BREAKING: Navy Offical Reports: U.S. Warship Heads to Yemeni Waters

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DEVELOPING: U.S. Navy officials say the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen and will join other American ships prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen.

The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea amid reports that a convoy of Iranian ships may be headed toward Yemen to arm the Houthis.

The Houthis are battling government-backed fighters in an effort to take control of the country.

There are about nine U.S. ships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels. Read the rest of this entry »


When Islamic State Starts Hitting Ships

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Radical Islamists may soon gain a foothold on the Mediterranean. The U.S. Navy must be ready

Mr. Cropsey, the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for American Seapower, served as a naval officer and as deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Seth Cropsey writes: The slaughter of 21 Egyptian Christians by Islamic State militants on Feb. 15 took place on the Libyan shore of the Mediterranean. Former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan recently told the Times of London that unless order is restored in his country, ISIS will secure territory on Libya’s Mediterranean coast within two months. This would increase its potential for attacks in Italy, Greece and elsewhere in Europe. An October ISIS publication pictured St. Peter’s Square under a black flag, and ISIS’s sentiments about Christians are clear.

Greater ISIS access to the Mediterranean would be deeply troubling to the region and a large strategic advance for the terrorist group. ISIS’s prospects for significant naval power are remote. But small boats, fishing vessels, smugglers, and merchant craft that carry concealed weapons could hijack, sink, or rake commercial shipping including cruise liners in the central Mediterranean. This would divide the eastern part of the inland sea from its west and expose Europe’s southern littoral to attacks and kidnappings.

[read the full text here, at WSJ]

Tehran today wields considerable power over two landlocked capitals of the region, Baghdad and Damascus. Its sea control is more expansive. Besides Iran’s border on the Persian Gulf it is now the major power in Beirut on the Mediterranean and San’a, the capital of Yemen, on the Bab El-Mandeb, the narrow strait that sits astride the southern gateway to and from the Suez Canal.

Turkish naval combatants’ current incursion in the Eastern Mediterranean—to escort a natural gas exploration vessel operating without permission in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone—has ended the stability that existed in the region since the Cold War standoff between U.S. and Soviet naval forces. And in 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to establish a permanent squadron in the Mediterranean. Read the rest of this entry »


Navy replaces admiral leading Mideast strike group

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Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette receives honors from side boys during a change of command ceremony aboard the USS John C. Stennis on April 5, 2012.

KENNETH ABBATE/US NAVY

By ROBERT BURNS

The Associated Press
Published: October 27, 2012

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Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

WASHINGTON — The Navy said Saturday it is replacing the admiral in command of an aircraft carrier strike group in the Middle East, pending the outcome of an internal investigation into undisclosed allegations of inappropriate judgment.

Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette is being sent back to the USS John C. Stennis’ home port at Bremerton, Wash., in what the Navy called a temporary reassignment. The Navy said he is not formally relieved of his command of the Stennis strike group but will be replaced by Rear Adm. Troy M. Shoemaker, who will assume command until the investigation is completed.

It is highly unusual for the Navy to replace a carrier strike group commander during its deployment.

The Navy did not reveal details of the allegations, citing only an accusation of “inappropriate leadership judgment” that arose during the strike group’s deployment to the Middle East. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy’s chief spokesman, declined to discuss the investigation.

The Stennis group deployed from Bremerton in late August and had entered the Navy 5th Fleet’s area of operations in the Middle East on Oct. 17 after sailing across the Pacific. The Stennis made port visits in Thailand and Malaysia on its way to the Middle East.

It deployed four months earlier than scheduled in response to a request by the commander of U.S. Central Command, Marine Gen. James Mattis, to maintain two aircraft carriers in the Middle East. The Stennis replaced the USS Enterprise carrier group.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited the Stennis and its sailors in Bremerton shortly before they departed. He thanked them for accelerating their deployment on short notice.

“I understand that it is tough,” Panetta said. “We are asking an awful lot of each of you, but frankly you are the best I have and when the world calls we have to respond.”

via Navy – Stripes