat packed with explosives.
Rob Huebert, a defence analyst, says Hezbollah's landmark attack heralded a new and more dangerous age of maritime warfare.

"Most of the anti-missile capability our frigates and destroyers have is predicated on shots being taken at them by enemies who are over the horizon. But what happens when you get small vessels within sight - or even disguised?" he said.
"I'm thinking of a scenario where you've got all of these little Iranian speedboats and all of a sudden everyone on cue stands up and lets loose with small, cheap missiles. Can you overwhelm the system with numbers?"

Huebert said defence planners will have to pay more attention to so-called close-in weapons systems.
"It's going to be challenging to meet that kind of threat," said Huebert, a University of Calgary conflict studies professor.
Robertson said that from a planning point of view the navy can do that by setting to sea with the "right mixture of surface ships and submarines."

Beyond the hardware, said Dan Middlemiss of Nova Scotia's Dalhousie University, improvements in naval intelligence will be needed.
"You work with your allies to know where this stuff is and where it's going."
There is already a strong network to track weapons of mass destruction, but Middlemiss said NATO and other Western allies may need to extend those intelligence-gathering efforts to "lesser weapons."

In the Ahi-Hanit incident, Israeli commanders blamed the crew for not being vigilant. But there were also lingering questions about why the country's extensive and high-tech intelligence network didn't pick up the existence of the missiles beforehand.
Just as pressing a concern is a perceived increase in high-seas piracy, especially in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
A series of well-timed precise attacks on container ships in crowded shipping lanes could lead to economic chaos in countries, such as Canada, that depend on maritime trade.

A month ago pirates seized a vessel chartered by the United Nations World Food Program in waters off eastern Africa.
"Piracy is enabled by the current state of the government in Somalia," said Robertson. "You've got pirates operating in a relatively unsophisticated manner in those calm waters of the tropics (and) they've been able to have quite an effect."
He said NATO recognized the menace a few years ago and recently dispatched a multinational task force to cruise the waters off the Horn of Africa, the first time the ships of the North Atlantic alliance have ventured there as a group.

Halifax-based HMCS Toronto is part of that fleet.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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This is a very odd statement. In the Post-911 world I can't believe that our Navy aren't already prepared to/ engaged in fighting terrorists etc. The Vancouver Olympics is only a couple of years away, so I certainly hope so!

Can someone enlighten us on this without blowing OpSec?
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Offline dapaterson

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Old habits die hard.  The Army's experience in the FY republics and now in Afghanistan is forcing certain changes in mindset.  The Navy is only now coming to grips with what changes will mean to them; and the fighter jocks in the Air Force are still itching for a high-tech enemy they can go mano a mano with, with full afterburners.  I'm not sure what it will take to change the Air Force's air superiority mindset.
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Offline kratz

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Some of the issues are cost and image related.

The extra manpower and inconveniance at gates and on the water.  How dare you stop me? or why pay the extra hours if the threat is low?

With extra manpower, comes additional operational costs that deplete the current budget strain. If the patrol boats, weapons, or Tac vests are used more, there is more wear and tear on them. This all sounds like nickle and dime stuff, but it is factored into the choices made.

All these costs have to accounted for. The general public see this defense standing around. They do not hear of the success stories. So questions are asked and answers are worked on.

It's a work of defense in progess.
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Old habits die hard.  The Army's experience in the FY republics and now in Afghanistan is forcing certain changes in mindset.  The Navy is only now coming to grips with what changes will mean to them; and the fighter jocks in the Air Force are still itching for a high-tech enemy they can go mano a mano with, with full afterburners.  I'm not sure what it will take to change the Air Force's air superiority mindset.


Many have tried, none has ever succeeded...even amongst those "on the inside of Big Blue."

G2G

Offline daftandbarmy

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O----MI----GOD (finding a happy place now)

I hope that those with the common sense in the Air Force and Navy can be supported by the Army to overthrow the internal forces of darkness! 
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Dealing with pirates is nothing new for the Navy, I know that when I sailed through high piracy zones, there is a certain state of readiness that was stood up to deal with the pirate threat....

Now may this pirate thing is something new for the east coast hence the news article.......    But most ships destined for the gulf from Esquimalt do sail through high piracy areas.

Besides most pirates have one leg and one eye, how dangerous can they be.... Although I have heard that if you piss the parrot off you could have your hands full.

Offline Thucydides

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I suspect the real thrust of the article was more for a change in mindset away from "big honking ships" so something more appropriate for dealing with unconventional threats.

The Res Publica Roma had built a powerful fleet of quinqueremes to deal with rival naval powers, but after the defeat of serious rivals and the conversion of the Mediterranean to Mare Nostrum, ("Our Sea"), the large ships were found to be no longer useful against the pirates who were the main threat to Roman shipping and coastal towns, so by Imperial times the fleet evolved around a smaller warship known as liburnae, well suited for chasing down pirates.

The Royal Navy underwent a similar evolution millennia later, the great "Line of Battle" ships which were so useful during the Napoleonic wars became irrelevant when the Royal Navy began it's decades long mission to suppress the slave trade from Africa or to root out the pirates who infested the Carribean. Frigates were the largest ship with any practical value in these missions, and often smaller ships were used with great success.

Even in the age of steam, the great Dreadnaughts were carefully husbanded in their ports ("break glass in case of Armageddon"), while the most successful ship that I can think of was the light cruiser SMS Emden; a German commerce raider which operated in the Indian Ocean, capturing 30 merchantmen and tying up dozens of Allied warships of various classes while on her cruise in 1914.

The US Navy is moving towards a more balanced composition of "Blue" and "Brown" water ships, with the small Littoral combat ship to deal with these sorts of threats. While the specific model of the Littoral combat ship might not be appropriate for the Canadian Navy, it seems something along those lines may be needed in the future, to better carry out the sorts of anti terrorism missions the navy does now and for Piracy suppression missions in the future.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Ship types aside, you would expect naval intelligence capabilities to be fully up to speed on the COIN/ CT side. This guy doesn't seem to think so, and good for him for speaking out about it. If the navy hasn't got their intelligence act 'ship shape' by 2010 in Vancouver, especially within the realm of CANADACOM, we're in the hurt locker.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline mountainliving

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Pirates are a new threat? Could this be a new role for the Coast Guard or RCMP?
 
What in particular is irrelevant about our navy?

A brown water navy? What does this mean in term of weapons/sensors?

If our admiral is thinking long and hard about pirates, how about the 50 cal?

How about Afghanistan. Who was providing ground support in the early part of the war. Who was launching cruise missiles?

Here is suggestion for our navy: cruise missiles

Oh yes, the last time I checked, the Olympics will be taking place on Terra ferma so why are so many naval officers worrying about it?

« Last Edit: September 17, 2007, 01:27:29 by leftcoaster »

Offline dapaterson

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On the subject of pirates:

Please remember that this Wednesday is International Talk Like A Pirate Day

http://www.talklikeapirate.com/

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Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Here is suggestion for our navy: cruise missiles

Oh yes, the last time I checked, the Olympics will be taking place on Terra ferma so why are so many naval officers worrying about it?


Suggestion for our Navy: PT

Because Vancouver is a port city, some in the Navy think they will be an integral part of the security force, not to mention its also the 100 year party for our sailors.......   

Offline Greymatters

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Because Vancouver is a port city, some in the Navy think they will be an integral part of the security force, not to mention its also the 100 year party for our sailors.......   

Certainly 'part' but I wouldnt put any money on 'integral'...

Offline cobbler

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This is a very odd statement. In the Post-911 world I can't believe that our Navy aren't already prepared to/ engaged in fighting terrorists etc. The Vancouver Olympics is only a couple of years away, so I certainly hope so!

Can someone enlighten us on this without blowing OpSec?

I doubt he has made this comment to tell the navy anything new.

I'd say its got more to do with putting the issue out there for the public to realise. So that nobody thinks the Navy is useless in todays environment.

Offline geo

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Quote
A year ago, no one had foreseen the idea that weapons of that kind could have proliferated to a non-state actor."
Sophisticated armaments in the hands of violent militias and even terrorist organizations represent the biggest emerging threat not only to 21st century navies, but to merchant shipping as well, say experts in maritime warfare

Huh?  the PLO has the fancy stuff years ago - Tamil Tigers, Hezbolah, the various african freedom fighters has some as well - often with Soviet/Cuban  advisors....

We have been sending our ships into the Indian ocean, the Persian gulf, etc ... and they have always been looking out for pirates of any size 24/7.  If a small boat comes into sight, they've been keenly alert - what's all this bumph about then?
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Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Because Vancouver is a port city, some in the Navy think they will be an integral part of the security force, not to mention its also the 100 year party for our sailors.......   

Only an idiot would not see what kind of resources the Navy can bring to the table....
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
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Offline Bruce Monkhouse

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Only an idiot would not see what kind of resources the Navy can bring to the table....

...or maybe someone like me, whom the closest I ever got to a ship/Navy person was on the one tied up at Ontario Place years ago.

Easy there big fellow..........
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Offline mountainliving

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Only an idiot would not see what kind of resources the Navy can bring to the table....

You're talking about the important resources we used after 911?

Offline NavyShooter

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Don't forget the GTS Katie.....the guys in the jumpsuits hopping down from the Sea King were not the "black ski-mask" people.  They were a NBP from a ship.

Also, when discussing what we bring to the picture, don't forget the beer. 

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Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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No doubt!  In terms of security there is plenty to offer, especially since most of our Army brothers will still be in Afghanistan.

Offline Shad4now

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Pirates are a new threat? Could this be a new role for the Coast Guard or RCMP?
 
Oh yes, the last time I checked, the Olympics will be taking place on Terra ferma so why are so many naval officers worrying about it?



The Canadian Navy has no juristiction within local waters, if the priates are in Canadian waters, it would have to be a Coast Guard issue.  Though the Coast Guard vessels don't have mounted weapons... the navy would be assisting the coast guard.

The venues for the Olympics are very close to water, port security would play a big part in the event.

Offline N. McKay

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The Canadian Navy has no juristiction within local waters, if the priates are in Canadian waters, it would have to be a Coast Guard issue.

I'm curious as to what makes you think that?  The Coast Guard doesn't have maritime security of that sort as part of its mandate, nor is there any restriction (to the best of my knowledge) against the navy taking action in Canadian territorial waters.  (In fact, port security is among the Naval Reserve's roles.)

What you're saying sounds as though it could be the case in the US, however.

Offline Ex-Dragoon

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The Canadian Navy has no juristiction within local waters, if the priates are in Canadian waters, it would have to be a Coast Guard issue.  Though the Coast Guard vessels don't have mounted weapons... the navy would be assisting the coast guard.

The venues for the Olympics are very close to water, port security would play a big part in the event.

I beg to differ. The Navy has been involved in many ops in Local Waters, from anti drugs to soverignity to getting back vehicles from the GTS Katie. Not all those Ops had CCG or RCMP involvement. I guarantee if we started to get pirates in Cdn Waters (Yeah I know as ludicrous as it sounds) the Navy would be involved. I would like to see where it says that the navy has no jurisdiction in local waters....please tell me the publication.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 19:38:48 by Ex-Dragoon »
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
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I beg to differ. The Navy has been involved in many ops in Local Waters, from anti drugs to soverignity to getting back vehicles from the GTS Katie. Not all those Ops had CCG or RCMP involvement. I guarantee if we started to get oirates in Cdn Waters (Yeah I know as ludicrous as it sounds) the Navy would be involved. I would like to see where it says that the navy has no jurisdiction in local waters....please tell me the publication.

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Offline Shad4now

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I beg to differ. The Navy has been involved in many ops in Local Waters, from anti drugs to soverignity to getting back vehicles from the GTS Katie. Not all those Ops had CCG or RCMP involvement. I guarantee if we started to get pirates in Cdn Waters (Yeah I know as ludicrous as it sounds) the Navy would be involved. I would like to see where it says that the navy has no jurisdiction in local waters....please tell me the publication.

GTS Katie was boarded in International Waters http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2000/08/10/katie000910.html
I can not find the pub that states the CF Juristiction within Canadian Territorical Waters, but in this article it shows that no one really has juristiction over our coasts http://www.sfu.ca/casr/ft-senate2.htm . Also in the NDA, CFAO, QR&O, they all expressly state the situations in which the CF would provide Aid to Civil Powers, and that the CF would not replace the civil power. Only under those situations would the CF have Civil Power (juristiction).

Also, as CF members, we can't just go around enforcing laws. We can't arrest someone for breaking the law, or give someone a parking ticket.  Even while under port security, we can only operation within a certain area, even in that area we have very limited power. Only during emergencies when we are designated as Peace Officers would we have Civil Power (ex. to detain someone...) (of course MPs follow a different set of rules)