I wouldn’t know if I would call them lessons, so much as reminders.

There are a few interesting developments WRT Haiti that are sure to come up in the QDR Wars, here are a few at a quick glance.

The capabilities that are needed in Haiti are capabilities that are useful any time you need to get large numbers of forces and material ashore in a semi-permissive or non-permissive environment. As reported by NPR this morning – most of the forces promised late last week have yet to arrive – the major reason being the limited ability of the airport (primary APOD), and the condition of the PaP port facilities (primary SPOD).

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that up to 10,000 U.S. forces will be in Haiti and off its coast by today, but only a fraction of them will be on the ground.

The troops have been slow in arriving. Military officials blame the delay in part on Port-au-Prince’s small, overburdened airport. “It’s a huge traffic issue,” said Capt. John Kirby, spokesman for the military joint task force. He said the task force’s commander wants to ensure that flights with soldiers are not pre-empting the arrival of supplies.

Airdrops are of limited utility. Light lift helicopters of the C/U/SH-60 series (that is what they are, changing definitions to Medium lift are ignored by me) are not a cure-all; the shortfall in real Medium & Heavy lift (especially in the USN) borders on professional malpractice. LCS/JHSV and their ilk are nice tools to have in the box, but are also of only limited utility.

As the Army of Northern Virginia, The Potomac Flotilla, 8th & I Rod & Gun Club, and the Prince George’s Golf Club position their forces – watch for these arguments – they are good ones, and ones that are hard to dodge.

Eagle1 and SJS’ earlier posts bring up some other reminders. What are you seeing so far?

Posted by CDRSalamander in Foreign Policy, Navy, Soft Power
Tags: ,

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Chap

    I am wondering who is reading the tsunami and earlier Haiti operation lessons learned right now.

    Because they’re going to be lessons recognized not lessons learned if we don’t…

  • One lesson already being recognized — the press, for the most part, will portray the military response in as negative a light as possible. I’m seeing words like ‘sluggish’ in dispatches describing the relief effort, when at the same time seeing units from all services busting their humps and getting things done expeditiously.

  • Charley Armstrong

    Just curious – is the C/MH-53 line still open? If not, could it be reconstituted? Could the C/M-47 be navalized?

  • leesea

    At some point in time the relief operation leaders have come to understand that getting PaP port open WILL require a JLOTS type operation. The Tyranny of Tonnage is setting in now as they realize the vast amounts of equipment, supplies, personnel and other cargo add up to large tonnages of “cargo” which will be moved by sealift ships. The ships were activated late, but now are moving.
    After a short while the warships will be replaced by the naval auxiliaries, sealift ships and NECC sailors who will have to stay on to go the long term hard work of rebuilding

  • eastriver

    Well spoken, Leesea. Aviation is not the answer to the massive transport problem we face. And Ken, it is sluggish, no matter what we may want to think. The recognition-of-problem on the part of the Navy was slow, and the response was certainly bureaucracy-bound. Those on the scene are working as hard as the systems that manage them will allow, and bless them all for their efforts.

    BBC America is reporting tonight that there are almost no patients on BATAAN, and the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that VINSON’s hospital was not handling shoreside casualties, despite the chief medical officer’s statement that he had a plan to handle up to one thousand casualties.

    Good on MARAD and Navy for activating the ex-Hawaiian ferry. A good, fast, stable link to GTMO can be run. When COMFORT arrives, more superb care will be available. But it’s been a week now, folks, and many, many have died that frankly did not need to.

    As far as tonnage transfer…JLOTS is great, as are the alternatives discussed here; any combination will serve in the long run. But in the time elapsed to date, a standard tug and deck barge could have easily made the transit from any Florida port. Any Ro-Ro with a couple of forklifts on board could discharge to the barge, and a simple Pettibone-type mobile crane on the barge could lift pallets to the dock remnants.

    Creativity, not bureaucracy, in the face of adversity.

  • Told ya so.

    Where are all the cheerleaders now? Where are those that sang the party line about the rapid response?

    So many lauded the performance of those that arrived early without the capacity to effect changes on the ground. Now the media is about to savage the military and we only have the cheerleaders and an unresponsive military blogging community to blame.

    You guys knew better and you didn’t speak up. You allowed yourselves to be swept up in the emotion of the situation and now the services will suffer in the court of public opinion.

    And the worst of it is this. The military blogging community remains silent. SHAMEFUL.

  • Solomon – don’t make it personal and don’t make snotty. “I told you so” is not acceptable.

    A warning.

    You could keep it at this:

    So many lauded the performance of those that arrived early without the capacity to effect changes on the ground. Now the media is about to savage the military and we only have the cheerleaders and an unresponsive military blogging community to blame.

    …or now the services will suffer in the court of public opinion.

    You are right to ask questions and make observations but caution on the the familial nature and don’t denigrate your argument that way.

  • So I take it that the phrases used that caused this public admonition are….

    “Told ya so”


    “Where are those that sang the party line about the rapid response? ”

    Many others have been much less cautious than I. The “familial nature” of there words much tougher, yet you find it necessary to call me out? AMAZING. No worries, I’m done with this site.

  • Solomon – I am missing what your problem is here.

    Did we not get not get there as quickly as we could? Would the USNS Comfort have arrived faster if the USCG Cutter Forward has not gone? If you look at the whole force we intend to deploy, would it have been better if we had held up the forward line so every one got there at the same time.

    Sure it would have been great if there was some pixie dust we could have sprinkled over some of the slower moving elements. But how does lauding those who reached Haiti first impact the “lessons learned”?

    I don’t even get your beef – but you asked where the “cheerleaders” are…..here I am baby! Our military *did* a good job. They are *doing* a good job. They will continue *to do* a good job.

    Perhaps I am not as well versed in military terminology. But I didn’t think “lessons learned” was only for failure. I thought they went with pretty much every operation. No one has ever conducted an operation that couldn’t be improved.

    Did we get to every patient? No. Did our presence, to whatever degree, on whatever day ease the suffering there – YOU BET!

  • Jim Dolbow

    #1 lesson learned is that we did not learn all the lessons learned form the 2004 Tsunami.

    Another lesson learned is that dismantling the USN has its consequences – the USCG and their tiny, old fleet of cutters arrived on scene first and for the first week had as many cutters in the AOR as did the Navy (5).

  • Byron

    Jim, two points to make: First, disaster aid and recovery is a sub-set of the skils a military possesses. Second, the Navy has been hard hit economically. I see work every day getting defered because the funding is not in place. You would be amazed at how many times we’ve used a two part epoxy to seal holes in FUEL TANKS. Yeah, Super-Duper Glue. And you want to Navy to ALSO be prepared to handle disaster relief? I personally think the Navy did a hell of a job reacting the way they did.

    Consider this little nugget: All the days at sea, all the fuel spent, all the wear and tear on the ships, helo’s, aircraft, equipment ashore like trucks and bulldozers aren’t going to get a special funding.