Amid Amphib Shortfall, Marines to Board NATO Ships for Africa Missions | Military.com: Marine Corps leaders badly want their troops aboard an amphibious ship patrolling the African coast -- even if that ship isn't American.
Senior officials are in talks with multiple NATO nations about the logistics of putting a company-sized element of Marines aboard an allied ship to provide presence, patrol hot spots and conduct theater security cooperation missions with African militaries, Military.com has learned.
It's part of the Allied Maritime Basing Initiative, launched in 2015 as a stopgap measure to maintain presence in the European theater amid a shortage of U.S. amphibious ships. In tests, Marines spent time aboard Dutch, Spanish and French ships, and an MV-22 Osprey crew embarked aboard a Spanish amphib.
In an interview, the commander of Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, Maj. Gen. Niel Nelson, said the command is working through a cost analysis for putting Marines aboard an allied ship for a lengthy mission -- 30 to 60 days -- for bilateral and theater security cooperation exercises.
Another senior official, Col. Martin Wetterauer, commander of the 8th Marine Regiment, said the likely destination of the deployment would be the Gulf of Guinea, a region off the coast of West Africa known as a hotbed for piracy.
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