Saturday, January 12, 2008

Command from the Sea

In September 2007, the German Navy tested a project outlined in "Basis See" - using naval assets as offshore command bases for land forces.

This concept testing project was started in 2005 already, and now culminated in a Exercise with a defined scenario that would be an application of "Basis See":
About 50 military advisors stuck in a erupting civil war zone have to be evacuated, and, as there are no available forward land bases for an operation, the Division of Special Operations will have to perform this operation from the Type 123 frigate Bayern.
The necessary Heer planning and command staff for this operation was airlifted to the frigate, and set up camp aboard with support by the Navy, planning out the evacuation operation.

The primary point of this experiment was to prove the viability of a "forward command post" onboard a existing navy unit. The Type 123 frigates offer enough space for an additional 20 men living and working for this task onboard without limiting the ship's own crew. As this is far below the company-sized regular command setup for such operations, the forward command staff heavily depends on communications with further staff at home. This experiment in September primarily tested the viability of setting up this command post, setting up a Army C3 IT System (F├╝InfoSysH) onboard the ship, and establishing and maintaining communications with command staff at home via HF radio and SHF-Satcom. Planned future experiments in the same direction will extend on maintaining and improving this communications route.

The next test will be in April this year onboard another F123 frigate, Brandenburg. The target is to get a Standard Operations Procedure (SOP) manual ready for actual operations by mid-2008, and introducing "Command from the Sea" as a new capability for the German Navy by then.

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