Roughead speaks to the Sailors and Soldiers of Provincial Reconstruction Team Khost, Afghanistan, Dec. 22 after
awarding several of them Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
tant to me will be to get from the combatant commanders what they see as their requirements. Even
though there’s been a lot of discussion about that,
those requirements are still not that well defined.
I [also] have sought out, as I’ve met with international partners, opportunities to not only train with
them, but to learn from them, because we used to have
a pretty robust Riverine force in Vietnam. We got out
of the business. We’re getting back in the business now.
There are some countries whose navies operate in
that environment and, rather than come in and say, “I
have this Riverine force and I want to exercise with
some of my friends internationally,” I’ve said, “You
have a great Riverine force and I’d like to learn from
you.” … We’re going to be marching down that path,
because our Riverine force experience right now has
been in Iraq. We’ve trained in the states and we’ve put
them in different environments, but I’d really like them
to be able to train in some other riparian, for them to
operate Riverine forces in different types of rivers.
If you have to draw down in Iraq and build up
in Afghanistan, what impact will that have on
the Individual Augmentee (IA) program?
ROUGHEAD: Our IA program is going to continue at the
level where it is, at least probably for the next couple of
years. There has been no other issue, since I’ve been a
senior leader in the Navy, that has focused the senior
leadership more than the IA program. It’s a different way
of employing our Navy and it requires a completely different approach. It requires different assignment policies,
training policies and family-support policies.
We didn’t get it started very well, but we have been
working mightily to get it to where our people are notified earlier, that their training is appropriate to the task
to which they’re assigned.
We have greater visibility once our Sailors get in
country as to whether or not there’s a re-missioning,
which is something that’s very important. We train for
some fairly specific missions, and if that Sailor gets remissioned, then we have to make a risk assessment.
Was the training appropriate to what the new job is
going to be?
I’m anticipating that we’ll see some increase in
Afghanistan, but [with] the type of work [IAs are]
doing in Iraq [their numbers are] not going to draw
down as quickly [there.]
I can’t say enough about the work that our folks are
doing and their value coming not just from their skills
and their attitude, but from our culture. Sailors just
have a different way of coming at a problem. We come
in, we see what has to be done, we self-organize and
when our tour is about over, we wrap it up and put it
in a condition that the person who takes over from us
will be more successful than we were. That’s how we
are. The Army, Air Force and Marine commanders
SEAPOWER / MAY 2009