The Age of the Strike Carrier is Over

CIMSEC – The age of the strike carrier is over. As the United States enters an era where the potential for modern great-power war is increasing dramatically in Eurasia, a return to the traditional roles of the aircraft carrier is required to maintain maritime access. Carrier-borne over-land strike warfare has not proved decisive in previous conflicts in heavily contested air defense environments, and will not prove so in the future. In the potential high-end conflicts of the twenty-first century, the likely utility of carrier-based land strike is largely non-existent. Thankfully, the traditional carrier aviation roles of maritime interdiction and fleet air defense remain highly valuable in wars against modern navies, but are precisely the roles, missions, and tactics sacrificed for sea based over-land strikes over the past sixty years. Regaining this capability will require a modest investment in existing and developing systems and capabilities and should be the force’s, the service’s and the nation’s highest objective in the coming years.

NATO’s Big Test?

The Art of the Future Project – Jeremy Shapiro’s poignant fictional piece in Foreign Policy, This is How NATO Ends, bristles the academic, humors the skeptic, as it paints a dark future for the 68-year-old alliance. Good fictional speculation should draw on history to explore and challenge through imagination; it is the reader’s role to test his or her own assumptions as well by putting themselves in another person’s shoes.

Smart Mines, A Smaller Army, & The Trump Buildup That Won’t Happen

Breaking Defense – Trump’s promised defense budget boost probably won’t materialize, the former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said today, so we can’t afford to grow a larger military. Instead of more ships and troops, retired Adm. James Winnefeld said the military should prioritize investment in new ideas. His own service, for example, should overcome its post-1945 reluctance to lay mines off enemy shores and deploy networks of smart mines. The Army should cut soldiers to buy more modern equipment and stockpile a lot of it in Europe.

Shift the Coast Guard to DoD

Proceedings of the US Naval Institute – Transferring the U.S. Coast Guard to the Department of Defense would enhance the service’s capabilities and the nation’s defense.

Planet’s satellites offer customers a new world view every day

The Economist – Analysing images from space could be big business.

China on edge as US carrier strike group exercises in South China Sea

Asian Times – While the Pentagon insists its warship maneuvers – the first under President Donald Trump – are routine, Beijing has denounced them as a threat.

LCS crew marooned in Singapore on an open-ended deployment

Navy Times – The embarked crew of the littoral combat ship Coronado, forward deployed to Singapore, was supposed to be home for Thanksgiving after a four- or five-month tour. But now the crew has been on board and overseas for eight months and there is no end in sight.

The long story of a small German island in the North Sea

The Economist – The archipelago of Heligoland has a modern parallel.

Link Army, Navy Missile Defense Nets: Adm. Harris

Breaking Defense – The Army and Navy must link their missile defense systems into a single network so Navy weapons can hit targets spotted by Army radars and vice versa, the chief of Pacific Command said today. That’s a daunting technical task but, if surmounted, it could dramatically improve defense against North Korean, Chinese, or Russian missile salvos.

Distributed Lethality and Situational Awareness

CIMSEC – Distributed lethality depends on being hard to find and securing the element of surprise enabled by superior situational awareness. With the adoption of the distributed lethality concept, it is essential that the concept and doctrine for establishing and maintaining the Common Tactical Picture be reviewed and optimized to assure warfare commanders enjoy the tactical advantage of decision superiority over an adversary.

New Houthi weapon emerges: a drone boat

Defense News – The Houthi boat that attacked and hit a Saudi frigate Jan. 30 in the Red Sea, reported earlier as a suicide boat, was instead carried out by an unmanned, remote-controlled craft filled with explosives.

Japan to speed up frigate build to reinforce East China Sea

Reuters – Japan plans to accelerate a warship building program to make two frigates a year to patrol the fringes of the East China Sea, where it disputes island ownership with China.

South China Sea: US carrier group begins ‘routine’ patrols

BBC – US aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson has started what it calls “routine operations” in the South China Sea, with a fleet of supporting warships.

Icebreaker Polar Sea Now a ‘Parts Donor;’ Refurbishment Deemed Too Expensive

USNI News – The Coast Guard has determined it would be too costly to refurbish the heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB-11) and has designated the ship a “parts donor” to sister ship USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10).

Pivot, Part II

Air Force – The US is pressing ahead with plans to improve airpower capabilities in the critical Pacific region.

Russian spy ship lurks off Connecticut coast

CNN – The Russian spy ship Leonov sits 30 miles off the coast of Connecticut. This is the farthest north the Russian spy vessel has ever ventured.

Crash Dive: America’s Pending Submarine Crisis

CIMSEC – The future of naval warfare is increasingly shifting to undersea competition, in both manned and unmanned systems. American seapower has excelled in this domain and holds a competitive edge today beneath the waves. But the U.S. Navy, by a combination of compressed funding and potentially crippling procurement cost increases, may not be well positioned to sustain its mastery of undersea warfare.

Trio of Studies Predict the U.S. Navy Fleet of 2030

USNI News – Three congressionally mandated studies outline what the Navy of 2030 could look like and present three very different takes on how the service could tackle its roles and responsibilities in the future.

Alternative Navy Study Bets Big On Robot PT Boats & LCS

Breaking Defense – Light carriers. Robot PT boats. Unmanned subs. A congressionally chartered study, the Alternative Future Fleet Platform Architecture Study, “does not represent any official Navy position,” but offers a surprisingly bold vision for the future of the US Navy.

More than half of Royal Navy’s attack submarines docked after crack found in reactor

Daily Express – A cracked nuclear reactor has led to more than half of the Royal Navy’s frontline attack submarines being taken out of service.

USS George H.W. Bush Launches Anti-ISIS Strikes from Mediterranean

USNI News – After a two-month gap, the U.S. Navy is again launching carrier-based strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria from the Mediterranean. Strike fighters from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) launched Monday against targets in Syria as part of the ongoing Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).

The Navy is planning fresh challenges to China’s claims in the South China Sea

Navy Times – U.S. Navy and Pacific Command leaders want to ratchet up potentially provocative operations in the South China Sea by sailing more warships near the increasingly militarized man-made islands that China claims as sovereign territory.

US beefing up Red Sea presence

Defense News – Responding to a growing number of dangerous incidents in waters around Yemen, the US Navy is expanding its presence in the Red Sea, especially around the Bab el Mandeb strait at the southern entrance to the waterway.

Ilyushin Unveils Il-38 ASW Upgrade for Russian Navy

AIN – The Ilyushin design bureau and the Russian navy have revealed details of a mission systems upgrade and airframe refurbishment of the Il-38 antisubmarine warfare (ASW) aircraft. At a ceremony on January 31 at Ramenskoye airbase south of Moscow, Russian naval aviation commander Gen. Igor Kozhin said that “about 30” of the 54 Il-38s in the inventory will be modernized, in a program that will continue until 2025.

414 Ships, No LCS: MITRE’s Alternative Navy

Breaking Defense – The Navy needs a vastly larger fleet — 414 warships — to win a great-power war, well above today’s 274 ships or even the Navy’s unfunded plan for 355, the think-tank MITRE calculates in a congressionally-chartered study.