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New Expeditionary Strike Group to Enhance Navy-Marine Corps Team

Navy Newsstand

12/31/2002 11:19:00 AM

By Journalist 3rd Class Jessica Davis, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, HI (NNS) -- In 2003, the Pacific Fleet will conduct a pilot deployment that hopes to add teeth and firepower to an already potent Navy-Marine Corps fighting team.

An expeditionary strike group (ESG), centered around USS Peleliu (LHA 5), will provide surface and submarine force war fighting capability to the traditional amphibious ready group (ARG). The concept is a part of the Chief of Naval Operations' Sea Power 21.

"The need for expeditionary strike groups arose last fall during the global war on terrorism, when Atlantic Fleet's amphibious ready group, the USS Baatan ARG, needed surface warfare capability and was joined by surface combatants. This encouraged pilot deployments for the ESGs," said Adm. Walter F. Doran, Pacific Fleet commander.

ESGs would enable the fleets to cover more parts of the world effectively, providing highly mobile, self-sustaining forces that are able to undertake missions across the entire spectrum of operations.

Currently, ARGs include an amphibious assault ship with a Marine expeditionary unit, a dock landing ship and an amphibious transport ship.

The Peleliu ESG will be comprised of the ship and its embarked marine expeditionary unit, USS Dubuque (LPD 8), USS Germantown (LSD 42), cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73), destroyer Decatur (DDG 73), fast frigate USS Jarrett (FFG 33) and submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754).

An Atlantic Fleet ESG will also be deploying next year. The Pacific and Atlantic Fleets' ESG deployments have fundamental differences. Doran said the experiments look different on each coast, the Pacific ESG having a flag officer in command with an operational staff, allowing the opportunity to compare and learn from two different approaches.

"We will also experiment this concept early next year during Exercise Tandum Thrust. In the Asia-Pacific region, I have a need for ESG in the very near term," said Doran.

The ESG concept allows the Navy to field 12 Expeditionary Strike Groups and 12 Carrier Battle Groups, in addition to surface action groups.

"As the CNO stated, the ESG concept could almost double the number of independent operational groups the Navy can deploy in the future, from 19 to 38," Doran said.

Doran added that ESGs will allow the U.S. to remain engaged in leadership because they're able to act quickly in defending the interests of the United States.

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