SURFACE WARFARE OFFICERS SCHOOL COMMAND
DEPARTMENT HEAD COMBAT SYSTEMS
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND
TITLE: OPS SPECIAL EVOLUTIONS
There are many evolutions which the Operations Officer will encounter during his/her tour, too numerous to mention here. The best way to prepare for these is to read and annotate the OPORDERS and important instructions applicable to your fleet and squadron or group. What follows is a discussion of some major evolutions.
I. LERTCONS: CNSP OPORD 201 ANNEX C, APP 22
In the event of a national emergency, a series of seven different alert Conditions (LERTCONs) can be called. The 7 LERTCONs are broken down into 5 Defense Conditions (DEFCONs) and 2 Emergency Conditions (EMERGCONs).
DEFCONs are phased increases in combat readiness. In general terms, these are descriptions of DEFCONs:
DEFCON 5 Normal peacetime readiness
DEFCON 4 Normal, increased intelligence and strengthened security measures
DEFCON 3 Increase in force readiness above normal readiness
DEFCON 2 Further Increase in force readiness, but less than maximum readiness
DEFCON 1 Maximum force readiness.
EMERGCONs are national level reactions in response to ICBM (missiles in the air) attack. By definition, other forces go to DEFCON 1 during an EMERGCON.
DEFENSE EMERGENCY: Major attack upon U.S. forces overseas, or allied forces in any area, and is confirmed either by the commander of a unified or specified command or higher authority or an overt attack of any type is made upon the United States and is confirmed by the commander of a unified or specified command or higher authority.
AIR DEFENSE EMERGENCY: Emergency which exists when attack upon Continental United States, Alaska, Canada, or U.S. installations in Greenland by hostile aircraft or missiles is considered probable, is imminent, or is taking place.
II. NOTIONAL NR: OPLAN 2200 (LANT)
OPLAN 5000 (PAC)
Notional numbers, or Force Requirement Numbers (FRN), are assigned to all ships by the Joint Commanders. Their function is to provide for the disposition of forces during a National Emergency. A Notional Number List is promulgated Quarterly with updates as necessary.
- find your ship on this list and note the number
- in the General War Plans pub, OP-5000 (PAC) OPLAN 2200 (LANT), find your Notional Number and determine your ship’s duties. The pub is classified top secret.
- not all taskings in the pub are classified at that level. If they can be disseminated to ALL Command Duty Officers, you may do so, provided that upon changes you notify them. If this is not the case or your ship’s policy, place a copy of the Notional Number List in the CDO’s safe with instructions on how to obtain access to the safe which contains the pub.
III. EMERGENCY SORTIE: C3/7F OPORD 201 PG C-19-1
CPF OPORD 201 APP H
C3F OPORD 301 PG C-11-A-1 "KENT RUNNER"
Port SOPA’s promulgate emergency sortie instructions for their area of responsibility. Emergency sortie plans are contingency operations to evacuate ports in an orderly way in the event of national or local emergency. These plans are often implemented in the event of hurricanes or other dangerous weather. Ensure that:
- a copy of the Sortie plan, sortie comm circuits, task organization, and formatted message blanks are available to the CDO.
- all CDO’s and other important duty personnel are trained in the use of emergency sortie materials and the actions to prepare for heavy weather.
- "Kent Runner" is an emergency sortie exercise conducted in PACFLT. Refer to C3F OPORD 301 for specifics.
IV. SPECIAL EVOLUTION FOLDERS
The Operations Officer should maintain folders with readily accessible and current information for important evolutions when quick reaction is essential. These folders need not be the stand-alone source for a contingency, but in order for them to be effective they must be the complete companion to nearby reference pubs. Special evolution folders are:
- kept in the vicinity of where they would be needed, typically the wardroom for inport use and CIC for underway use.
- kept with other necessary references.
- written and organized to be immediately understood by the person expected to execute it.
- contain as much prior research and work as possible: pertinent sections of pubs are highlighted, message blanks are pre-formatted, examples are given, decision trees provided, etc.
- contain local instruction sheets or check lists (including times), important phone numbers or radio frequencies.
The types of folders to maintain will vary by ship type and employment. Examples of common special evolutions are:
-OPREP-3 reportable incidents
-Drug Interdiction/Suspect shipping lists
There are others. For example, ships on deployment to the SEVENTH Fleet AOR should have a folder in the event refugees are sighted on the high seas.
V. PREPARATION FOR OVERSEAS MOVEMENT (POM)
CNSLINST 3500.3E "POM GUIDE"
CNSP PRINTOUT PER SHIP CLASS
CNSP POM GUIDE
C7F OPORD 201
CNSP OPORD 201 PG K-6-A-1 "COMM PREDEP CHECK LIST"
PG K-6-B-1 "VISUAL PREDEP CHECK LIST"
POM is a period prior to ship’s deployment during which the ship prepares for the deployment. There are materiel preparations, logistics planning, training goals, and personnel management actions to accomplish during this period. The Operations Officer schedules and frequently coordinates the shipwide POM effort through the Planning Board for Training (PBFT).
Examples of POM preparations include:
- attaining the highest CRTNG rating before CHOP. Well before the POM period begins, schedule those ship exercises needed to attain a minimum rating of C-2 in every mission area.
- review deployment publications such as COMSIXTHFLT Pre-Deployment Manual or COMSEVENTHFLT OPORD 201 for policies and procedures that will impact your ship.
- arrange for schooling for reliefs that will replace personnel with PRD’s during the course of deployment. (NEC/skill level continuity)
- topside preservation, equipment testing, and prudent stocking of consumables and repair parts.
- assist the crew in its personal preparations for deployment. Allotments to dependent families are vital.
- family separation briefings and OMBUDSMEN identification
It is vital that Operations Officers have a working knowledge of their Fleet and Type Commanders’ OPORDERs, whether in a deployed status or not. There is no substitute for simply reading them with a highlighter. Certain sections of OPORDERs will be more important to you than others. The most important of these follow:
Annex A for Task Organization, the composition of the force.
Annex C for Operations, cruising instructions, SOA limits, actions associated with getting underway (or failure to). This is the most important annex for the Operations Officer.
Annex D for Logistics, including MATCONOFF procedures, and procedures for obtaining supplies afloat.
Annex R for Reports.
The layout of an OPORDER is:
Example: ANNEX C, APPENDIX 3, TAB C, ENCLOSURE 1 would be C-3.C. 1
VII. OTHER SPECIAL OPERATIONS AND EVOLUTIONS
A. PROJECT HANDCLASP: OPNAVINST 5726.3C
PROJECT HANDCLASP is a program supported by the Federal Government and private organizations which delivers humanitarian goods to disadvantaged areas. Ships making port calls to a particular area may be tasked to carry several pallets of humanitarian goods (rice, canned goods, medical supplies, sewing machines, tools, clothes, etc.) to a village, school, hospital, orphanage, etc. PROJECT HANDCLASP is a high visibility program, and as such, the handclasp material must be strictly accounted for.
B. HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE (H.A):
FM 100-23-1 "Multi-service Procedures for H.A."
Tacmemo XZ0021-1-95 "Naval Expeditionary Forces Conducting H.A."
EXTAC 1011 "Naval H.A. Missions"
Joint Pub 3-07 "Joint Doctrine for MOOTW"
H.A operations relieve or reduce the results of natural or man-made disaters or other pandemic conditions such as human pain, disease, hunger, or privation in countries or regions outside the U.S. Limited in scope and duration, H.A. is intended to supplement or complement efforts of Host Nation civil authorities or agencies. DOD provides assistance when the relief need is gravely urgent and when the humanitarian emergency overwhelms the ability of normal relief agencies to effectively respond. H.A may cover a broad range of missions including security, logistics, C4I and planning. U.S Military forces participate in three basic types of H.A. operations:
1. Those coordinated by the United Nations
2. Those where the U.S acts in concert with multinational forces
3. Those where the U.S responds unilaterally
Examples of H.A. operations include Sea Angel, conducted to provide assistance in the aftermath of devastating floods in Bangladesh; Restore Hope, which provided famine relief in Somalia; and Provide Comfort, which assisted refugees in Iraq following the Gulf War.
EXTAC 1011 and TACMEMO XZ0021-1-95 discuss sea-based H.A. Operations in detail.
OPNAVINST 5350.6A "Navy Community Service Program"
Ships may be asked or may volunteer to conduct civic action or community service projects during a port visit. Such projects, like painting an orphanage, giving tours to school children, reforesting areas, or assisting with the refurbishment of a nursing home, are high visibility activities which present a positive image of the U.S. Navy. Civic Action projects conducted by sailors and marines on USS NASSAU (LHA-4) in Toulon, France, received national attention, film clips of which were shown on the "Today" show.
D. DISASTER RELIEF:
CPF OPORD 201 ANNEX G
CNSP OPORD 201
Unlike H.A., Disaster Relief operations are conducted in the United States. Amphibious ships are most frequently called upon to provide disaster relief to an area stricken by a natural disaster, such as a flood (Mississippi River), earthquake (San Francisco, ’89) or hurricane (Iniki or Andrew). Such assistance may be in the form of bringing humanitarian supplies, building shelters, medical or dental assistance, providing water and power, or even evacuating personnel from threatened or damaged areas. Disaster Relief may take other forms. Amphibious ships (LPD and an LSD), landing craft, and crews provided months of round-the-clock assistance during the clean-up of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound.
E. OPLIFT/LIFT OF OPPORTUNITY:
Department of Defense will use ships sailing to and from the continental United States to overseas areas to transport personal goods and government equipment. Because of their lift capacity, amphibious ships routinely get tasked with OPLIFTS (hence the term "Gator Freighter"). CLF and auxiliary ships are also tasked from time to time. OPLIFTS may be anything from transporting horses or cars from Norfolk to Guantanamo Bay Cuba, to heavy equipment, aircraft, and machinery to Okinawa. Frequently, ships returning from West Pac will transport POV’s bought by service personnel stationed overseas back to CONUS.
F. NONCOMBATANT EVACUATION OPERATIONS (NEO):
CINCPAC CONPLAN 5060
CPF OPORD 201
C7F OPORD 201 PG C-23-1
CPR2 STANAMOPORD ANNEX X
XZ0057-1-92 "Maritime Conduct of NEO"
EXTAC 1010 "Non-combatant Evacuation Operations"
NEO entails evacuating U.S. citizens and State Department designated personnel from a particular area to U.S. Navy ships, and is one of the most important missions of amphibious forces in the Western Pacific, Mediterranean, and Caribbean areas. Such operations may be carried out in a permissive or non-permissive environment, either of which may or may not be "threatening". NEO operations have been routinely conducted in the past (Lebanon in 1958, Vietnam in 1976, and Grenada in 1983). More recently, numerous NEOs have been conducted on the African continent in the 1990s. For example, in May 1997, Operation NOBLE OBELISK in Sierra Leone saw the rescue of over 2,500 civilians from forty different nations, including 360 Americans.
G. LAW ENFORCEMENT OPERATIONS (LEO)/DRUG INTERDICTION OPS/LEDET:
CLF OPORD 2000-88
C3F OPORD 230
SWDG TM XZ0050-1-90
COAST GUARDINST M16247.1
Navy ships have been active in supporting the U.S. Coast Guard and other Federal law enforcement agencies in their efforts to stop drugs from coming into the U.S. This support has taken several forms: towing or escorting seized vessels, transporting prisoners, providing logistic support for COGARD patrol units, or providing air and surface surveillance. A COGARD Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) may embark on a navy ship to assist in the coordination of operations with Coast Guard units and other participating agencies, or to effect seizures or arrests under Posse comitatus requirements.
H. REFUGEE RESCUE:
C3/7F OPORD 201 PG C-6-B-1
CINCLANTFLT NORFOLK VA//NOO// 071405Z JUL 91
During the 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s, U.S. Navy ships were routinely called upon to help lift refugees, whether it was rescuing Haitian refugees in the Caribbean, transporting Cubans in the Mariel Boat Lift of 1980, or picking up Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea. Generally, these operations are not pre-planned or organized, but occur spontaneously as Navy ships on patrol run across boat refugees and provide immediate assistance. Such evolutions are highly visible and highly political, requiring policy and guidance from the respective fleet commanders. Within the limits of normal operations, all units are to be vigilant to the possibility of encountering refugees in distress and are to extend humanitarian assistance as required. The following specific actions will be taken as necessary:
1. Maintain current surface plots of all refugee vessels located in the general area of operations.
2. Provide for collection of necessary data, maintenance of appropriate records, and submission of required reports.
3. When a refugee craft is encountered, ascertain whether those embarked require assistance (food, fuel, water, medical assistance, navigation equipment or position information) and take appropriate steps to provide such assistance as required. Concurrently, report to higher authority. USCG/INS assets may be brought in to take over the situation.
4. If refugees encountered at sea are experiencing, or are likely to experience, undue hardship or if circumstances (E.G. adverse weather, pirates in vicinity, unseaworthy vessel, etc.) are such that death might ensue, refugees should be embarked.
5. If there are any deceased among the embarked refugee party, or if a refugee expires onboard, remains are to be appropriately buried at sea prior to arrival at next port of call. Burials at sea are not to be conducted within any country’s claimed territorial waters.
6. In the event refugees are embarked by U.S. Navy vessels, the abandoned refugee craft should be sunk to eliminate any hazard to navigation. In situations where the abandoned refugee craft is not disposed of through sinking, all practical actions should be taken to minimize its posing a navigational hazard (E.G. submission of a hazard to navigation report, marking vessel with metal radar reflectors, etc.)
7. Embarked refugees will be transferred as soon as possible to USCG/INS assets. If no USCG/INS assets are readily available to effect the transfer, U.S. Naval ships will transport refugees to next port of call. To the maximum extent possible in transporting the refugees, rerouting, termination of operations, or delays in onward movement are to be avoided.
8. In no case will refugees be accepted from, or discharged to merchant ships or foreign navy vessels.
9. Report each confirmed refugee boat sighting or assistance event by immediate precedence OPREP-3 PINNACLE message. If refugees are embarked, or in the event of an emergency or other significant situation, a flash precedence OPREP-3 PINNACLE message will be submitted.
10. Refugee debarkation assistance request and, if required, diplomatic clearance request, will be immediately initiated by the task force/task group commander or unit Commanding Officer, to the appropriate USN area coordinator. In countries where no USN area coordinator is resident, debarkation assistance request will be sent directly to the appropriate American Embassy/American Consul; include as addees the operational chain of command and the USDAO in the country of anticipated debarkation.
I. HEAVY WEATHER SORTIE:
C3/7F OPORD 201 PG C-19-1
CPF OPORD 201
C3F OPORD 301 PG C-11-A-1 "KENT RUNNER"
Local SOPA and Base Commander Guidance
Ships on both the East and West Coasts and those deployed to Westpac must be ready at all times to sortie from port for hurricane/typhoon avoidance. Sortie to avoid heavy weather is not something that only happens overseas; ships in home-port must be prepared as well. In September of 1991, a dozen ships of the Pacific Fleet sortied from Pearl Harbor to avoid Hurricane Iniki, and more recently, dozens of ships of the Atlantic Fleet sortied from ports along the east coast to avoid Hurricane Bertha in September of 1996. Some Fleets routinely exercise this capability. COMTHIRDFLT has a sortie exercise called "KENT RUNNER" (OPORD 201) which periodically tasks ships to conduct an emergency sortie. CINCLANTFLT routinely conducts hurricane exercises, generally in the early summer, which require designated ships to sortie.
J. CNO PROJECTS:
During the quarterly numbered fleet CINC and TYCOM employment schedule conferences, ships are assigned as support platforms for a wide range of CNO projects. These projects may include testing new equipment and weapon systems, or exercising and experimenting with new tactics. Quality underway time with assets not routinely available (ranges, drones, etc.) can make volunteering for such projects very worthwhile. When assigned to such a project, early and frequent liaison with the ISIC, OPTEVFOR and the project coordinator or SWDG is the key to success.
K. SEARCH AND RESCUE (SAR):
JCS PUB 3-50 "National SAR Manual vol. I"
JCS PUB 3-50.1 "National SAR Manual vol. II
C7F OPORD 201
CLF OPORD 2000
All ships must be prepared to conduct search and rescue operations at a moments notice. Pre-formatted messages and check-off lists should be prepared and reviewed prior to getting underway for any operation in the event a SAR mission is called.
L. HOST SHIP:
Ships may be called upon to host ships returning from deployment. Being host ship involves setting up the pier for the ship’s arrival, coordinating activities with the returning ship’s ombudsman and spouse’s club, and coordinating travel arrangements for personnel going on leave upon arrival.
Ships may also be called upon to host foreign navy ships. Duties may range from providing line handlers, surface transportation and tee-times, to attending and hosting social functions. Guidance may or may not be provided in local SOPA or base instructions. Close liaison with the ISIC and TYCOM are essential.
M. VISIT SHIP:
SECNAVINST 5720.44A (Public Affairs Policy)
Numbered Fleet Guidance
Local Base Guidance
Each naval facility normally allows visiting on Navy ships on weekends or special holidays like the 4th of July or Veterans’ Day. Ship visits consist of a short 20 minute topside tour of the vessel. A clean ship, sharp-looking, gregarious tour guides, and a brief, accurate brochure are fundamental. Although curtailed due to the rise in terrorism, depending on port threat assessment and security available, visit ship occurs overseas on a controlled and limited basis. Ensuring an adequate stock of ship brochures to hand out overseas should be a pre-deployment check-off item.
N. GUEST OF THE NAVY:
SECNAVINST 5720.44A (Public Affairs Policy)
During short transits (to and from the local naval weapons station, etc.), ships may be tasked by SECNAV to host civilian or military guests. These may be local officials or employees of the federal government. The Guest of the Navy program is a good public affairs opportunity and shows the civilian population what life on a Navy ship (underway and inport) is all about.
O. MIDSHIPMEN TRAINING:
NAVEDTRA 37018 (MIDSHIPMEN SUMMER TRAINING MANUAL)
C7F OPORD 201 PG C-16-A-1
Tremendous effort has been placed fleet-wide in the training of midshipmen coming from the Naval Academy or NROTC programs. These programs vary. Normally First and Third class Mids embark on ships for a month during the summer break. The Type Commanders normally select ships with active underway schedules and may form ships into Midshipmen Training Squadrons, or MIDRONs, with an equally busy underway schedule including a variety of good port visits. Each ship should have a Midshipmen Training Officer, assigned from the wardroom, to coordinate midshipmen embarkation/debarkation, administration, and training activities.
P. SPECIAL PORT VISITS:
IAW FLEET CMDR’S OPORD
Showing the flag is a traditional mission of all Navy ships. Sending ships to certain ports can demonstrate U.S. commitment to a country, deter a potential foe, or foster goodwill. Such visits are high visibility, diplomatic missions. Expect close coordination with the Task Group Commander, the numbered fleet staff, the geographic CINC’s staff and the Embassy or Consul staff.
Q. BURIAL AT SEA:
NAVMEDCOMINST 5360.1 "Decedent Affairs Manual"
OPNAVINST 5360.1 "Policy on Funerals"
MILPERSMAN 4210290; 4210300; 4210310
Periodically, ships are tasked to conduct burials-at-sea for veterans. Normally the remains (body) or cremains (ashes) are delivered to the ship just prior to getting underway. The evolution is short, but steeped in ceremony and tradition and needs to be rehearsed at least once. There are a number of required messages, forms, and log entries; attention to detail is paramount.