U.S.-China Tensions and How the Unmanned Military Craft Raise the Risk of War

CIMSEC – The immediate danger from militarized artificial intelligence isn’t hordes of killer robots, nor the exponential pace of a new arms race. As recent events in the Strait of Hormuz indicate, the bigger risk is the fact that autonomous military craft make for temping targets – and increase the potential for miscalculation on and above the high seas.

The U.K.’s Pint-Sized Martlet Missile Will Guard Royal Navy Ships And Much More

War Zone – The Royal Navy is planning on using these missiles as air-launched weapons against small boats, too, and has tested them in the surface-to-air role.

East Coast US Navy aviators to see their flight hours slashed for the rest of fiscal year

Defense News – Budget shortfalls created in part by greater-than-expected demands on maritime patrol aircraft are forcing the Navy to cut flight hours for several squadrons on the East Coast.

In 1981, A British Submarine Smashed Into a Russian Sub (Armed with Nuclear Weapons)

National Interest – At least we are pretty sure. Read on.

(Thanks to Alain…)

Why Not an American Admiral Gorshkov?

National Interest – By law a chief of naval operations is limited to four years in the post—and that’s just not enough time to make any meaningful changes.

Will ships without sailors be the future of trade?

BBC – On 7 May, customs officers in Ostend, Belgium, received a box of oysters from the UK. It was the world’s first unmanned commercial shipping operation.

Strategy on Top of the World Part 2: Regional Arctic Perspectives

CIMSEC – The High North will almost certainly be a zone of competition. If Russia can take a hegemonic role there, it will lean on its military presence and the relative lack of international rules and norms for it to control the region. The Chinese are not far behind. American absence from the Arctic has weakened its stance with respect to great power competition and serves to upend the Navy’s stated mission of freedom of navigation.

From Russian Presence to Sailboat Traffic, U.S. Learning What’s ‘Normal’ Far From Home

USNI News – The U.S. military invests significant time and effort into conducting training exercises and patrols overseas – and while it does provide opportunities for sailors to have port calls in interesting places and build interoperability with allies and partners, it also helps build upon U.S. knowledge of what “normal” is in waterways around the world.

France launches first Barracuda-class nuclear attack sub

Defense News – French shipbuilder Naval Group on Friday launched the Suffren nuclear-powered attack submarine here under the gaze of President Emmanuel Macron.

Iran tanker row: UK to send second warship to the Gulf

BBC – The UK has brought forward plans to send a second warship to the Gulf amid rising tensions with Iran.

You Can Buy One Of The Army’s Most Capable Ships As The Service Guts Its Naval Fleets

War Zone – The decision to sell two of these Logistics Support Vessels, along with dozens of landing craft and tugs, might be one the Army comes to regret.

Mauritius Scores a Pyrrhic Victory in the Indian Ocean

War on the Rocks – In zealously pursuing an anti-colonial agenda, Mauritius and India may unintentionally hand the keys to the Indian Ocean to China, accelerating India’s southern containment and Mauritius’ neo-colonization as a Chinese vassal.

Hey, shipmate, where’s the fire?

Defense News – That old expression crossed my mind this week when I saw the carrier Truman was making its third deployment in four years. The Navy says doing this is about “stretching the limits of the Navy’s Optimized Fleet Response Plan,” according to a Navy Times report. But why? Where’s the fire?

Strategy on Top of the World Part 1: The Outlook for Arctic Competition

CIMSEC – The Arctic, with great potential for development and cooperation, is also a theater of growing tension. For this reason, the U.S. must give much greater priority to the Arctic.

Senior Navy: We need the submarines

Channel 7 – The significance of the State of Israel without a dolphin, a whale and a resurrection is disastrous, warns Brig. Gen. Yossi Ashkenazi, head of the Israeli navy’s naval equipment fleet.

(Thanks to Alain)

Iranian boats ‘tried to intercept British tanker’

BBC – Iranian boats tried to impede a British oil tanker near the Gulf – before being driven off by a Royal Navy ship.

The One-Eyed Man is King

USNI Blog – America’s Navy, You live in the land of the blind, comforted in the darkness by your weaponry, your history, and your hubris. You believe you understand the threat and that all your competitors in this new Great Power contest are enveloped in the same blinding fog of future war. But we are not equal: you are at a disadvantage in this game—you are beholden to a past age and must predict and anticipate changes as they proliferate and develop across a world system toeing the edge of collapse, as we rise on its demise.

Royal Navy Frigate Escorts U.K. Tanker Out Of The Persian Gulf After Iranian Threats

War Zone – Last week, Iran said it could seize a British ship in retaliation for U.K. authorities seizing an Iranian tanker in the Mediterranean Sea.

Navy Declares Unmanned MQ-8C Fire Scout Helicopter Mission Capable

USNI News – The Navy declared its MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter mission capable and ready to deploy aboard Littoral Combat Ships.

Naval Deployments, Exercises, and the Geometry of Strategic Partnerships in the Indo-Pacific

CIMSEC – From March to June 2019 naval diplomacy and an underlying strategic geometry was on show as India, Australia, France, and Japan deployed across and around the Indo-Pacific. All of them were involved in operating with each other, with the U.S., and with other actors in the region like Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

The US Navy’s Riverines are up-gunned, high tech and ready to lean into great power competition

Defense News – The Mark VI patrol boat bristles with heavy automatic weapons, and that’s the way its crews like it.

Naval Intelligence, the CIA, and the Soviet-Russian Threat: The Cold War and Beyond

USNI Blog – As the United States and its Navy orient to the current Russian threat, there are lessons to be learned from Cold War history. The original Cold Warriors succeeded in avoiding a direct, large-scale military clash between the United States and Soviet Union. In such a “cold” conflict, intelligence counts as much as firepower. With a growing body of previously classified material now available, researchers and intelligence professionals have increased insight into what worked well—and what did not—in the U.S. intelligence community’s efforts to understand the Soviet Navy. These lessons remain relevant.

China Likely Tested Missiles That Can Kill Aircraft Carriers in the South China Sea

National Interest – What does that mean for Asia? America’s allies? How can Washington push back?

Think Cold Thoughts: The Drift

Defense News – I figured we’d think cold thoughts and dedicate this edition of The Drift to a little Arctic chat. The Senate Armed Services Committee is having the military look at what it would take to build a port up there and so I figured I’d call Bryan Clark, retired submarine officer and naval analyst extraordinaire at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and ask him what he thought.