Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force – Japan’s ‘Increasingly Severe’ Security Environment

- USNI News – Japan’s security environment is “increasingly severe”, according to the Ministry of Defense released its annual defense policy white paper. The report singles out China, Russia and North Korea as potential security threats involving cyber attacks, provocations on the high seas and nuclear weapons.

US Navy – Despite Delays, New US Navy Sub Headed for On-Time Delivery

- Navy Times – The building program of the US Navy’s Virginia-class submarines has an outstanding reputation, both for keeping to cost and for on-time delivery. There’s even a modest competition between the two shipyards that build the subs to see who can shave off more time of the contractual delivery date. Bets are off, however, for the North Dakota, the 11th and newest unit of the class. The submarine is the first of the Block III version, with the most significant design changes to date — that led to delays that were acknowledged in the spring. The Navy hoped to continue the march of early deliveries and begin the sub’s first round of sea trials in mid-April, but it was apparent more time was needed to resolve a number of problems.

US Navy – Navy study to track whales

- San Diego Union Tribune – The Navy announced a new study that aims to document the travel patterns and the feeding and diving habits of whales off Southern California. The study comes as environmental groups continue to fight the U.S. military and the National Marine Fisheries Service over a recently renewed 5-year permit that allows the Navy to use sonar and explosive charges and do other maritime training that affects marine mammals.

US Navy – Navy sub’s appearance designed to reassure allies

- Virginian Pilot – The U.S. Navy’s fast-attack nuclear submarines are usually supposed to stay out of sight, but when the Hawaii docked here late last week, the apparent idea was to make a very visible impression. Big, dark, looming in the harbor waters, the Virginia-class nuclear sub showed up to reassure the uneasy Japanese that American power is still on their side, and still a force to be reckoned with.

Chinese Navy – The Chinese are reportedly working on submarine that would ‘fly’ in an ‘air bubble’

- Washington Post – In the annals of vehicular locomotion, the submarine is the equivalent of the Walkman. It dazzled the masses when it hit, flexing nuclear-tipped missiles that completed the so-called “nuclear triad” of deterrence. But other technologies soon surpassed it in terms of speed and agility. Now, years later, the submarine may be making a comeback — at least theoretically. Researchers at the Harbin Institute of Technology in northeast China tell the South China Morning Post that they’re hard at work on a submarine that the newspaper claims could travel the 6,100 miles from “Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes.”

Russian Navy – Russia Playing Politics With Alleged Submarine Confrontations

- USNI News – Confrontations—and alleged confrontations—between the Russian armed forces and those of the United States, Europe and Japan have been on the uptick in recent weeks. The encounters have paced a general decline in relations between Russia and the West over events in the Ukraine. This month Russian media have reported two alleged anti-submarine warfare operations undertaken against American and Japanese submarines. The confrontations are reminiscent of similar events during the Cold War, in which submarines of the Soviet Union, the United States and her allies played a constant cat-and-mouse game against one another. This time however, the rationale behind the incidents appears more complex, undertaken by Russia as often for internal reasons as for making a larger point to the international community.

US Navy – Going Maverick: Lessons from China’s Buzzing of a U.S. Navy Aircraft

- Wall Street Journal – Many have evoked the film “Top Gun” in describing a recent confrontation between a Chinese J-11 fighter and U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane off of Hainan island in the South China Sea. Based on U.S. accounts of the encounter, that movie parallel is apt – with the very important distinction that Hainan is not Hollywood.

US Marines – Wargames at 29 Palms echo real-world conflicts

- Marine Corps Times – As the 13-year counter-insurgency campaign winds down in Afghanistan, Marines are quickly shifting attention to readiness for potential large-scale contingencies, often in not-so-subtle hat tips to regions ripe for instability — like the South China Sea, Ukraine and the Russian-annexed Crimea, and the now incredibly violent swath stretching between Iraq and Syria.

Taiwanese Navy – Panel: Taiwan Facing Increasing Chinese Pressure

- USNI News – Since the 1996 Taiwan Straits crisis, when China tried to intimidate the island by testing missiles in waters near Taiwan and the United States responded by sending two carrier battle groups to the region, Beijing has built up its naval forces of conventionally powered submarines, corvettes, and frigates to influence events in “the first island chain” off its coast—and looks to extend its reach by 2050 to the Mariana Islands with nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers.