As tensions ease, China keeps building on disputed islands

Defense News – Tensions over China’s island-building in the South China Sea may have eased in the past year, but Beijing has kept busy. New satellite imagery shows China has built infrastructure covering 72 acres (28 hectares) in the Spratly and Paracel islands during 2017 to equip its larger outposts to be air and naval bases.

The Curious Case Of Germany’s Massive New But Relatively Toothless Type 125 “Frigates”

War Zone – These odd destroyer sized ships are built for stabilization, crisis management, conflict prevention, and international intervention operations.

Russia a ‘risk’ to undersea cables, defence chief warns

BBC – The UK’s most senior military officer has warned of a new threat posed by Russia to communications and internet cables that run under the sea.

SecNav Spencer Seeks Goldwater-Nichols Changes After Deadly Collisions

Breaking Defense – Navy Secretary Richard Spencer wants to change the law that’s governed the armed forces since 1986, the Goldwater-Nichols Act, to restore more autonomy to the services.

Trump just made a 355-ship Navy national policy

Defense News – Achieving a 355-ship Navy is now national policy, but the goal is still a long way off.

Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: The Value of OSINT for the US Navy

CIMSEC – With the advent of the Information Age, a rapid evolution of technological innovations democratized and decentralized information, creating a digital universe and a surfeit of open source intelligence, or OSINT. In the past decade alone, the world produced more information than it had in the rest of human history. This diffusion of information holds significant promise for the Naval Intelligence community, whose own rich history is replete with examples of OSINT being an integral part of the analytic picture.

The Marine Corps Wants to Craft a Fleet of 1,000 “Itty Bitty Boats”

War Zone – The small watercraft force could give marines more flexibility and offer up new avenues of attack.

Navy Won’t Reactivate Perry Frigates for SOUTHCOM Mission; Will Send Ships to Fight Drug War in 2018

USNI News – The Navy won’t reactivate any Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates in support of operations in U.S. Southern Command, according to an internal service memo obtained by USNI News. Instead, the service will support SOUTHCOM’s anti-trafficking missions with Littoral Combat Ships and Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transports (T-EPF) through a commitment to support the Joint Interagency Task Force South by next year

Estonia, The Digital Republic

The New Yorker – Its government is virtual, borderless, blockchained, and secure. Has this tiny post-Soviet nation found the way of the future?

From boondoggle to ‘boring’ deployment: Has the Navy righted the littoral combat ship?

San Diego Union Tribune – When the littoral combat ship Coronado sailed into San Diego last week after its maiden deployment to the Far East, controversy followed in its wake.

The OO Loop Problem

View From Olympus – William Lind notes that one of the more curious aspects of the current U.S. military is its institutionalization of failure. We have lost four Fourth Generation conflicts: Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq (which is still very far from being a real state), and Afghanistan, where we are fighting but not winning. In response, we keep doing more of the same, more perfecting of our ability to put firepower on targets. If war could be reduced to that, we would be the greatest, military on earth. But it can’t.

How to Save (Or Destroy) the Royal Navy

National Interest – James Holmes on what happens when saving money takes precedence over strategic effectiveness.

Woods Hole Research Vessel Searching Atlantic for Lost Argentine Sub

USNI News – The international effort searching for ARA San Juan – the Argentine submarine missing for more than three weeks – is focused on a region where the continental shelf below the sea surface rapidly slopes down to the deep South Atlantic. A trio of internationally-run remotely operated undersea vehicles – including one from the United States – are regularly being sent to the sea floor to investigate possible final resting locations of the submarine.

The US Navy Wants Its EA-18G Growlers to Drop Canisters With Drones Tucked Inside

War Zone – The disposable unmanned aircraft could then covertly launch electronic electronic attacks, spy on the enemy, and more.

Britain moves to restore carrier strike capability with warship commissioning

Defense News – Britain moved a step closer to restoring it’s carrier strike capability Thursday when the 65,000-ton aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was formally commissioned during a ceremony at the Royal Navy base at Portsmouth, southern England.

Baby Steps in the Snow: Getting the Marine Corps Cold-Weather Ready in Norway

War on the Rocks – In January 2017, a company of marines arrived in Vaernes, near the Trondheim Airport in Norway, about a third of the way up the Norwegian coast and just shy of the Arctic Circle. Almost 300 marines spent 6 months training alongside their NATO allies and their other non-NATO Nordic partners. This new program received far less publicity than the marines going to Darwin, Australia beginning in 2012, but it could be an even bigger move – both for the Marine Corps and the U.S. military writ large.

What the Loss of the ARA San Juan Reveals About South America’s Submarines

CIMSEC – This tragic accident has prompted a discussion in Argentina regarding whether the country’s armed forces are being allocated sufficient budgets to repair or replace aging equipment. Additionally, the San Juan incident must be placed in a wider discussion about civil-military relations, defense budgets, and the present and future of South American submarines.

US Navy Is NOT Ready For Major War: Ex-Skippers, Bob Work

Breaking Defense – The US surface fleet may not be adequately trained for high-intensity combat, four experienced former skippers and the former deputy secretary of defense warned a US Naval Institute conference here on Monday.

Reviewing the US Navy’s LCS Deployments to the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region

CIMSEC – The littoral combat ship USS Coronado, upon recent completion of its 14-month Indo-Asia-Pacific stint, marks the conclusion of the U.S. Navy’s third LCS rotational deployment to the region.

War Studies Primer

– Visit the War Studies Primer for an introductory course on the study of war.

Look at slides 2 and 3 in the War Studies Primer for its Table of Contents, and then choose a lecture to read and enjoy.

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New Requirements for DDG-1000 Focus on Surface Strike

USNI News – The Navy is revamping the Zumwalt-class destroyer’s requirements and will morph it into a focused surface strike platform.

China Looks Seaward to Become a Global Power

CIMSEC – What is China’s vision that motivates her decision to be transformed into a global sea power? Furthermore, how will this potential be used?

China’s Base in Djibouti: Lessons From Germany’s Asian Colonialism

CIMSEC – The opening of the Chinese military base in Djibouti on August 1st is a landmark event; China finally has its first overseas military outpost. The parallel of similar activities undertaken by the Germans in China at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries is noteworthy for offering lessons on the relationship between force structure, maritime strategy, and overseas basing.

14 Amphibs Tied Up In Maintenance, Exacerbating Shortfall in Available Ships for Marines’ At-Sea Training

USNI News – Nearly half the Navy’s amphibious ships are currently tied up in maintenance availabilities and the service would be several ships short of need if it had to scramble the fleet for a major contingency, in large part due to continuing resolutions and other budget challenges.