U.S. Transportation Command began a large-scale sealift readiness exercise Sept. 16, as part of its Turbo Activation exercise series, ordering dozens of ships to sea.
These exercises typically involve only a few ships but this event targets 28 vessels for activation to provide a better assessment of the readiness of U.S. sealift forces than can be accomplished with fewer activations. This scale will also stress the underlying support network involved in maintaining, manning and operating the nation’s ready sealift forces.
Turbo Activation has, since 1994, served as a no-notice recurring exercise series, sponsored and monitored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and USTRANSCOM. This is the fourth Turbo Activation exercise this year.
This USTRANSCOM exercise rapidly activates a mix of U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command and U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration ships on the East, West, and Gulf Coasts.
The exercise validates the readiness of selected ships and tests their ability to meet activation time standards and Department of Defense mission requirements. The activated ships are directed to transition from a reduced operating status to a fully crewed status, with the quarters made habitable and cargo gear ready, within five days. Activations are commonly followed immediately by a sea trial.
MARAD maintains the Ready Reserve Force, which is a fleet of 46 militarily useful ships. This fleet, located throughout the country, is maintained in a reserve status in the event that the Department of Defense needs these ships to support the rapid, massive movement of military supplies and troops for a military exercise or large-scale conflict.
The ships are managed by commercial companies and crewed by civilian merchant mariners. MSC, USTRANSCOM’s maritime component, in close coordination with MARAD, operates, supplies, and maintains the ships that provide logistics support, conduct special missions, move military equipment, supply combat forces, provide humanitarian relief, and strategically position combat cargo around the world.
USTRANSCOM projects and sustains military power globally in order to assure our friends and allies, deter potential adversaries, and if necessary, respond to win decisively.
For questions contact USTRANSCOM Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This comes after a March 2019 testimony of the head of Transcom and MARAD on the poor state of the force due to deferred maintenance and age of some of the vessels