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Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Stands Up

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060113-16

By Journalist Seaman Katrina Scampini, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Naval anti-terrorism and force protection (ATFP) took a step forward Jan. 13, as the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) was officially established in a ceremony conducted at their headquarters at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va.

NECC will consolidate the current missions and functions of the 1st Naval Construction Division, Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force and Maritime Force Protection Command. NECC will also serve as functional commander in control of manning, training, equipping and organizing forces that will execute ATFP, shore-based logistical support and construction missions across the joint operational spectrum.

“I’m proud to work with the men and women who work in expeditionary operations,” said Rear Adm. Donald Bullard, NECC's first commander. “They are doing wonderful work for our country.”

Between 40,000 and 50,000 Sailors will join the command in phases over the next two years to ensure current operations are not disrupted.

The command will oversee units ranging from bomb-disposal crews, expeditionary logistics specialists, the naval coastal warfare groups and the master-at-arms forces. The NECC will also provide the 5,000 to 7,000 Sailors supporting the Army and Marine Corps in the Middle East with proper training for these non-traditional jobs.

“It’s time to recognize the need of the young men and women at war on the dirt,” said Bullard.

In addition to the consolidation of forces, NECC will also form a new river combat force to assume maritime security operations in the Iraqi waterways currently being done by the Marine Corps.

“The riverine crew’s mission include stemming the flow of illegal drugs, cutting lines of communication for terrorists, stopping pirates and basically making the ports more secure and safe,” said Bullard.

According to Bullard, later this year the command will begin to form the first of three squadrons, which are expected to have 12 boats and about 200 personnel. The first squadron is expected to be operational in early 2007.

“As the timeline evolves, this will take a few years. It’s an initial growth with people and knowledge,” said Bullard.

The NECC aims to work closely, but not compete, with the Marine Corps to support, augment and reduce their operational load.

“The NECC has an ongoing discussion with Marines. Our procedures must be in sync with Marines in order for this to work,” said Bullard.

Although NECC operations and equipment requirements are still being defined, Bullard said the command will continue to look for better effective and efficient training and to capitalize on the command’s synergies through the different training programs.

“The enemy is always evolving. We need an organization that understands this and can get ahead of them,” said Bullard.

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