The United States Army is putting its plan to divest nearly all its Army watercraft on hold – at least for now.
The cease order came from the the office of the Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy in a memo late Wednesday, a source familiar of the order has informed us. Units have also been ordered to put on hold the inactivation of watercraft positions and the transfer of Army mariners to other non-watercraft units.
As gCaptain reported previously, the United States Army this year decided to deactivate and divest nearly all its watercraft and maritime capability, including numerous vessels, watercraft equipment, watercraft systems, soldiers, and units.
Experts say U.S. Army’s maritime capabilities would be drastically reduced under the plan.
Those in favor of the sale argue that the assets were no longer needed due to the Navy’s enhanced seabasing capability with the introduction the Expeditionary Transfer Docks and the proposed replacement of the Navy’s LCAC fleet.
Earlier this month, nearly half of the Army’s 130-some odd watercraft assets were put up for auction on the General Services Administration website. The vessels on the auction block included at least eighteen of the service’s versatile Landing Craft Utility (LCU), as well as multiple tugs, barges and dozens of other landing craft.
The LCUs in particular are a major component of what is known as the Army’s Logistics Over the Shore (LOTS) operations, which ensures the service’s capability to land troops and equipment on unimproved beaches or places where there is no deep draft shipping access. Recent LOTs operations include Operation Promote Liberty in Haiti (1995), Operation Restore Hope in Somalia (1994), and Operation Just Cause in Panama (1989).