SMALL BOATS, BIG JOBS
What are the roles of a coastal riverine group?
COASTAL RIVERINE FORCES PERFORM MYRIAD ROLES IN MARITIME SECURITY
CEPEK: We’re a maritime expeditionary force that
provides port/harbor security. We also do what we call
high-value asset security — escorting ships that are of
high value. We do maritime security operations in the
coastal, inland and, now, with the Mark VI [patrol boat],
farther out. We are normally postured to defend high-value ships and pieces of land in the harbor, but our
forces are also prepared to do offensive combat operations in the maritime domain. Some examples of that
would be surface warfare support, mine countermeasure
[MCM] operation support, maritime infrastructure protection, maritime interdiction operation support and
harbor defense, both for afloat units and port security.
We also do security support. If there is a supply
ship out there in the Pacific or Persian Gulf, it has got
one of our embarked security teams onboard.
What kinds of boats does your group operate?
CEPEK: As a force, between [Coastal Riverine] Group One
and Group Two, we have, right now, eight — soon to be
12 — Mark VI patrol boats. We have 122 34-foot patrol
boats and 18 smaller 25-foot patrol boats. And then we
have the variety of the riverine craft — riverine patrol
boats, riverine assault boats and riverine command boats.
Does your group share deployment
responsibilities with CRG- 1?
CEPEK: We certainly do. By providing the forward-deployed task force commanders with ready forces, I
don’t think there is a day that goes by where I’m not
calling my counterpart on the West Coast at least two
or three times because, collectively, we have three
active-duty component and four Reserve component
squadrons that are in the rotation together. So we
have to ensure that we’re synchronized and preparing
them for deployment, because the forward-deployed
squadrons operate in very dynamic environments. It is
critical that we compare notes.
Do coastal riverine forces have a role in theater
security cooperation when deployed?
CEPEK: Certainly. Just like any naval force that is out
As Commander, Coastal Riverine
Group Two (CRG- 2), CAPT.
ROBERT J. CEPEK is responsi-
ble for training and equipping the
crews of the East Coast coastal
riverine squadrons and maintain-
ing their boats. His squadrons
deploy overseas to the Persian
Gulf, Western Pacific and any-
where else their boats are required.
He has served seven sea tours with units of the Atlantic
and Pacific Fleets, and has participated in multiple
deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, the Western
Pacific, the Arabian Gulf and the Caribbean.
Cepek served shore-duty assignments at the U.S. Naval
Postgraduate School and Joint Advanced Warfighting
School, as strategy and policy analyst on the staff of
U.S. Joint Forces Command, and as the operations officer for Commander, Navy Surface Fleet Atlantic.
He commanded the frigate USS Kauffman before
joining the coastal riverine community as deputy commander of CRG- 2. He assumed command of the group
on April 29, 2016.
Cepek discussed the activities and goals of the coastal
riverine community with Managing Editor Richard R.
Burgess. Excerpts follow: