Riverine Group (RIVGRU) 1 will command the Navy’s expeditionary forces for Bold Alligator 2012 (BA12), the nation’s largest joint forces and multinational amphibious exercise on the East Coast, which began Jan. 30.
RIVGRU-1 is part of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) that deployed to North Carolina as headquarters for the Navy Expeditionary Force (NEF) supporting BA12.
Units from NECC participating include RIVGRU-1, Riverine Squadrons (RIVRON), Maritime Civil Affairs Team (MCAST), Navy Expeditionary Intelligence Command (NEIC), and Expeditionary Training Group (ETG).
“The NEF represents the first live play on the ground and inland waters of North Carolina for Bold Alligator 2012, representing the historic flexibility of maritime services,” said Capt. Christopher Halton, the commodore of RIVGRU-1 and commander of NEF.
The NEF provides command and control necessary to integrate NECC into any Navy operation. BA12 provides NECC the opportunity to further refine partnerships for worldwide Navy support, including joint operations and allied forces, extending global partnerships. In the BA12 scenario, the NEF deploys to assist a fictitious host nation.
“The NEF was the first U.S. force placed at the maritime-ground seam to help the host nation’s security forces improve their capability and capacity,” said Halton. “In addition, the NEF is assisting the host nation with countering insurgent activity, maintaining or developing goodwill in the local populace as well as preparing for the follow-on amphibious landing.”
Expeditionary forces operate on or near coastal and waterway areas to execute the six core capabilities of the Maritime Strategy; forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security and humanitarian assistance/disaster response.
“The NEF is extending the United States’ ‘Blue Water Option’ further into the inland waterways and harbors of nations who request help,” said Halton. “There is no other Navy force that can operate from a ship or ashore with equal ease and with the same operational capability.”
ETG will assist in directing BA12 and evaluate NECC performance to further refine NECC procedures by coordinating synthetic training by utilizing realistic actors and contractors. Expeditionary forces will operate in at least seven different locations throughout the duration of the exercise.
In addition to NECC, units participating in BA12 include the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG), Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), as well as various other ships and units.
BA12 is a live, scenario-driven simulation held off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida from Jan. 30 to Feb. 12. Its purpose is to revitalize Navy and Marine Corps amphibious expeditionary capabilities and to test and strengthen the fundamental roles of amphibious operations by focusing on force readiness and proficiency.
Eight countries will join U.S. forces in the exercise, allowing American service members and coalition partners the opportunity to exercise amphibious operations in a real-world environment.
NECC is a command element and force provider for integrated maritime expeditionary missions, serving as a single functional command for the Navy’s expeditionary forces.
Naval Today Staff , January 31, 2012; Image: navy