– The Diplomat – The U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence offers a wealth of new information on the PLA Navy.
– USNI News – The Carl Vinson Strike Group will return to the San Diego area today and tomorrow after a nearly 10-month deployment to U.S. 5th Fleet and 7th Fleet that included six months of strikes against the Islamic State.
– USNI News – The guided missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG- 71) departed the Black Sea on Wednesday after an 11-day cruise of the region.
– Jamestown Foundation – The white paper has thereby acknowledged the need to shift the balance in PLA thinking from ground operations to joint naval and aerospace operations—something that has been signaled for years (going back officially at least to 2004), but will require change in all aspects of future military modernization. The impact of this admission on the PLA as an institution cannot be understated. It will have effects on everything from force size, structure and composition to personnel polices, doctrine, training, logistics and equipment acquisition.
– The Diplomat – Beijing is prevailing over its neighbors in the South China Sea. It may also have the solution.
– USNI News – The Pentagon is pushing back against anonymously sourced reports in state controlled Russian media that guided missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG-71) was chased from Russian controlled waters in the Black Sea by Russian fighters over the weekend.
– Real Clear Defense – So how, in practical terms, should U.S. and friendly powers defy excessive Chinese claims in South China Sea waters and skies? By deploying some small-stick diplomacy of their own. Make a statement that no one can unilaterally abridge freedom of the sea—and make China look like the bully it is.
– USNI News – The Navy’s EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare jet flew its last active duty flight on Wednesday and officially decommissioned at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.
– Reuters – Russian military aircraft were scrambled to head off a U.S. warship that was acting “aggressively” in the Black Sea.
– USNI News – The Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) is six months into its 16-month deployment and requiring an order of magnitude fewer hours of corrective maintenance than its predecessor, USS Freedom (LCS-1).
– USNI News – Australia’s state owned shipbuilder ASC launched the first of a new class of guided missile destroyer for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) last week a day after after a new government statement outlined additional delays and cost overruns in the three ship program.
– USNI News – At a recent congressional hearing Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jon Greenert bluntly stated “[the] Navy remains challenged in this (anti-surface warfare) mission area due to both capability and capacity shortfalls.”
– BBC – China is to focus on projecting its military presence beyond its borders at sea, according to a strategy document.
– USNI News – The following is the first public Chinese Military Strategy white paper outlining a new policy of “active defense,” released by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense on May 26, 2015.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– USNI News – India’s long-delayed carrier is set to enter the water next week while the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi government has approved more money for development of the second indigenous carrier.
– 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.
– FoxtrotAlpha – Japan is looking to further militarize Ishigaki-Jima with both surface-to-air and anti-ship missiles. Ishigaki Island is just 100 miles east of Taiwan and about 100 miles south of the highly disputed Senkaku Islands, putting it in a volatile yet strategic geographic position.
– BBC – EU foreign and defence ministers are expected to approve a mission to destroy the boats used by people-smugglers operating in war-torn Libya.
– Reuters – The Pentagon said on Tuesday that two Iranian warships have “linked up” with a cargo ship that Iran has said is carrying humanitarian aid to Yemen, as activists on board the vessel said it was due to arrive at the Yemeni port of Hodaida on Thursday.
USNI Blog – “Never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” – Rahm Emanuel
– USNI News – Targeted investments in improving weapons and decoys could propel the U.S. submarine fleet to be the underwater answer to anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) threats.
– BBC – A Royal Navy submariner has defended his criticism of safety procedures around the Trident nuclear submarines and revealed he will hand himself over to the authorities within days.