2017 World Naval Operational News Highlights

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

  • The lack of any meaningful progress towards creating a 355 ship fleet for the US Navy. How much longer will the US Navy continue to be over-tasked and under-resourced, and what will be the consequences?

  • The tragic collisions involving the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain and the root causes of those collisions. How could the training of these ship’s crews been allowed to lapse to such a shocking degree, and how will the US Navy ensure that such a lapse will not happen again?

  • The loss of the Argentinian Navy submarine San Juan. Are modern submarines too complex for small navies to operate safely?

  • The opening of the Chinese Navy’s first overseas base in Dijbouti. Is this the first concrete naval step in China’s One Belt and One Road Initiative?

  • The Philippines folding to Chinese pressure over their claims to territory in the South China Sea, despite have the weight of a UN tribunal behind them. Who’s next?

  • The announcement by both France and the United Kingdom of mini naval pivots to Asia in order to counter the Chinese Navy’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea. Why has it taken them so long to realize they have interests in the Pacific as well?

  • The standing up of formal amphibious capabilities by the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and the Royal Australian Navy. Why is the United Kingdom, at the same time, considering standing down the Royal Navy’s formal amphibious capability?

  • The effect of BREXIT on the United Kingdom’s defense procurement and operations. How will it change the size and architecture of the Royal Navy’s fleet?

  • The newly identified Russian threat to undersea communication cables. Are these Internet fiber optic pipes a new maritime center of gravity that NATO needs to plan on defending?

  • The increasing Russian military strength in the Arctic which is backing up a clear strategy for the region. Can the West articulate a counter-strategy and resource it?