This week: Snap readiness exercise of ‘unprecedented’ size for U.S. sealift fleet

This week: Snap readiness exercise of ‘unprecedented’ size for U.S. sealift fleet
SS Cape May, Norfolk-based MARAD Sealift ship. Wikipedia: . By US military sea lift command -, Public Domain, Link

[Ed. – Not sure this is the biggest ever, but quite probably the biggest since the end of the Cold War.  Interesting train of developments after resurrecting Second Fleet, resuming regular Navy and Air Force presence in the North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea, etc.  Some of the numbers cited in the Drive article are sobering, in terms of how lax readiness requirements and funding had gotten by the end of Obama’s tenure.]

U.S. Transportation Command, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command and the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, kicked off a massive snap sealift exercise yesterday across the United States. It involves an unprecedented 28 ships from the Ready Reserve Force, a fleet of support ships with merchant marine crews that would be vital during any large scale conflict, but which has experienced serious readiness problems in recent years leading to concerns that they would be unable to support a sustained conflict abroad.

The exercise, aptly nicknamed Turbo Activation, began on Sept. 16, 2019, and involves crews from the Ready Reserve Force getting no-notice orders to “activate” their ships and get them ready for operations. …

This stress testing is particularly important at present given very serious concerns about the readiness of these ships, which emerged in detail earlier this year. As of March 2019, of the combined 61 ships in MSC and MARAD’s reserve fleets, 13 of them, or more than 20 percent of the total, were not mission capable. …

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Turbo Activation exercises between 2010 and 2018 involved 127 attempted activations, in total, 10 percent of which were unsuccessful, according to a study from the RAND Corporation earlier this year.

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