Manning the Distant Rampart: Maritime Strategy in an Age of Global Competition

CIMSEC – Great power competition has clearly returned. But nontraditional issues have retained their relevance, with great powers using them as strategic facilitators in their quest to gain marginal advantages. In this international environment, the sea has retained its unbroken importance. The overwhelming majority of humankind’s physical trade is still transported on maritime highways, while the geography of contemporary global flashpoints, and the ambitions of great powers and nonstate actors, makes the sea central to international competition.

Countering Hybrid Threats in the Maritime Environment

CIMSEC – Today, there are state and non-state actors challenging nations, institutions, and private companies through a wide range of overt and covert activities targeted at their vulnerabilities. Both NATO and the European Union refer to these as “hybrid threats” and the maritime domain has proven to be especially vulnerable.

The Dawn of Artificial Intelligence in Naval Warfare

War on the Rocks – The U.S. Navy is investing real money to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into the force, requesting $62.5 million in the FY19 Defense Department budget for AI and rapid prototyping.

The Wounds of the Drone Warrior

New York Times Magazine – Even soldiers who fight wars from a safe distance have found themselves traumatized. Could their injuries be moral ones?

Amphib USS Iwo Jima Now in Persian Gulf; First U.S. Capital Ship in Region Since March

USNI News – Amphibious warship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) crossed into the Persian Gulf this week, returning a U.S. Navy capital ship to the region for the first time since late March.

The Discrepancy Between US Administration Rhetoric and Navy Strategy

CIMSEC – The challenge facing the United States is building a 21st century navy, operating in 19th century-styled great power competition, and upholding a 20th century world order while urrently led by an administration which seems to challenge the foundation of that very order.

In the Baltic, shadowed by Russia, NATO allies focus on great power competition

Defense News – For the last two weeks, more than 40 NATO ships and 60 NATO aircraft have been operating in the Baltic Sea, with Russian observers never too far behind.

What Do The New National Security and Defense Strategies Mean for Maritime Security?

CIMSEC – The recently released U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) and National Defense Strategy (NDS) have major implications for maritime security.

China Adds Advanced Missiles to South China Sea Islands

Washington Free Beacon – China’s military has stepped up militarizing disputed islands in the South China Sea by deploying advanced missile systems on the Spratly islands.

UAE Naval Vessel Attacked By Houthi Rebels Off Yemeni Coast During Amphibious Operation

War Zone – The attack is one in what has become a long string of strikes by Houthi rebels on vessels transiting the Red Sea.

US Navy pushes ahead with bid to extend the range of its sub-killer torpedo

Defense News – The U.S. Navy, aiming to make its attack submarines even more stealthy and lethal at extended ranges, took a big step forward with a contract announcement Tuesday.

Norway’s Coast Guard stares down big challenges in Arctic

Defense News – During the three weeks the Norwegian Coast Guard vessel Harstad sailed around Svalbard in late May, it was the only military ship available to respond to a crisis in the vast waters surrounding the island. But that reality is the norm and likely will be for a long time, even as demands on the service grow by leaps and bounds.

Why landlocked Ethiopia wants to launch a navy

BBC – When Eritrea gained independence in 1993, Ethiopia suddenly found itself without a coastline and so it took the logical step of disbanding its navy. Now, it is reconsidering its decision and its latest manoeuvres in the region suggest it could be shopping around its neighbourhood to find a naval base it can use.

Concrete and coral: Tracking expansion in the South China Sea

Reuters – U.S. military officials now say China’s military bases on man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea are virtually complete. Exclusive data and satellite imagery shows the pace of construction on reefs and reclaimed land in the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

Donald Trump’s New World Order

New Yorker – How the President, Israel, and the Gulf states plan to fight Iran – and leave the Palestinians and the Obama years behind.

How Virginia-class subs will be able to pack an even bigger punch

Defense News – Courtesy of BAE Systems, some Virginia-class submarines will be able to pack a bigger punch. The U.S. Navy has granted a contract to British company to produce payload tubes for two of the service’s Block V Virginia-class subs. Each will be extended in length with an additional mid-body section to create additional room for payloads and, in turn, for greater firepower.

On the water and in the air, French military pushes back against Beijing’s South China Sea claims

South China Morning Post – France has sent warships through contested waters and will hold air exercises in the area later this year.

Russia-China Naval Cooperation in an Era of Great Power Competition

CIMSEC – Great Power competition is back, and such competition brings Russia and China together as political partners, and is echoed in their increasing naval cooperation. Such naval cooperation provides one another with tacit support in their respective areas of geopolitical interest.

Crisis Response Marines in Middle East Focused on Operations in Syria, Afghanistan

USNI News – The Marine Corps’ Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Crisis Response force in U.S. Central Command is becoming increasingly distributed across the Middle East as its role evolves, but it is gaining additional aircraft and a ship it can call upon to help support its vastly spread out operations.

Automated Valor

USNI Proceedings – A work of fiction by August Cole on future armored combat.

How Mattis Can Help Reshape the Navy

National Interest – Arrhythmic operating patterns will help the sea services wrest the initiative from prospective foes, knocking them off-balance to American advantage.

Carriers Aren’t The Only Big Targets: The Challenges of Mobile Basing

Breaking Defense – For years, we’ve heard about how vulnerable aircraft carriers are to enemy fire. They’re big. They’re not that fast — compared to a missile. But a big airbase isn’t exactly mobile. While it can be hardened, its location is well known.

What Secretive Anti-Ship Missile Did China Hack From The U.S. Navy?

War Zone – Details surrounding the Navy’s Sea Dragon program remain scarce, but there are some distinct possibilities.

The US Navy’s fleet is getting old. It might get a lot older

Defense News – The U.S. Navy is considering extending the service life of all its ships by at least seven years, and could stretch the life of some ships by 13 years.

Marines Won’t Need a Carrier for High-End Fight With MUX Unmanned System

USNI News – The Marine Corps and Navy are preparing for a high-end fight that will require ships to be distributed across the ocean rather than clustered around an aircraft carrier, and the Marines’ future Group 5 unmanned aerial system will give them the airborne early warning capability to break free from the carrier and its E-2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning aircraft.