Biden’s Gaza Floating Port Plan Generating Concern Among Military Professionals

2024-03-11 17:30:50

During President Biden’s State of the Union address, the President stated that he was directing the military to set up a temporary pier in Gaza that would enable supply of humanitarian aid the the Palestinians. We had predicted that he would say that: Biden to Announce Plans to Build Port in Gaza for Humanitarian Aid Shipments:

President Joe Biden will announce during his State of the Union address plans to build a port on Gaza’s coast to help with humanitarian aid.

From the AP:

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcement, said the operation will not require that American troops be on the ground to build the pier that is intended to allow more shipments of food, medicine and other essential items.

Apparently, the building has already started:

Details: Aid will arrive at the temporary port via Cyprus, U.S. officials said in a briefing with reporters ahead of the State of the Union.

  • The U.S. military will establish a temporary pier in the sea off the Gaza coast with a causeway that will allow trucks to bring aid to shore. National Security Council chief of staff Curtis Ried will head up the effort from the U.S. side.
  • U.S. soldiers will take part in the construction, but from U.S. Navy vessels offshore. “The current plan doesn’t include any U.S. boots on the ground in Gaza,” a senior U.S. official said.

We were not impressed when the news of this plan were released:

And we weren’t the only ones:

And now, guru of all things military but especially sea-borne, Commander Salamander, has weighed in, and it’s not pretty:

So, a Pier for Hamas it is…you’re paying for it – you might as well get briefed on it:

A lot of people spent the weekend scratching their heads over this;

The U.S. military will build a temporary port on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast to receive humanitarian aid by sea, President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union speech on Thursday.

Planning for the operation, initially based on the island of Cyprus, does not envision deployment of U.S. military personnel in Gaza.

Biden’s announcement came as he seeks to cool anger among many in his Democratic Party over his support for Israel in its offensive in Gaza since Oct. 7, given the steep toll on civilians in the Palestinian enclave.

Ships are already underway;

The U.S. Army has dispatched a ship to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Sunday, days after President Joe Biden vowed to build a temporary pier to supply the besieged enclave.

The General Frank S. Besson left Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia “less than 36 hours after President Biden announced the U.S. would provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza by sea,” CENTCOM said in a statement.

It will take a few weeks to make the transit from Virginia to the eastern Mediterranean. The 37-year old Besson can’t even break 12-knots fully loaded.

…and yes my friends – the Army has its own navy.

CENTCOM’s X post on the Besson’s deployment:

Back to Salamander:

Yep’r, that 243 foot, 4,200 ton ship is commanded by … a Warrant Officer. Discuss amongst yourselves….

This will take about 1,000 personnel to accomplish. I don’t know a single maritime professional who thinks this is a good idea given the location and conditions ashore, but orders are orders. Make the best attempt you can.

An interesting note; this is not a Navy operation, but an Army operation….

As for my general thought on doing this? I’ll avoid the politics as much as I can, but I have concerns.

Generally speaking, no operation starts out on the right foot with a lie.

“We’re not planning for this to be an operation that would require U.S. boots on the ground,” said a senior administration official.

I’m not mad at the official. They are just making sure their statement is in line with higher direction and guidance. President Biden was clear in his SOTU speech;

The United States has been leading international efforts to get more humanitarian assistance into Gaza. Tonight, I’m directing the U.S. military to lead an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier in the Mediterranean on the coast of Gaza that can receive large shipments carrying food, water, medicine, and temporary shelters.

No U.S. boots will be on the ground.

You cannot build a pier, even JLOTS [Joint Logistics Over the Shore], without putting boots on the ground

Did no one brief the President or those who approved the speech…?

I feel real sorry for the Operational Planners.

  1. In an area thick with poorly controlled hostile forces with everything from snipers to ATGM [anti-tank guided missiles], how do you work this force protection problem?
  2. What are your ROE [Rules of Engagement] if you take fire? What if you are confronted with a wave of people wanting refuge on the ship? What if ship’s company goes missing ashore?
  3. This is at the far end of the Mediterranean…in spring. Storm season is past, so hopefully the weather will cooperate.

I almost made this post about what a bad idea this was, but the die is cast and all we can do now is trust that those tasked with planning will do the best they can with what they’ve been provided, and those who have to execute the mission are both good and lucky. Such activities, from Lebanon to Libya, do not turn out all that well in this part of the world. A lot can and will happen in the weeks it will take to get there, so perhaps fate will help.

[emphasis added]

This situation is especially worrying given that the Biden Administration has quietly sent home the U.S. Marine Amphibious Ready Group that had been deployed to the area:

While the plan is still coming together, it appears that in the short term, it won’t involve Navy ships that specialize in humanitarian relief missions.

Three amphibious ships with hundreds of Marines aboard left the Mediterranean this week to head home, wrapping up an extended eight-month deployment that cut across the Persian Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean.

The ships of the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group will not immediately be replaced in the Middle East due to a litany of mechanical issues suffered by the USS Boxer, which is still preparing for a future deployment in San Diego despite earlier plans to go to sea in November.

While the Boxer’s sailors and Marines are trained to perform humanitarian missions, they remain in the U.S. “because the Marines couldn’t get a ride,” a Defense Department official said.

Others are unimpressed in the extreme with Biden’s Gaza pier idea:

Even the Palestinian side is critical:



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