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Military

Expeditionary Strike Group

NAVSEA Observer

Release Date: 11/20/2002

By NAVSEA Office of Public Affairs


In-Depth Coverage

The Expeditionary Strike Group - sometimes called an Expeditionary Strike Force - is a revamped amphibious ready group with the ability to disperse strike capabilities across a greater range of the force, increasing the striking power in the amphibious ready group.

This concept is based on an earlier one, introduced in the early 1990s, called a Naval Expeditionary Task Force that was also based on the idea that naval forces could be grouped in varying combinations.

The expeditionary strike group - made up of amphibious ships, cruisers, destroyers and submarines - is a departure from the typical carrier battle group/amphibious ready group structure. An expeditionary strike group could include amphibious ships, a destroyer, cruiser, frigate, attack submarine and a P-3C Orion land-based aircraft. The new mix, which deploys in place of the amphibious ready group, allows Navy and Marine Corps forces to launch Marines and landing craft as warships and submarines strike inland targets with missiles and shells. Currently, each amphibious ready group is made up of an amphibious assault ship, a dock landing ship and an amphibious transport dock. Cruisers and destroyers deploy with carrier battle groups.

During the conflict in Afghanistan the Navy experimented with adding capabilities to the traditional three-ship ARGs, two of which were operating together in the North Arabian Sea region at the height of the conflict. The Navy attached to its ARGs near Afghanistan Aegis-equipped surface warships, a USS Spruance (DD-963)-class destroyer; a submarine for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); and the links to the P-3 AIP aircraft.

The first Expeditionary Strike Groups will deploy for the first time in 2003. The first deployment will be a pilot program and will be studied before any changes occur fleetwide. An Expeditionary Strike Group centered around the USS Saipan and the 22nd MEU will be the first East Coast based unit to deploy, followed by the Peleliu ESG from the West Coast.

The Saipan will reportedly deploy in August 2003 with its usual compliment of LPDs and LSDs plus one other vessel of unknown type but will borrow three other ships from the Enterprise Battle Group which is to deploy roughly around the same time. The ships assigned to the Saipan ESG will be LPD 15 Ponce, LSD 44 Gunston Hall, CG 58 Philippine Sea, DDG 66 Gonzalez, FFG 47 Nicholas, and SSN 755 Miami. It will be commanded by a commodore which is generally what would command an Amphibious Ready Group.

The Peleliu ESG will be commanded by a rear admiral in an experiment to determine which of the two options works out best. The Peleliu will reportedly deploy in November 2003 with six other vessels that are detached from a carrier, and the Peleliu will deploy at roughly the same time as a Carrier Battle Group. The Peleliu ESG will include LPD 8 Dubuque, LSD 42 Germantown, CG 73 Port Royal, DDG 73 Decatur, FFG 33 Jarrett and SSN 754 Topeka.

The Inter-deployment Training Cycle will be altered in that an ESGEX will be added. It is unclear if this would take place instead of a JTFEX as details are still developing. The decision as to whether or not the ESG concept will be fully adopted has not been made. The current theory is that a decision for additional ESGs would be made in late 2003 depending on how effective the ESGs were.



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