Sunday, July 11, 2010


This reply was sent to the post below about Navy and Marine deployment to Costa Rica. Thanks, Anonymous, for the info. Assuming your numbers are correct, the plot has thickened.

"Anonymous said...
The Navy 4th Fleet in Mayport, Florida oversees operations in the Carribbean and South America. They currently command 21 ships, so I am curious as to what other Fleet is suporting this operation. The Navy has approximately 288 ships is service currently and they usually have about 125 deployed at any time. 46 to a relatively safe "tourist" area seems like a huge number considering we are already have a significance presence in the middle east. The surge to Afganistan approved 35,000 additional troops, so 7000 Marines is a little under 1/4 of that amount. The other big question is why Marines? This deployment doesn't seem in alignment with their "mission"."

What's going on in Costa Rica? Why would the Navy double its presence in Central America and the Gulf region? And as Anonymous asked, why the Marines? And, if the Navy normally only has 125 ships deployed at any given time that means almost 40% of the ships available are being stationed in Costa Rica.

And why the Marines? Their mission statement, at least for the command attached to SOUTHCOM, can be found here. It includes, among other things, "...anti-terrorism; and peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. We build security forces to detect, deter, and defend critical infrastructure and assets." Are they being staged in preparation for some sort of disaster relief in the Gulf? Short of their traditional use as a invasion force I don't know of any other reason for them to be there. Maybe they are going to be used against the drug cartels; building some sort of intel infrastructure or training local military. That doesn't seem like it would take 7000 troops to accomplish, though. As a matter of fact, it seems that the last thing we'd want is a huge presence if that were the mission. And we sure wouldn't need damned near half the Navy to accomplish it.

So the question remains; why Costa Rica?

These stats below come from I don't know how reliable the are but they certainly seem to back up the numbers given by Anonymous above:

Deployable Battle Force Ships: 283
Ships Underway (away from homeport): 124 ships (44% of total)
On deployment: 104 ships (37% of total)
Attack submarines underway (away from homeport): 30 submarines (55%)
On deployment: 20 submarines (37%) Ships Underway
Carriers: USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) - Atlantic Ocean USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) - 5th Fleet USS George Washington (CVN 73) - Pacific Ocean USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) - Pacific Ocean
Amphibious Warfare Ships: USS Bataan (LHD 5) - Atlantic Ocean USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) - Pacific Ocean USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) - 5th Fleet
Aircraft (operational): 3700+

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