By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Kathryn Whittenberger,
Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Public Affair
NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Special Warfare Group 4 (NSWG-4), U.S.
Special Operations Command's (SOCOM) maritime surface mobility
component, faces an interesting task in a time when focus is almost
completely concentrated on a ground war: how to stay relevant now
and engaged ten years in the future.
"Ground operations are the primary diplomatic and military priority
right now," said Capt. Chuck Wolf, commander of NSWG-4. "While
attention is focused on the Middle East, problems continue to grow
in coastal areas, leading to greater regional instabilities."
Wolf's mission is to organize, train and equip assigned Naval
Special Warfare (NSW) personnel as needed, conduct security force
assistance to build foreign security force small craft capability
and capacity, and deploy NSW task force/group level staffs as
required. This is a tall order with an aging combatant craft fleet
and an increasing demand signal.
One of his priorities is building partnerships between numerous
groups such as Coast Guard, special operations forces and the
surface fleet. This synergy of effort will lead to similar tactics,
techniques and procedures being common throughout all of the DoD and
eventually Wolf hopes it will spread through partner nations as
"Working together, a basic coxswain here will be able to work with
someone who's been trained to the same standards, enabling a more
collaborative effort in the littoral battlespace," said Wolf, who
has four subordinate commands.
Three special boat teams are spread on the East, West and Gulf
Coast. Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS)
transitioned to fall under NSWG-4 in February. Its mission is to
provide partner nation security forces with the highest level of
riverine and coastal craft operations and maintenance technical
"Both the in-resident courses at my schoolhouse and our mobile
training teams manned by Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC)
from there and the Special Boat Teams continue to build upon
existing relationships to further partnerships," Wolf added.
Training isn't the only place Wolf wants to find ways to work
together. This combination of effort is necessary in combatant craft
design as well.
In 1988, SOCOM approved a vision for a family of vessels, and NSW
embarked upon one of the most aggressive combatant craft development
and procurement programs in recent history. This program was
effective; in 2000, SOCOM and the U.S. Navy achieved global
preeminence in modern maritime interoperability. Today, more than 15
countries have, or will soon, exceed U.S. combatant craft
capabilities, according to Wolf.
While speaking at the recent Multi-Agency Craft Conference aboard
Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., June 17, Wolf briefed his
vision of combatant craft development.
"We have to make a standard process out of non-standard
partnerships," he said.
For instance, a SWCC detachment is aboard the DoD's high-speed
experimental boat Stiletto, currently supporting U.S. and
multinational counter-illicit trafficking operations and conducting
operational testing. The 88-foot long, 60-ton Stiletto will deploy
to the Caribbean basin through the summer under the operational
control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet and
tactical control of Joint Interagency Task Force-South. Stiletto is
manned by a joint U.S. Army and Navy crew and includes an embarked
U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment.
Wolf said working together in new ways allows NSWG-4 to meet demand,
as well as focus on procuring a new family of craft, all designed to
meet baseline requirements of speed, range and payload, as well as
improved communications while operating. Other specifications
include improved strike capability, the ability to launch and
recover unmanned aerial systems, higher performance propulsion, an
integrated bridge system, improved ride quality, virtual training
capabilities, low observable attributes and improved intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance capability.
"NSWG-4 can support the range of operations from pre-hostility
capacity building to post-war resolution. We continue to evolve to
maintain maritime dominance, and the new family of craft will ensure
we can continue to perform any mission asked of us," said Wolf.
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