Completing the Kill Web: The Multidomain Reconnaissance Troop in the Littorals

Modern War Institute – US combat power is massed just out of range of enemy fires, but there it is stalled, with ships and aircraft unable to penetrate the complex web of enemy sensors, missiles, antiaircraft weapons, and other equipment all organized specifically to keep US forces at bay. There is no easy answer to the fundamental question: What mixture of personnel and capabilities is best suited to make it through the web of the adversary’s antiaccess / area-denial (A2/AD) bubble and seize a lodgment for follow-on forces?

Defeat China’s Navy, Defeat China’s War Plan

War on the Rocks – U.S. commanders in the Indo-Pacific will have to fight with the forces and weapons policymakers provide them. Recent wargames, like their predecessors, demonstrate the United States needs a better plan for defeating an attack on Taiwan. This means forces and concepts that match U.S. competitive advantages against China’s weaknesses while minimizing the number of forces U.S. commanders will have to position within range of China’s firepower. Fortunately, a better matchup exists, one that focuses the U.S. bomber force against China’s navy and other maritime assets. China cannot take Taiwan, the Senkakus, or other territories in the region if its maritime power is destroyed. The U.S. bomber force could be a mortal threat to China’s maritime power if U.S. policymakers and military planners begin to properly prioritize it. By making China’s maritime assets the main target for the U.S. bomber force, then arming it accordingly, Washington would be well positioned to win a counter-maritime campaign in the western Pacific.

Sustainment of the Stand-In Force

War on the Rocks – The biggest challenge for the stand-in forces concept right now is that it puts marines inside high-threat areas with minimal logistics sustainment. This requires the Marine Corps to develop and train for a sustainment concept that is light, flexible, responsive, resilient, and redundant. This plan should enable decreasing replenishment time and maintain each stand-in force unit’s low signature. In the commandant’s words, “To persist inside an adversary’s weapons engagement zone, our Stand-in Forces must be set and sustained by logistics capabilities designed for distributed operations over long distances in a contested environment.” How can the joint force replenish supplies, maintain equipment, and restock combat losses while keeping stand-in forces in the fight?

Russian Navy Kilo Class Submarines Retreating From Crimea

Naval News – The changing tide of the Ukraine War appear to have led the Russian Navy to ‘regroup’ its forces in the Black Sea. Early during the invasion they loitered boldly close to Odessa. Now the Black Sea Fleet barely sails out of sight of Crimea for fear of Harpoon missiles. Its submarines too have recently shifted their base further from the shadow of Ukrainian attack.

Not So Fast: Insights From a 1944 War Plan Help Explain Why Invading Taiwan is a Costly Gamble

War on the Rocks – In 1944 U.S. military planners drafted a plan to invade Taiwan: Operation Causeway. The plan was ultimately rejected by senior leaders due to the high costs and risks relative to alternatives for advancing against Tokyo. Analyzing Causeway provides a historical baseline against which to assess the enduring challenges of joint forcible entry operations, particularly those executed from the sea. Put simply, crossing a contested sea only to fight on complex, canalizing terrain against a deliberate defense-in-depth makes amphibious assault in Taiwan a more complex operation than even the famed 1944 Operation Overlord — the D-Day landings. A mix of Taiwanese defense planning and the reality of modern battle network competition compound these challenges, making an invasion likely harder in 2022 than in 1944.

Call the Maritime Cavalry: Marine Corps Modernization and the Stand-In Force

War on the Rocks – Genghis Khan and Napoleon Bonaparte used cavalry units and combined arms to wreak havoc in Europe and Eurasia long before debates about the future of the Marines Corps and maneuver warfare. Today, the Marine Corps can also apply these time-tested tactics to develop a “maritime cavalry” and provide an essential maneuver element that complements the latest joint force capabilities and fighting concepts. Perhaps more importantly, creating a maritime cavalry would add a dynamic combined-arms element to the Marine Corps’ latest Force Design 2030 formations and concepts while channeling its “first to fight” ethos.

Given China’s A2/AD Capabilities, How Would the United States Defend Taiwan?

USNI Blog – To effectively defend Taiwan from a military standpoint, the United States must be willing to defend Taiwan from outside of Taiwan. In other words, the defense of Taiwan from an invasion from China need not be confined to the main island of Taiwan, nor the Taiwan Strait. Moreover, expectations held by the United States should be that an invasion of Taiwan by China will look nothing like the previous four Taiwan Strait Crises (1954–55, 1958, 1995–96, 2022), which were generally limited, and instead be prepared for a conflict of a much larger-scale and intensity.

The Second Anglo-Icelandic Cod War (1972–73)—Analysis of a Modern Sea Dispute and Implications for the South China Sea

US Naval War College Review – Analysis of the strategies employed by the British navy and Icelandic coast guard during the third Anglo-Icelandic sea dispute, in 1972–73, and the context in which they did so illuminates how modern sea disputes exist in the realm of competition for limited objectives, not warfare, and how the use of force can jeopardize recognition of the claims involved.

War Is the Storm—Clausewitz, Chaos, and Complex War Studies

US Naval War College Review – Complexity theories indeed do apply to war, and Clausewitz’s theories were the first to grapple with them. War is nonlinear, but the parallels between war and complexity science, and between complexity science and Clausewitz, do not stop with nonlinearity. Clausewitz’s theory of war does not just allude to complexity; rather, complexity is at its very core.

Countering China’s “Trident” Strategy—Frustrating China’s Aims in the East and South China Seas and the Indian Ocean

US Naval War College Review – China is trying to construct a naval strategy to deny U.S. forces freedom of action in the western Pacific Ocean. Looking back to the U.S. Navy’s last major strategic contest, against the Soviet navy during the Cold War, provides comparisons between Soviet and Chinese strategies that yield insights and analogies that can help develop more effective countermeasures against undesirable Chinese initiatives.

Command of the Sea Redux

US Naval War College Review – The United States and the West already may have lost command of the sea. To deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan or similar aggression, the Navy may need to pursue a very different fleet architecture, further integrate the maintenance and exercise of command, and seek modifications to a Unified Command Plan that ignores the indivisibility of the world ocean.