March 2011


Our co-blogger here at USNIBLog – Admiral Stavridis, USN, SACEUR – sent along this tweet earlier today,

#NATO is now in charge of the Arms Embargo off the coast of #Libya. I designated a top Italian Admiral to run it. http://bit.ly/gXSq7s

Yes, he is on Twitter – and if you don’t follow him on Twitter you are making us both sad.

I am going to put up my next “Big Pixel” Operation ODYSSEY DAWN (OOD) post on Monday – but for now I want to focus on this.

This NATO effort has been named Operation Unified Protector and its mission is to assist the international community in reducing the flow of arms and material prohibited by the arms embargo into and from Libya in order to reduce acts of aggression against the civilian population.

NATO’s response to the situation in Libya is based on three fundamental principles: added value from the Alliance to the existing international efforts; a clear legal mandate and strong regional support.

Operation Unified Protector will assist in reducing the flow of arms, related material and mercenaries to and from the coastal waters off Libya only.

NATO nation ships and aircraft will conduct operations to monitor, report and, if needed,interdict vessels and intercept aircraft where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that they are carrying cargo in violation of the arms embargo or suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries.

Joint Forces Command Naples is designated as the command headquarters with Vice Admiral Rinaldo Veri of the Italian Navy, Commander of Maritime Command Naples, in command of the arms embargo operation who will, in turn, appoint the Task Force Commander at sea.

I’m going to stick with NATO terms here; so work with me and don’t get all nit-picky if you are using a different Operational Planning school – we’re working fundamentals of Operational Planning here and its all close enough. Also, this post will be almost as hard to follow as the C2 structure we have in place – don’t blame me, I’m only as poor of a writer as my subject. Ahem. Let’s dive in to this.

Under the Operational Commander, you have three major Component Commanders; Land Component Commander (LCC), Maritime Component Commander (MCC), and Air Component Commander (ACC). There can be variations on the theme – but these are the big three we’ll talk about.

Here we are, almost a week into OOD and …. well …. we have a hybrid structure that has been American, until now.

To review: COMAFRICOM is the COCOM with C6F CNE, Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III apparently serving as the JTF Operational Commander. I say apparently, as this C2 structure is a dog’s breakfast at this point with unconnected and uncoordinated lines. Who has OPCOM, OPCON, TACOM, TACON of who is so out of joint (pun intended) to everyone that until yesterday Norway grounded its F-16s in Crete simply because it had no idea who was who and why.

Now we have something different. As OOD has American stink on it and everyone seems to want to call this something different, NATO is using Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR (OUP) for the Maritime aspect of this and will have to do. That gives us at this point another custom C2 structure with both USA and NATO – and perhaps – some Coalition of the Willing structure for ACC and a replacement for COMAFRICOM in the future.

Sorry I don’t have a C2 diagram for you, but it would take at least two hours to make and would need at a minimum a 4-foot by 6-foot whiteboard to put it up correctly and it would still be wrong inside half a day.

On the Maritime side though, NATO JFC Naples is an Operational Level Commander who also happens to be the same person with a different hat, USA C6F Admiral Samual J. Locklear, III, USN.

With his NATO hat as JFC Naples, ADM Locklear has a LCC, MCC, and ACC. In Naples is his MCC, Maritime Command Naples who is taking the point in OUP and will appoint someone else to command the Task Force at Sea. Funny, I would think COM MCC Naples Actual would – but perhaps other things are in play that will flesh out later. Not a tidy C2 for now, but what one is in coalition operations?

According to his website, ADM Locklear’s ACC is in Izmir, Turkey – so I don’t think that will be a player. His LCC is in Madrid … and let’s not speak of that.

The announcement of a MCC for OOD/OUP is good news as it means that things are slowly being patched together. We are a little closer to being able to turn it over to a Coalition Command structure as the CINC states he wants to take place – if we can have someone step up to Operation HOT POTATO.

Where to? For now we have the relatively benign MCC job under an Italian Admiral in NATO’s Command Structure – I think the ACC will probably be American but not NATO when all is said and done for both structural, training, and practical reasons that I will outline in a broader context next Monday or Tuesday.

LCC. Well, let’s just hope we don’t need one of those. Ever.

So far, this has a whiff of the Kosovo operation in a way; a patch-up/pick-up operation with little to no preliminary Operational Planning (though there was time for it if there was POL/MIL guidance earlier than the last minute). SACEUR is a tough job on any day – with AFG and now OOD/OUP … it just got more interesting – but without sounding like a smack; we’ve got the right man for the job in place.

UPDATE: Things look like they have settled even more broadly than the above last night. With Turkey deciding to stop opposition – to my pleasant surprise considering what they had been saying over the last couple of weeks – things are looking much “cleaner” and the operations is mostly falling under JFC Naples, ADM Locklear, USN, and his Component Command Structure.

Strategic headquarters of NATO, Supreme Headquarters Allied Power Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium, would oversee the general operation, the source said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

The mission of the air would be monitored in Izmir, Turkey, but the daily tactical operations in a series of short Renatico Poggio, the diplomat said. Turkey has blocked a new effort Wednesday night to give NATO a role in the no-fly zone because it requires an end to the bombing campaign led by a coalition led by the United States, Britain and France.

JFC Naples the Operational Level Command, and ACC will be Izmir. Heh, I owe someone a beer.

There looks like we may have some OEF-vs-ISAF like parallel structure with the Libyan operation. If you listen to the end of NATO’s Secretary General’s statement, he mentions continues coordination with “Coalition” forces. Maybe he means something else – but it wold be a shame if we have parallel C2 structures.

I would offer though that in 2011, NATO should really have more details out than this – things may change but that is all we know right now.

UPDATE II: Looks like we have split the Air Component Command in to two parts. One doing air-to-ground, the other the air-to-air. Yes, a parallel command structure within a Component Command. Messy – but isn’t everything political?

As NATO takes over, a Canadian air force general will command most of the Libyan air war but not the nastiest bits – bombing ground targets and attacking Moammar Gadhafi’s tanks – reflecting an ongoing split in the alliance.

Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard will initially run only the no-fly zone over Libya. An Italian admiral will command the multinational naval blockade offshore. The punishing and controversial bombing runs and air-to-ground strafing will remain under U.S. command until NATO establishes rules of engagement acceptable to reluctant alliance nations such as Germany and Turkey.

U.S., British, Canadian and French warplanes conducting air-to-ground strikes will remain under the command of U.S. Admiral Samuel Locklear. In military jargon he is “double-hatted” – serving as commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe as well as joint task force commander for NATO’s southern command in Naples. Gen. Bouchard serves as his deputy in the latter role, and handing day-to-day running of the war to the Canadian will take Adm. Locklear out of the limelight.

Read it closer, again, on who is doing what. Yep.

As NATO takes over, a Canadian air force general will command most of the Libyan air war but not the nastiest bits – bombing ground targets and attacking Moammar Gadhafi’s tanks – reflecting an ongoing split in the alliance.

Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard will initially run only the no-fly zone over Libya. An Italian admiral will command the multinational naval blockade offshore. The punishing and controversial bombing runs and air-to-ground strafing will remain under U.S. command until NATO establishes rules of engagement acceptable to reluctant alliance nations such as Germany and Turkey.

The air-to-air portion is 98% over. Nothing more to do. That “combat” will go from USA to NATO with a nice Canadian helo pilot in charge (who BTW is an outstanding General Officer FWIW – good guy to have there).

There is still a fair bit of wet work to be done air-to-ground … so … who is commanding that and doing most of the sorties? Yep, USA. We will need two white boards to diagrams this C2 structure … if you can. Unity of Command? Don’t be silly.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Hard Power, Maritime Security, Navy
Tags: , ,

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

  • Scrappy

    Last time I checked, VADM Harris was still C6F and ADM Locklear is CNE (also CNA). The C2 diagrams I have seen seem to make sense to me given the issues involved. Unity of command is a wonderful thing if/when you can get it. In this case, given the restrictions some folks have over NATO vs EU vs coalition, the best we can hope for is unity of effort. I do echo your comment regarding JFLCC/CFLCC or even JSOTF…not a place we (US) want to be (boots on ground), let the rest of NATO or AL nations pony up.

  • “…we’ve got the right man for the job in place.” Concur on that. I would be cynical about this ever working out with most anyone else in the SACEUR job. If anyone can make sense out of all this, it’s ADM Stavridis.

  • Byron

    Makes no sense to me. Give me a bigger hammer, maybe I can make it simpler 🙂

  • C-dore 14

    They ran operations off Yugoslavia like this for several years like this back in the ’90s. MCC Naples is the old COMNAVSOUTH who ran the maritime embargo of Yugoslavia under Operation Sharp Guard. C6F would put on his NATO hat (COMSTRIKFORSOUTH) and report directly to CINCSOUTH (now CJF Naples) if NATO needed carrier assets. Not sure what C6F’s relationship is to NATO now but can’t believe that he doesn’t have one. The more things change…

  • I suspect there’s going to be a gaggle of various MPA assets roosting in Sig. That would be my choice as it’s close to both the OP area and Naples.

    Certainly this is a mission well suited to those platforms.

  • Spade

    Wait, what?

  • Spade

    Also, is there a need for a naval blockade? How much of the flow of materials, guns and mercs is actually going through the Med? As far as I know, most of the Mercs are from Africa. Wouldn’t they (and guns, etc.) just use the smuggling routes through the desert that have been there since literally before the dawn of recorded history?

  • C-dore 14

    Just one more nit…although ADM Stavridis is “tweeting” about the operation, EUCOM is not in charge. AFRICACOM is.

  • OB

    @C-dore 14 Not to pik your nit but, while AFRICOM is in charge of Operation Odyssey Dawn, as SACEUR (the bigger of ADM Stavridis’ hats), he is ultimately in charge of all NATO forces in Europe. This includes those assigned to Operation Unified Protector to which EUCOM and AFRICOM will provide US forces.

  • Surfcaster

    Off topic:

    J10 COMBEER: Beers off post at the Wooden Nickle or Greek Pizza & Beer at Harmonies. If deep thought is necessary, that little Hungarian place just east of the base… If in Belgium, can’t help…

    As a side note, I remember the day after in 86. Hundreds of protesters outside Patch screaming and hollering, signs all aflutter… Mostly local women, early 20s, glasses, kintscarves in the German fashion of forever, braided armpit hair…

  • CDR Salamander

    C14: With his NATO hat Stavridis is SACEUR, the top military Commander in NATO. JFC Naples reports to him.

  • C-dore 14

    CDR S and OB, Yep…you’re right. Forgot to think about EUCOM’s NATO side.


    On a positive note, it really doesn’t matter how badly the Command and Control structure is right now since the capabilities of the opposing forces are so dramatically different. Down the road when there are, hopefully, strategic goals and a need for an operational plan to achieve same, all of this will be ironed out. At this point, it appears to be tactical excellence in search of a strategy and a lot of hope and prayer.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    You didn’t think anybody thought this through first, did you?
    Muddlin’ through, as usual. Shades of ABDA…

  • alfred_the_great

    Of course, if we were to leave American Exceptionalism to one side, and you were to embrace NATO Doctrine (because the last time I checked the US is part of NATO), then the C2 structure would reflect nearly every operation NATO has conducted.

    It is messy having your Component Commanders in different countries to your Joint Force Commander, but political pride bears no relation to operational ability. And before you all get snickity on the Europeans here, I would suggest that you look at making SACEUR a rotational post.

    Perhaps an easier way to do would be to assign all your forces to NATO OPCOM, whilst maintaining a National “red card”, thus negating the need for COCON of any time, and maintaining the simplicity of Command.

  • Please tell me they are only interdicting arms going to Qaddafi, not those going to the rebels.

  • leesea

    so what capability does the LCC bring to all of this?

  • Curtis

    How truly lame.

    How European.

  • Peter Brown

    Not to put a contrarian spin on all things NATO, but are Turkey and Israel really heading down the same path here – hand in hand – and have they reconciled following the deaths of several Turks off the Israeli coast? I think not.