Military Experts Warn of Extreme Dangers to American Troops Building Floating Pier off Gaza Coast

AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

Military experts are sounding the alarm over President Biden’s floating Gaza pier plan, where the administration will construct an offshore pier to be used to get more food and supplies to refugees in the war-torn region. Biden announced the operation during his March 7 State of the Union speech, but it was received with mixed reaction.

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A Man, a Plan... A Temporary Port in Gaza? Are You Nuts?


The Washington Post revealed in a Sunday piece that military experts have told them the mission will put our forces at risk:

The Biden administration’s plan to install a floating pier off the Gaza coast as part of a broad international initiative to feed starving Palestinians will endanger the U.S. service members who must build, operate and defend the structure from attack, military experts say, a risk with enormous political consequences for the president should calamity strike.

Little is known about the actual plan:

While the Pentagon maintains that no U.S. troops will deploy into Gaza, it has disclosed little about how long the operation could last and how it intends to ensure the safety of those involved, alarming some in Congress and other critics of the president’s plan. Military officials declined to answer questions from The Washington Post about where the pier will be located and what security measures will be taken, citing a desire not to telegraph its plans.

Work is already underway preparing the pier in Newport News, Virginia.  

Army, Navy and civilian stevedores are now massed at the Port of Virginia’s Newport News Marine Terminal working 24 hours a day. They are loading the pieces of the modular causeway and other equipment that will build the pier to Gaza and the floating dock two miles offshore. Under the current plan, the cargo ships will drop off aid at offshore to be ferried to the pier by U.S. Army watercraft, U.S. Navy Capt. Jamie Murdock, commodore of Military Sealift Command Atlantic, told reporters on Friday.

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But Hamas and other terrorist groups will see it as a prime target to strike at Americans:

The Americans’ fixed proximity to the fighting and the intense anger at the United States for its support of Israel will render the pier an enticing target for Hamas or another of the region’s militant groups — many of whom receive arms and military guidance from adversary Iran, skeptics of the operation warn. Rocket fire, attack drones and divers or speedboats hauling explosives all will pose a threat, they said.

Paul Kennedy, a retired Marine Corps general who led major humanitarian operations after natural disasters in Nepal and the Philippines, called it a “worthy goal” for the United States to reduce civilian suffering in Gaza. But he questioned whether the U.S. military is the proper entity to be involved.

Some of the experts brought up past disasters like the deadly terrorist bombings in Beirut in 1983 that killed 241 servicemembers and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, which left 13 troops dead, as examples of what we face when we post our forces in hard-to-secure locales.

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“If a bomb went off in that location,” he [Kennedy] said, “the American public will ask, ‘What the hell were they doing there in the first place?’”

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