Tilting at windmills? UK Defence and the Indo-Pacific

Wavell Room – Far from presenting a binary choice between European and Indo-Pacific theatres, UK Defence’s Integrated Review refresh should seek to harmonise these seemingly divergent approaches.  Understanding the different utility of Naval, Air and Land forces in meeting regional challenges and political goals would go some way to squaring the circle.

A Plan to Push Back Against China’s Fishing Practices

War on the Rocks – The Soviet fishing fleet was once a near-permanent fixture on America’s Pacific coast, hauling in an estimated 1.2 million tons of fish until the two sides reached an agreement to limit the Soviet catch in exchange for a relaxation of rules on Soviet port visits. Moscow’s fishing fleet dwindled in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, only to be replaced by China’s large fleet — and maritime militia — that Beijing now uses to encroach on the sovereignty of its neighbors. The environmental and economic challenges of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing are clearly a threat to the global fish supply, but also represent a more direct and significant threat to national security.

PLA’s first two amphibious assault ships complete full training, form operational capability

Global Times – China’s Type 075 amphibious assault ships Hainan and Guangxi have recently completed full-course training tests including an evaluation on the use of weaponry, enhancing the vessels’ amphibious operational capabilities, which analysts said is of great significance for China to safeguard its national territorial integrity and national sovereignty in the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea.

PLA Navy’s another Type 055 large destroyer Anshan achieves operational capability, ‘ready for far sea missions’

Global Times – Another Type 055 large destroyer of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, the Anshan, has achieved operational capability after having recently passed an acceptance test, marking that the 10,000 ton-class warship is ready for voyages to distant waters, experts said on Saturday.

Turkey’s Future Drone Carriers

War on the Rocks – Building on the success of the Turkish TB2 drones, Ankara is now pursuing the development of fully-fledged “drone carriers,” a class of light carriers carrying several dozen still-in-development Bayraktar TB3 remotely piloted aircraft. Turkey looks to be the first country with flat-deck ships replacing manned aircraft with unmanned systems. While it is by no means the only state developing carrier-borne drone capabilities, Turkey is the lead power pursuing “drone motherships” equipped with long-range armed drones as the ship’s primary aviation element. 

War Studies Primer

We invite you to try War Studies Primer – an introductory course on the study of war and military history. Its purpose is to provide an introduction to the study of war.

War Studies Primer is presented as a lecture curriculum at the university level. It is a free, non-credit, self-study course that consists of 28 topics and over 1,900 slides and is updated on a yearly basis.

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.

Organizing to Fight and Win at Sea: The Surface Force Imperative

CIMSEC – As we look at our readiness to fight and win at sea, it is clear that our organizational structure is not optimized for the challenges ahead. For the past 30 years, the Surface Force’s administrative and operational chains of command centered on the Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) and the Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON). These core organizations stand at the crux between the Surface Type Commander (TYCOM) and the Carrier Strike Group Commander or, alternatively, the numbered fleet commander. They are charged with ensuring the material readiness of their ships as well as their operational employment in times of conflict. This model has supported our force in the decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, as we confront the return of strategic competition, a renewed focus on maritime power demands evolving the way we prepare our force to fight and win.

Another U.S. Ballistic Missile Submarine’s Movements Peculiarly Publicized

War Zone – The U.S. military has made yet another unusual public announcement about the location and activities of one of the U.S. Navy’s 14 Ohio class nuclear missile submarines, or SSBNs. U.S. Strategic Command’s official statement today disclosed a visit by the USS West Virginia to the British island territory of Diego Garcia, which hosts major American military facilities, earlier this year.

COSCO’S Hamburg Terminal Acquisition: Lessons For Europe

War on the Rocks – Europe is waking up to the dangers of overreliance on authoritarian powers, but largely lacks the toolkit necessary to mitigate dependencies on the very regimes most willing to exploit them. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent weaponization of Europe’s energy dependency on Moscow has hit every corner of the continent’s economy. Meanwhile, Xi Jinping has a track record of imposing economic coercion in response to slights against Beijing. While the discussion of these risks has advanced, the policy framework and how it is used to respond to such dependencies needs urgent change. Europe may be rapidly adapting after the fact to Russia’s coercive use of its control over European critical infrastructure and the oil and natural gas that flow through it, but the opposite has happened regarding China’s increasing role in European ports and the shipping services that flow through them. 

Invisible Blockades and Strategic Coercion

War on the Rocks – When the U.S. seeks to counter aggression, state-sponsored terrorism, or other threats without conducting a full-scale war, the use of naval mining for strategic ends could help it to achieve its aims, as an alternative or complement to aerial bombing. In addition to economic and diplomatic measures, which may not be sufficient, demonstratively mining a nation’s ports can apply pressure both directly and via third parties. Without casualties, and while managing potential escalatory risks, the U.S. can coerce another nation to modify its behavior. The naval mining of North Vietnam was the archetype of such a campaign, one which achieved its limited aims of freeing Americans and enabling withdrawal. Given a modicum of investment in U.S. mining capabilities, overt naval mining could be used to coerce adversarial states by constraining them with an invisible blockade. 

How Can the Marines Learn From the Falklands War?

War on the Rocks – The U.S. Marine Corps has made it a priority to address the rise of great-power competition in the Indo-Pacific. British forces in the Falklands operated in a similar manner to how the commandant envisions marines operating in the future: small formations distributed across vast expanses of maritime terrain, relatively limited indirect fire support, and limited traditional close air support. Vertical lift aircraft were critical to enabling British maneuver and logistical sustainment in the South Atlantic. But these aircraft are largely absent from new Marine Corps concepts.

US hypes China’s JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile deployment ‘with ulterior motives’

Global Times – The US recently claimed that China has fielded new, longer-range submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) to threaten the US, but Chinese military experts said on Sunday that China’s SLBM development aims to defend itself from nuclear blackmail, and that the US military’s speculation has ulterior motives which would see it gain more funds to enhance its capabilities.