Watercraft Materiel Master Plan




Chapter Two




2-1. GENERAL. This chapter outlines the laws and regulations that direct the Army to maintain watercraft, defines the watercraft mission, and discusses how watercraft are employed to support the objectives of the ASMP.

2-2. AUTHORITY. Law and departmental instructions direct the Army to prepare for land combat and provide watercraft support in a theater of operations. In furnishing watercraft support incident to land combat ashore, the Army will be called upon to perform the post-assault resupply mission for joint and combined operations that may also include the integration of coastal and inland waterway transportation. Another major element of watercraft support involves conducting Army and/or Joint Logistics-Over-the-Shore (LOTS/JLOTS) operations. The LOTS missions of today require that Army watercraft be capable of performing a wide range of ship-to-shore cargo transfer and harbor utility functions in support of full fixed port, partial fixed-port, or bare beach operations. Army watercraft also support Naval amphibious operations. Title 10, U.S. Code, DoD Directive 5100.1, Joint Pub 4-01.6, and Army Regulation 55-176 provide the basis for developing, maintaining, and employing an Army watercraft capability. These documents state the Army missions as:

"Prepare for land combat, including the necessary aviation and watercraft support"

Title 10 of United States Code, Paragraph 3062

"Provide a post assault resupply mission to include other services and allied forces when required ... support land operations via coastal/inland waterways"

DoD Directive 5100.1

"Provide lighterage, tugs, small craft, other discharge equipment and trained operators for JLOTS operations and provide the common service assets required to supplement amphibious operations"

Joint Pub 4-01.6

"Provide ship-to-shore lighterage capability via LOTS through degraded major/minor ports or across a bare beach"

AR 55-176/OPNAVINST 4620.8B/AFR 75-4/MCO 4620.6



A. Since World War II, the Army Transportation Corps has been a major contributor in providing logistics from the sea. Past conflicts have demonstrated a continuing need for Army watercraft. During the last 50 years, Army watercraft have served in all conflicts and played key roles in projecting and sustaining combat forces. In the Pacific, European, and Mediterranean Theaters, Army watercraft supported amphibious assault and sustainment missions throughout the war. In Korea and Vietnam, Army watercraft were called upon to support and sustain Allied forces.

B. Army watercraft have been active in recent military operations throughout the world. Figure 2-1 (p. 2-3) depicts various exercises and operations where Army watercraft played a key role in successful force closure and sustainment of U.S. and/or allied forces.


Figure 2-1


C. Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm clearly demonstrated the flexibility of Army watercraft. Although U.S. and allied forces had the luxury of two modern, deep-draft ports, Army watercraft had to be used extensively for port operations, LOTS operations, and intratheater transport to support the CINCs scheme of maneuver. Army tugs logged over 10,000 missions, moved 2,500 Lighter Aboard Ship (LASH) barges, and made 11 offshore tows. Army barge derrick cranes made over 1,500 heavy lifts, primarily of tracked vehicles. Logistics Support Vessels (LSVs) self deployed and performed intratheater missions carrying tanks and ammunition. Landing Craft, Utilities (LCUs) conducted over 300 missions shuttling Marine Corps equipment between the port of Jubayl and a LOTS site at Ras Al Mishab. Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM 8s) were used for port security and inner-harbor transport. Some of the first humanitarian support to arrive in Kuwait after the cease-fire was delivered by Army LSVs and LCUs in a LOTS operation conducted through the port of Ash Shuaybah. This port had been rendered inaccessible to deep draft shipping when Iraqi forces destroyed shore facilities and sunk vessels throughout the port. Army floating cranes were used to clear this port. Additionally, Army watercraft remained in the theater after the war to facilitate the delivery of heavy combat equipment from Kuwait and northern Saudi Arabia to fixed-port facilities in the south. Figure 2-2 (p. 2-4) depicts the range of Army watercraft missions conducted during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.


Figure 2-2




A. U.S. Military Strategy. The U.S. military strategy has changed from the traditional focus of containing Soviet expansionism, with emphasis on Central Europe, to a focus on regional contingency planning in support of joint operations and subsequent sustainment. The United States will have fewer forces forward stationed, because the cornerstone of this new strategy is power projection. The Mobility Requirements Study-Bottoms Up Review Update (MRS-BURU) identified the need for improvements in CONUS infrastructure and additional strategic lift capacity. The study recommended the procurement of 19 Large, Medium Speed, Roll-on /Roll-off (LMSR) ships to move combat power from CONUS to the theater. This over $6 billion investment doubles the available cargo delivery capacity. As depicted in Figure 2-3 (p. 2-5), the deployment process is dependent on the strategic Mobility Triad of Prepositioning, Airlift, and Sealift. However, strategic sealift can only move the combat power into the reception area. Army watercraft are required to assist in the reception, staging, and onward movement, and integration (RSO&I) of equipment and sustainment aboard the sealift ships. Without Army watercraft, combat power will not be available to be a factor in the fight. The ability to project land combat power that is both timely and sufficient to meet a range of worldwide threats across the spectrum of conflict, is essential. The new strategy calls for the military to respond quickly to contingencies in identified geographical areas. To accomplish this mission, Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) developed the ASMP.



Figure 2-3


B. Army Strategic Mobility Program. The ASMP is the Army’s program to implement the recommendations of the MRS and provide the necessary capability to meet the deployment goals of a CONUS-based power projection Army. The ASMP calls for five divisions plus a Corps Support Command to deploy by air and/or sea and close by C+75. The ASMP timelines are shown in Figure 2-4 (p. 2-6). This force consists of:

1) A Light or Airborne brigade sized force deployed into a theater by C+4, with the remainder of that division to close by C+12. This force, including its equipment, will be transported primarily by air.

2) As part of the C+30 force, the afloat heavy brigade will close by C+15.

3) Two heavy divisions transported by sea that will close by C+30.

4) The remaining forces (two divisions and support) transported by sea will close by C+75.


Figure 2-4


2-5. EMPLOYMENT OF WATERCRAFT. The foundation for Army fleet requirements are based on offloading the heavy brigade afloat in accordance with the objectives of the ASMP. This places the focus on the most demanding early entry watercraft mission — Logistics-Over-the-Shore. As reception of the force proceeds, and infrastructure improvements are made, we expect to quickly transition to fixed-port operations. This section outlines phasing of Army watercraft in support of a contingency, in any geographical location.

Phasing Army watercraft to meet CINC requirements. U.S. and allied forces will use instream and fixed-port operations to offload combat and support forces in support of major regional contingencies. Army watercraft will enable the discharge of the prepositioned afloat heavy brigade, execute port operations, establish coastal main supply routes, and support wartime executive agency responsibility (WEAR) and CINC requirements. Phasing of Army watercraft to support CINC requirements is outlined below and summarized in Figure 2-5 (p. 2-7).

1) Early Entry — C-day through C+22 (APS-3 reception of afloat heavy brigade and linebacker ships): During this phase the predominant Army watercraft effort will be to establish port operations and offload combat and support unit equipment aboard APS-3 prepositioned ships through full fixed, partial fixed-port, or over a bare beach. Prepositioned Army watercraft units will provide the capability to offload four LMSRs (the afloat heavy brigade) in six days, or one LMSR in two days.

2) Force Reception and Onward Movement — C+23 through C+75 (Close Corps of 5 and 1/3 divisions ashore and establish sustainment operations): During this phase, the predominant Army watercraft effort will be to continue port operations that enables the discharge of the combat force and its associated support forces while transitioning to sustainment operations and expanding lines of communications (LOCs) through MSRs. Additionally, Army watercraft units will establish operations in support of WEAR and CINC requirements. The APS-3 prepositioned set will be augmented by watercraft deployed from CONUS to support CINC requirements as necessary.

3) Sustainment — C+30 to redeployment. During this phase, the predominant Army watercraft effort will be to continue conducting port operations, execute LOC and MSR operations and support WEAR and CINC requirements.

4) Redeployment — During this phase, the predominant Army watercraft effort will be to support CINC redeployment operations via MSRs while providing continuing port operations.

Figure 2-5


2-6. WATER TRANSPORT OPERATIONS. Available facilities and environmental conditions present when watercraft and operators arrive in a theater cannot be predicted. Given this uncertainty, watercraft units must possess the necessary capability and capacity to perform a variety of operations in any environmental condition. This includes performing "in-the-stream discharge" of strategic lift ships in sea state conditions two or above. Not all of the craft in the Army fleet are capable of meeting this requirement. The modernization strategy outlined in this plan addresses this deficiency. The major Army watercraft missions identified in FM 55-50, "Army Water Transport Operations," are summarized. Each of these missions are critical to a successful force projection Army. Figure 2-6 (p. 2-8) depicts ports of debarkation scenarios where Army watercraft provide crucial support.

A. Support to and Operation of Established Ports. These functions are essential to the operation of major or secondary ports. Army watercraft, primarily tugs and cranes, provide floating utility service to augment existing facilities. They also increase the volume and efficiency of cargo throughput operations by:

1) Docking and maneuvering large ships.

2) Towing and positioning barges and other non-self-propelled vessels.

3) Using floating cranes to augment shore-based cranes.

4) Providing command and control assets to the harbormaster and terminal service units.

5) Providing cargo and passenger transport.

Figure 2-6

Established or major port operations are characterized by direct pier-side discharge of cargo from deep draft vessels. The use of well established deep draft facilities (available at major ports) to offload cargo from deep draft vessels directly to a land-based transportation system is the most efficient cargo transfer operation.

A secondary port has facilities for the discharge of cargo from coasters, small vessels and lighters only. A fishing port is a common example of a secondary port. LOTS operations are the only way cargo can be transferred from deep draft ships through a secondary port.


B. LOTS Operations. LOTS operations are traditionally considered those in which cargo is discharged from deep draft ships to Army watercraft for subsequent discharge over a bare beach. The term LOTS, however, also encompasses capabilities to discharge cargo through major/secondary ports inaccessible or denied to deep draft shipping; intratheater sealift of cargo and equipment; and support of normal fixed-port operations (berthing ships providing heavy lift floating crane service, shuttling LASH cargo barges, etc.).

1) During a LOTS operation, deep draft vessels anchor "in-the-stream" or "offshore" and cargo is discharged into Army lighterage by Army personnel. In-the-stream describes an operation where a deep draft vessel is anchored in protected deep waters, such as a harbor. Offshore denotes an operation where the vessel is anchored off the shoreline in unprotected deep water. Once cargo has been discharged to lighterage, it is transported to either a fixed-port facility or the shoreline. Conditions that necessitate a LOTS operation are:

a) Port facilities are denied to deep draft shipping because the enemy has mined the port, blocked the ship channel, or rendered the ship berths unusable.

b) Port facilities are inadequate due to shallow water depths and/or enemy action that has degraded port facilities to such an extent that LOTS operations are needed to maximize cargo throughput.

c) Port capability is inadequate causing ships to queue and await discharge because available berthing facilities are in use.

2) Bare beach LOTS are used when:

a) Access to ports is denied due to enemy control of the port or nearby areas.

b) Ports do not exist in the area of operations.

c) Augmentation of existing facilities is required because available ports lack adequate capability.

d) Access to ports is denied due to geopolitical considerations of the supported/participating country.

e) Shorter LOC are required to enhance the CINCs scheme of maneuver.

C. Intracoastal Operations. Intratheater shore to shore operations are characterized by using lighterage to transfer cargo from one water terminal to another in the same theater. Figure 2-7 (p. 2-10) depicts the effectiveness of an intratheater operation during the onward movement phase of an operation. Intratheater operations are used to:

1) Establish coastal MSRs.

2) Reduce congestion in the main water terminal.

3) Reduce congestion in the LOCs by providing alternate main supply routes.

4) Shorten MSRs.

5) Transport equipment to forward areas.

6) Enhance the CINCs scheme of maneuver and serve as a force multiplier (for example, one LSV can carry up to 24 combat-loaded M1 tanks or 50 double-stacked 20’ containers).




Figure 2-7

D. Inland Waterway Operations (IWOs). IWOs are incorporated when the theater of operation has an established inland waterway system of connecting rivers, canals, or lakes. Although landing craft are the main Army water transport equipment used to operate an inland waterway system, tugboats and barges are also used for this mission.

E. Amphibious Operations. An amphibious operation is an attack launched from the sea by naval and landing forces. It involves landing combat troops on a hostile shore to gain a lodgment area from which to carry out further combat operations. Army lighterage may participate in joint amphibious operations and be employed in ship-to-shore movement of supplies, equipment, and personnel.


2-7. SUMMARY. A major objective of the Army watercraft employment strategy is to maintain a prepositioned fleet capable of placing the afloat heavy brigade ashore in six days. Army watercraft provide the critical link for successful execution of theater opening, (RSO&I), sustainment, and redeployment of U.S. and allied forces. The conversion to a force projection military has placed a greater emphasis on Army watercraft than ever before. As shown in Figure 2-8, a over $34 billion investment in strategic lift will be made over the next several years, in an effort to get the required combat power and sustainment to the theater of operation. Once the combat power is in the theater area, Army watercraft are required to move the equipment the final two. A minimal investment in Army watercraft as outlined in Chapter 6 is critical to ensuring that the RSO&I movement of the combat and sustainment items is timely and without significant impediments.


Figure 2-8