China’s Navy Makes Strides, Work Remains To Be Done

Defense News – It’s no secret that China has embarked on a major modernization and expansion plan for its Navy, and its aggressive building program, coupled with the placing in service of more modern submarines, an aircraft carrier, destroyers with ever-sophisticated sensors and a large number of long-range surface-to-surface missiles, is altering politics and strategies throughout the Asian theater. What is not so clear is what sort of fleet the Chinese are building toward, and how far their industrial capability can take them.

Never Surrender the Language

Real Clear Defense – My entreaty to American diplomats and naval leaders is this: yield nothing to China in the South China Sea. Do not compromise on surveillance flights, underwater surveys, or any other part of the law of the sea for the sake of amity with Beijing. Freedom of the sea is indivisible. Let some of it go and the rest is apt to follow. By contrast, exercising high-seas freedoms to the maximum extent lawful represents a statement—backed by steel—that no coastal state may annul or modify basic principles underlying the liberal maritime order.

The Pitfalls of a Maritime Police Force

Real Clear Defense – On Monday EU foreign and defense ministers resolved to use naval power to go after human trafficking at its sources in North Africa. A tidal wave of refugees has crashed on European shores in recent years as tens of thousands of people flee armed strife and economic upheaval in Africa and the Middle East. The Mediterranean Sea has become a conduit for what Germans call a Völkerwanderung, a mass migration across the frontiers of civilization. Large-scale movements of Germanic tribesmen brought havoc to the Roman Empire in its dying days, giving rise to the term. European leaders hope deploying a forward maritime strategy will spare the European Union a Roman fate.

SP-MAGTF Commander Details ISIL Strikes; Notes 1st Marines ‘Could Clear’ Iraq

Breaking Defense – Since early November, three Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys and 26 marines have been on alert at Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait, on 30-minute alert to fly in and rescue a U.S. or coalition pilot downed while bombing or shooting at the Islamic State in Iraq or Syria. On 29 occasions between Nov. 1 and April 24, two Ospreys and a KC-130J aerial refueling tanker assigned to this Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) mission have spent 145 hours loitering in the air as large coalition airstrikes were underway, “ready to swoop in if required,” their former commander says.

U.K. Election Result Boosts Royal Navy Ballistic Missile Submarine Program

USNI News – Had Labour emerged with the most seats in the House of Commons, its hopes of forming a viable government would have required the support of the fiercely anti-nuclear Scottish National Party. This was a worrisome prospect for advocates of strategic nuclear deterrence, who feared that a weak Labour leadership would inevitably cave in to SNP demands and scrap plans to renew the U.K.’s submarine-based Trident ballistic missile force.

Iran’s Latest Round of Maritime Brinksmanship

USNI News – Iran’s recent seizure and release of the Marshall Islands flagged M/V Maersk Tigris could be what Iran claims it is, a reaction to a decade-long dispute over shipping containers that were diverted to the UAE and never delivered to Iran. More likely however, it is a thinly veiled attempt at brinkmanship to remind the United States of the kind of trouble that Iran can stir up in the Strait of Hormuz. – See more at:

Top 5 Weapons the U.S. Navy Needs Now

Real Clear Defense – It’s tough to winnow the U.S. Navy’s priorities list down to five weapon systems. However, I applied a secret method to come up with the definitive, incontrovertible list of the Top 5 Weapons the U.S. Navy Needs Now. The list employs such metrics as a system’s national-level importance, its capacity to multiply the fleet’s offensive and defensive fighting power, and its ability to exploit enduring enemy weaknesses at manageable cost to the United States.