– USNI News – Russia will start construction on a planned five-year expansion of its naval base in Syria this spring, officials said in Russian state media.
– Reuters – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the navy to put up “structures” to assert sovereignty over a stretch of water east of the country, where Manila has reported a Chinese survey ship was casing the area last year.
– BBC – An oil tanker has been hijacked by suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, the first such hijacking in the region in five years.
– Breaking Defense – The usefulness of the aircraft carrier, long the centerpiece of American naval power in the world, was in serious question, one year ago. Chronic underfunding, poor strategic assumptions and bad acquisition decisions had left the carrier defensively unprotected and offensively underpowered as its airwing both shrank in size and striking range. President Trump’s election and his public commitment to a 350-ship Navy as well as his explicit call for a twelfth carrier, effectively truncates these concerns, bringing the promise of additional capabilities that will ensure the safety and effectiveness of the carrier.