China Girds for Undersea Battle in the South China Sea

National Interest – Beijing is setting up a new aircraft unit that will be crucial to its new southern bastion.

Book Excerpt – Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy

National Interest – Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes present the second edition of their important work on this timely topic.

How the Fleet Forgot to Fight, Part 7: Strategy and Force Development

CIMSEC – How well a military has prepared for conflict in peace helps determine how much it will have to adjust in war. In this sense, force development is the peacetime equivalent of wartime adaptation.

Increase Fleet Lethality by Arming the Amphibs

USNI Blog – As of this writing, the Navy consists of 287 deployable battle-force ships, of which some 31 are part of the amphibious force. These ships—“amphibs” in Navy parlance—are optimized for the transport and delivery of land power from the sea (otherwise known as the U.S. Marine Corps). Amphibs are large and capable and are among the most heavily tasked ships in the Navy because of their versatility and value to regional combatant commanders. What they aren’t is lethal, at least as warships go, and this limitation is no longer acceptable as the Navy limbers up for great power competition. In addition, given the reemergence of budget uncertainty and the near-certainty that the Navy will not achieve the 355-ship level described in its 2016 Force Structure Assessment, it must make more lethally efficient use of the floating real estate it operates, including platforms such as amphibs which traditionally have fielded only self-defense weapons.

Navy Looking To Fly P-8s From Cold War-era Base In Alaska

Breaking Defense – The Navy may begin deploying submarine-hunting P-8 Poseidon aircraft to a small airstrip hundreds of miles off the Alaskan coast, signaling a new emphasis on keeping watch over Russian and Chinese moves in the Arctic. The remote runway sits on the island of Adak in the Aleutian island chain, and is the westernmost airfield that can handle passenger aircraft in the United States — in fact, it currently handles Air Alaska flights two days a week. Formally known as Naval Air Facility Adak, the small airport has been operating commercially since the Navy moved out in 1997, but increasing Russian and Chinese activity in the Arctic has the Navy looking at new patrols as it searches for ways to keep a closer watch on the far north.

Three Attack Subs ‘Not Certified To Dive’; Navy F-35s at 15 Percent Readiness

Breaking Defense – Navy readiness is “heading in the wrong direction,” the Government Accountability Office told the Senate this morning, with only 15 percent of Navy F-35Cs rated “fully mission capable.” At the same hearing, a four-star admiral acknowledged three nuclear-powered attack submarines were still stuck awaiting overhaul, with the USS Boise expected to be out of action for a total of six years.

The US Navy’s Amphibious Assault Renaissance: It’s More Than Ships and Aircraft

War on the Rocks – In the post-Cold War era, amphibious assault forces have not been the most capable part of the U.S. Navy. In the years after 9/11 — while the Marine Corps was engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan and not embarked in amphibious ships — the amphibious-assault fleet was, at best, an afterthought. Today, the Marine Corps is largely disengaged from land-centric conflicts and, in a move spearheaded by two former commandants, is “returning to its amphibious roots,” signaling a new emphasis on amphibious warfare.

Aegis Ashore Scores Another Hit As US, Japan Build Up Defenses

Breaking Defense – By 2021, plans call for Japan to have eight Aegis destroyers, four of them capable of launching the SM-3 Block IIA missiles, whose second successful test in a row comes as a vindication after two previous failures.

Truman Strike Group Headed Home After ‘Dynamic’ Deployment

USNI News – The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group has sailed out of U.S. 6th Fleet and is on its way back to its homeport in Norfolk, Va. The strike group is wrapping up the second of two back-to-back three-month deployments as part of the Navy’s first attempt to demonstrate the Pentagon’s dynamic force employment concept.

Short Story Week Concludes on CIMSEC

CIMSEC – In response to our Call for Articles, talented writers explored various national security themes through fiction. From future undersea warfare to unmanned tactical scenarios, authors envisioned the complexity and confusion of future conflict with incredible imagination.

Can China and the United States Avoid War?

USNI Proceedings – Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd —in his keynote address at the New China Challenge conference in October—considered the strategic competition between the United States and China. This article is adapted from his speech.

Short Story Week on CIMSEC

CIMSEC – This week CIMSEC featured 6 fictional short stories which explore various national security themes through fiction. Check them out as there is no better way to think about the future than through fiction…

What the Lull in Aircraft Carrier Deployments Means

USNI Proceedings – As USNI News reported last month, U.S. aircraft carrier deployments this year have been at a 25-year low, and there were 22 days in 2018 when no carriers were deployed at all. Some pundits might speculate what the Navy is up to, but overall there is good news and some key takeaways.

Blame Alfred Thayer Mahan for Pearl Harbor (and Thank Him for Its Failure)

National Interest – Skip parts of a treatise and you garner only part of its wisdom—and maybe not the part most relevant to your cause.

USS Wasp Headed Back to Norfolk Next Year after Brief Japan Deployment

USNI News – After less than a year in Japan, the amphibious warship USS Wasp (LHD-1) is preparing its sailors to return to the East Coast next year. Wasp, one of two amphibious warships certified to operate Marine F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters, is set to return to Naval Station Norfolk, Va., in late 2019 as part of a previously set plan to balance the F-35B capability across both coasts

PLA Navy to have at least 5 carriers

Global Times – The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy will operate at least five aircraft carriers in the near future, including the country’s first two nuclear-powered ones that would likely be launched around 2025, Chinese military experts predicted on Wednesday.

A Maritime Requirements Picture Book

USNI Blog – We are blessed as much as others are challenged…

U.S. Destroyer Conducts FONOP Near Russian Pacific Fleet Headquarters

USNI News – A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer conducted a freedom of navigation operation on Wednesday near the home of Russia’s Pacific fleet.

US Navy’s littoral combat ship program inches closer to fielding new capabilities

Defense News – The U.S. Navy took delivery of the last piece of the littoral combat ship’s anti-submarine warfare mission module Nov. 30, according to a release from Naval Sea Systems Command, pushing the service closer to declaring the well-delayed capability operational despite continued headwinds.

An Offbeat Take on Putin and the Sea of Azov

USNI Blog – What is Putin’s government up to? Oddly enough, counterinsurgent theory helps explain Russian motives and actions. So does thermodynamics.

War Studies Primer

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Winning the Joint Fight

USNI Blog – It is important that the Marine Corps quickly take the lead in the expeditionary fires realm. However, it needs to leverage Army air defense and artillery capabilities and contacts to bring the idea to fruition and ultimately link-up under a Navy command and control umbrella.

Ukraine-Russia clash: Nato’s dilemma in the Black Sea

BBC – Does crisis beckon in the Black Sea? Could Russia and Nato even come to blows?

Marine Corps Warfighting Lab Experiments Heading Toward Massive Sea Control Event

USNI News – The Marine Corps’ ongoing Sea Dragon experimentation campaign is working on one of the most pressing issues the naval force faces: how to incorporate the Marine Corps into the Navy’s battle for sea control.