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US Navy refines distributive operational concepts in Red Sea

USS Laboon is one of the US Navy ships being operated in a distributed manner in the Red Sea. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

The US Navy (USN) is relying on greater manoeuvring and expanding its patrol and control zones through distributive maritime operations (DMO) with its ships in the Red Sea, according to Rear Admiral Marc Miguez, then commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Two, which is overseeing these operations.

โ€œI have distributed maritime operations,โ€ Rear Adm Miguez told Janes on 11 June during an interview in the Red Sea onboard USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69), which anchors the strike group.

Rear Adm Miguez has since left strike group command to become USN chief of legislative affairs in Washington, DC.

โ€œI have that across Gulf of Aden and in the Red Sea,โ€ he said.

Conducting that kind of DMO expands the bubble for those USN operations and also makes it more difficult to target navy assets.

โ€œWe are not tightly congested,โ€ Rear Adm Miguez explained. โ€œThe ships are out and about. We are manoeuvring the force a lot more than we used to.โ€

The distribution of these forces makes it easier to use individual ships for escort missions or other security needs, he noted. โ€œI have my forces arrayed as far out as I can, command-and-control wise.โ€

He added, โ€œI can feed them intel โ€“ โ€˜UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] coming your wayโ€™ or see if they provide assistance to a nearby vessel. Iโ€™m able to do this not only with the US ships, but with coalition partners. We have been able to work out the command-and-control of that to support to defend ships of high-risk value.โ€

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