Operations in Riverine and Inner Waterways Environment

Operations in Riverine and Inner Waterways Environment | © Deutsche Marine

With seventy percent of the world’s population living less than one hundred kilometers from the sea and with the vast proportion of the rest of the population living in the vicinity of major arterial waterways, the control of the riverine and inner waterways environment to enable and sustain operations will be an essential capability for the military commander. 

It is expected that the use of coastal areas and inland waterways for military operations will increase with a focus on areas where communication and transport are waterborne and where waterways provide or support the social and economic infrastructure.

At a time of economic uncertainty and budget concerns within virtually all governments, military spending has been greatly impacted across the globe.  In this environment it is essential that militaries maximize the value they provide to their individual nations as well as strive to provide value to existing alliances and any existing or potential coalitions. 

The recent restructuring of the German Armed Forces was done under these conditions.  The creation of the Sea Battalion during this restructuring is of great interest to the COE CSW. 

NATO nations already have significant riverine capabilities and the aim of this project is to provide a clear and pragmatic way ahead to the Sea Battalion to implement a riverine OPS capability that will be deployable, interoperable and enduring in order to support NATO or coalition operations.  
In the early stages of developing a riverine capability the recommended focus will be on the defensive riverine roles outlined in ATP-8(B), Chapter 11, protect friendly lines of communication, deny hostile forces the use of waterways, collect intelligence information, perform security missions and enforce population and resources control.

Key to developing the way ahead will be close coordination with other NATO nations and the CJOS COE.  Liaison work has already be done between the COE CSW and 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1 AGRM), 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines (539 ASRM) and the RNLN Riverine Knowledge Centre. CJOS COE is working with the French Navy on improving their riverine capabilities and the two COEs are sharing resources in areas such as analysis of other nation’s current capabilities and analysis of commercially available systems and industry developments.

Our aim is to provide a clear and pragmatic way ahead to the Sea Battalion to implement a riverine OPS capability

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