View Full Version : Military Operations Other Than War

08-09-02, 10:44 AM
Dr. David Crist

Since the end of the Cold War Marines have increasingly been called upon to respond to a growing number of unconventional crises around the globe. The end of the Soviet Union changed the threats to the security of the United States as famine, natural disasters, and political disintegration increasingly required the intervention of armed forces in what President George Bush termed the New World Order. The Marine Corps' focus on littoral warfare, its forward deployed presence, and rapid crisis response capability, make it the natural force of choice to turn to. This has led some to call the Marine Corps the Nation's 911 force. Disaster and humanitarian assistance, friendly coalition building, noncombatant emergency evacuations, counter-drug operations, support for civil authority, all are familiar terms to Fleet Marine Force personnel over the past decade. Instead of large-scale conventional war, the American military strategy has focused increasingly on low intensity conflict and "military operations other than war" (MOOTW). Correspondingly, Marines find themselves conducting these operations with the other services in a joint task force command. Also, the nature of these humanitarian operations call for Marines to work closely with other governmental agencies such as, the State Department and U.S. Aid for International Development, as well as the numerous non-governmental relief agencies and The United Nations.
One of the first MOOTW operation occurred on the heels of a very traditional conventional war--Desert Storm. In the Spring of 1991, Baghdad began a campaign to suppress the dissident Kurdish minority in northern Iraq. More than 3/4 of a million displaced civilians were in dire need of food, water, shelter, and basic medical care as the prospect of thousands dying from starvation and deprivation loomed large. Marines of the 24th MEU (SOC), commanded by Colonel James L. Jones were some of the first U.S. forces deployed to the mountains of northern Iraq as part of Operation Provide Comfort. Operating some 500 miles form their supporting ships, over 3,600 Marines would take part in a three-month operation that successfully established a safe haven for the Kurds and staved off a humanitarian disaster.
Simultaneously, Marines the of the 5th MEB, returning through the Indian Ocean from Desert Storm, found themselves tasked to respond to another humanitarian crisis, in Bangladesh. A 140-mile-per-hour cyclone had ripped through the impoverished country killing an estimated 139,000 people. The Bangladeshi government requested assistance and President Bush ordered the deployment of a joint task force, commanded by the CG of III MEF Major General Henry C. Stackpole III. Augmented with Army special forces and Air Force assets, 5th MEB and Amphibious Group Three formed the nucleus of the JTF and Operation Sea Angel. General Stackpole developed a three-phased campaign plan which focused initially on providing assistance to those in immediate danger from famine and disease, followed by delivery of supplies and equipment that would allow the Government of Bangladesh to gradually assume control over relief operations. On 16 May, Marines and sailors, augmented by a Japanese contingent, began the first full-scale relief operation. Twenty-eight helicopters, four LCACs and three LCUs delivered food and medical supplies to the hard hit areas of Chittagong, Shandwip, Kutiubdia, and Moheshkeli. Marine helicopters were instrumental in delivering supplies to isolated pockets of people cut off by the flood waters. By 7 June the situation had stabilized as the country's infrastructure of roads and ferries were repaired. The efforts of the U.S. forces in Sea Angel saved countless thousands of lives.
One of the largest post-Cold War humanitarian operations began on 9 December 1992, when Marines of a Special MAGTF landed in Somalia, beginning Operation Restore Hope. Famine, caused by political chaos, threatened the lives of thousands of Somalis and the mission of Restore Hope was to secure major air and sea ports, key installations and food distribution points in order to facilitate the free passage of relief supplies threatened by a multitude of armed warlords. The combined Joint Task Force entitled UNITAF (United Task Force) commanded by Lt General Robert B. Johnston, Commanding General I MEF, included an additional 10,000 Marines from the 1st Division and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Equipment was drawn from the pre-positioning assets based at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Despite the limited infrastructure and primitive conditions in Somalia, Marines successfully secured all major port and airfields and for the first 50 days, provided all logistical support for U.S. forces ashore. With the arrival of the Army's 10th Mountain Division and forces from over 23 countries, General Johnston commanded over 38, 000 troops including 12,000 Marines. U.S. troops fanned out across the famine belt in and around the capitol of Mogadishu safeguarding the humanitarian relief operations. In addition to weapons sweeps, and convoy escorts, UNITAF forces pursued extensive civic action programs including repairing more than 1200 miles of roads, drilling wells, and rebuilding hospitals and schools. Coalition force medical personnel treated thousands of Somalis for everything from bullet wounds to typhoid. By the end of February 1993, the crisis had largely passed and U.S. forces, including Marines, were slowly withdrawn. While efforts to rebuild the central government by The United Nations ultimately failed, Restore Hope succeeded in saving countless lives threatened by immediate starvation.
Besides humanitarian operations, the most prevalent of MOOTW operations is the non-combatant evacuation of civilians or NEO. Seven times since 1990 Marines have been called upon to evacuate civilians threatened by the anarchy and civil strife in their country. From Somalia (1990), Liberia (1990, 1996), Rwanda (1994), Sierra Lione (1997), and the Congo (1997), Marines have responded to the State Department's request to evacuate embassies and U.S. citizens. Even Europe, too, proved it was not immune from the strife when Marines of 26 MEU(SOC) executed Operation Silver Wake in Tirana, Albania, in March 1997. These operations displayed the versatility and rapid response ability of the MEU. The characteristics of a NEO operation area rapidly deteriorating political situation coupled with a collapsing economy where there is inadequate time to build up relief forces to perform an evacuation of U.S. citizens. Further, there is often not the luxury of land-based facilities from which to conduct such a large scale evacuation. Forward deployed and self-sustaining, the Marine Expeditionary Units' possess the capacity to insert forces by air into an embassy anywhere in the world, secure it, and then evacuate the U.S. citizens. In Operation Eastern Exit in 1990, Marine helicopters refueled twice in air to reach the embassy in Somalia; eventually, 281 citizens from over thirty nations were safely evacuated.
Not all of MOOTW occurred in foreign countries. In August 1992, Marines were called to provide assistance to Homestead, Florida following Hurricane Andrew. II MEF formed a Special MAGTF that included both active and reserve elements. The Marines maintained a temporary tent city for 2,500 displaced civilians. Additionally, Marines distributed needed supplies and helped restore power to Dade county. That same year, Marines from the 2d FSSG participated in Operation Guantanamo, which provided temporary humanitarian assistance to Haitians fleeing to the U.S. to escape political upheaval at home. At its height, the tent camps at Guantanamo Bay housed over 15,000 refuges. These camps were back in operation again in 1993 and 1994 as Marines helped safeguard Cuban refuges trying to flee economic hardship and repression. Along the Mexican border, Marines have actively engaged in providing assistance to the nation's counter-drug effort as part of Joint Task Force Six. Between October 1994 and September 1995, for example, Marines participated in 74 counter drug missions, performing supporting roles to U.S. law enforcement by providing observation, radar support and cargo inspection. Also Marines have been called upon to support civilian authority from combating forest fires in the western U.S. to restoring order in Los Angeles following the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.
The military operations other than war have increased in frequency and this high pace of operations has continued unabated as Marines are increasingly tasked to assist in these humanitarian and civic action missions. In 1992 alone, Marines executed nine non-combative operations. Marines have deployed to every ocean and covered such diverse operations as disaster relief in Guam to drug-interdiction along the U.S. border. Operations other than war have come to dominate Marine Corps operations that the Marine Corps has significantly expanded traditional training resulting in the employment of new non-lethal methodology.




08-09-02, 10:46 AM
Operation Sharp Edge -- Evacuation of Monrovia, Liberia and protection of American embassy, Monrovia -- Aug. 5, 1990 to Jan. 9, 1991

Operation Desert Shield -- Aug. 7, 1990
-- Aug. 2; Marines deploy to Saudi Arabia after Saddam Hussien's forces invade Kuwait

Operation Desert Storm-- Jan. 17, 1991/ Air War begins -- Jan. 17, 1991
-- 94,000 regulars, 13,066 reserves participated (Marines)
-- 22 Marines lost their lives; 2 died of wounds; 88 wounded in action
Ground War begins -- Feb. 24, 1991
End of hostilities -- Feb. 28, 1991
Ceasefire declared -- April 11, 1991

Operation Eastern Exit -- Jan. 2, 1991 -- evacuation of American Embassy, Mogadishu, Somalia.

Operation Provide Comfort -- April 9, 1991-July 1991 -- humanitarian operations for refugees in Northern Iraq and Turkey

Operation GITMO -- Nov 1991- May 1993 -- humanitarian assistance to Haitian refugees fleeing to Cuba; security operations

Operation Provide Promise -- July 1992-March 1996 -- Search and Rescue operations (26th MEU (SOC)) in Bosnia-Hercegovina region (Adriatic Sea) in support of Provide Promise.

Operation Sharp Guard -- Dec. 1992- Dec. 1995 -- Adriatic Sea; operations in support of U.N.

Decisive Enhancement (Sharp Guard transitioned into this) Dec. 1995- present -- Adriatic Sea; involving deployed MEUs

Operation Southern Watch -- Aug 1992 -present -- Enforcement of Southern Iraqi no-fly zone.

Operation Restore Hope -- Dec. 1992- May 1993 -- Somalia, humanitarian assistance, Marines land Dec. 9, 1992.

Operation Able Manner/Able Vigil -- Jan 1993- Oct. 1994 -- Windward passage (Cuba)/ Straits of Florida; support interdiction of Haitian and Cuban migrants.

Operation Deny Flight -- April 1993- Dec. 1995 -- Bosnia-Hercegovina; enforcement of no-fly zone over Bosnia-Hercegovina

Decisive Edge (Deny Flight transitioned into this) -- Dec. 1995- present -- (same as Deny Flight)

Somalia -- May 1993- March 1994 -- Humanitarian and Security Assistance (formerly Oper. Restore Hope).

Operation Support Democracy -- Oct. 1993- Oct. 1994 -- Haiti; enforcement of U.N. sanctions.

Operation Distant Runner -- April 1994 -- Off the coast of Kenya and Bujumbura, Burundi; security forces for evacuation of American citizens from Rwanda.

Operation Sea Signal -- May 1994-Feb. 1996 -- Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; processed Cuban and Haitian migrants and provided security in support of JTF-160.

Operation Support Hope -- Aug.- Sept. 1994 -- Mombasa, Kenya, and Burundi; relief operations.

Operation Uphold Democracy -- Sept. 1994 -- Haiti; secured Cape Haitian as part of the US forces restoring democracy in Haiti.

Operation Vigilant Warrior -- Oct. 1994 -- Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; rapid deployment of US forces to counter Iraqi military buildup south of 32nd parallel.

Operation Safe Passage -- Jan.- Feb. 1995 -- Carribean Sea; security support for the transfer of Cuban migrants from Panama to GITMO.

Operation United Shield -- Jan.- March 1995 -- Somalia; provided security for the withdrawal of UN operations (UNOSOM) forces.

Operation Full Accounting -- March- April 1995; Oct. 1995-present -- Thailand; supported ongoing national efforts for the accounting of POWs/MIAs from the Vietnam War.

TRAP mission -- June 8, 1995 -- Bosnia; 24th MEU(SOC) Marines conduct tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel mission to rescue downed Air Force pilot Capt. Scott O'Grady.

Operation Deliberate Force -- Aug.- Sept. 1995 -- Bosnia; 2nd MAW conducted air strikes into Bosnia in support of UN resolutions.

Operation Vigilant Sentinel -- Aug. 1995-present -- Persian Gulf; Deployment in support of CENTCOM deterence of Iraqi aggression.

Operation Fairwinds -- Nov. 1995- May 1996 -- Haiti; security provided for Navy Mobile Construction Bn. and USAF engineer unit.

Operation Joint Endeavor -- Dec. 1995- present --- Adriatic Sea and Bosnia; theater reserve for USCINC EUR and SACEUR in support of NATO operations to implement the military tasks of the Dayton Peace Accords.

Operation Assured Response -- April-Aug. 1996 -- Liberia; noncombatant evacuation operations at the embassy in Monrovia; security mission.

Chemical/Biological Incident Response Force formed -- April 1996 -- formed for crisis response to chemical/biological incidents, provide training to DoN personnel, and function as a testbed for new equipment, techniques and procedures for Chem/Bio. agent use. 14 July- 6 Aug. 1996 -- CBIRF deployed to Olympic Games

Operation Quick Response -- May-Aug 1996 -- Bangui, Central African Republic; embassy security operations and NEOs

Operation Desert Focus -- July 1996-present -- Southwest Asia; utilized in the aftermath of Khobar bombings in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; counterintelligence operations as part of JTF-SWA.



02-10-05, 09:42 AM