2016 World Naval Operational News Highlights

The ten most significant naval news stories / trends / themes this year included:

  • The election of Donald Trump. During his presidency will concrete progress be made in enlarging the US Navy to 350 ships to help relieve it from the overstretch it now faces?

  • The continued high operational tempo of the Russian Navy. Is this tempo sustainable in the long term or will it eventually become “fake news?”

  • The recognition that Russia has turned the Baltic Sea into an anti-access area-denial zone, centered around its enclave in Kaliningrad. What steps will NATO, Finland, and Sweden take to counter it?

  • The increased interest in the US Army in reclaiming its coastal artillery role. When will we see their anti-aircraft, anti-ship, and land-attack missiles deployed in the Baltic or Pacific?

  • The continued belligerence of China in the South China Sea – despite a UN tribunal rejecting China’s claims there this year – as evidenced by this year’s militarization of its newly created “sand castles” and its seizing of a US Navy underwater drone. What incident will China create to test the new President Trump?

  • The increasing realization that China’s Maritime Militia is playing a key role at sea. Will 2017 be the year they are formally called out by the governments they are harrassing?

  • The increasing acceptance by Japan of the threat China poses to the Senkaku Islands. How will China next test Japan’s resolve over the Senkaku’s and how will Japan respond?

  • The continued shift in the US Marine Corps strategic thinking towards the Pacific. What new hardware, tactics, techniques and procedures will they create to address the adversary they now face there?

  • The continued belligerence of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps navy in the Gulf of Hormuz. When will their actions finally break the US Navy’s patience?

  • The democratization of the submarine launched ballistic missile with successful tests this year of missiles by India and North Korea. What effect will this have on the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems?