The Baltic, Poland, and President Trump’s Warsaw Declaration

US Naval War College Review – There may be no greater potential flash point in Europe today than the Baltic Sea region (BSR). The convergence of the Kaliningrad outpost; the riparian powers, neutrals, NATO allies, and Russia; and economics and military force in general makes for an explosive brew that may merely simmer—or may boil over and ignite a larger conflict. While much of the debate focuses on the Baltic littorals and hinterlands, it is the Baltic Sea itself that sits, physically and strategically, at the center of the issue. It is critical for naval policy makers and scholars today to understand the history of the BSR.

Mission Command and Zero Error Tolerance Cannot Coexist

USNI Proceedings – To enable true mission command, the Navy must dismantle its zero-defect mentality. It is doubtful World War II heroes Chester Nimitz, Ernest King, and Raymond Spruance would reach even the rank of captain today.

“Sea of Peace” or Sea of War—Russian Maritime Hybrid Warfare in the Baltic Sea

US Naval War College Review – Russian destabilization efforts aimed at the Baltic States are most likely to come from the Baltic Sea; be maritime, nonlethal, and nonnaval; and use political, diplomatic, informational, psychological, and economic tools, and perhaps paramilitary forces.

The Other Mine Warfare Will Work

USNI Proceedings – The Navy has a blind spot about offensive mining, but technological advances and a new concept of operations could make it a game changer.

China Is Studying Russia’s Robot Submarines—and Is Building One of Their Own

National Interest – Chinese naval strategists have watched the development of Russia’s Status-6 large-scale UUV with considerable interest.

Underway—Beijing’s Strategy to Build China into a Maritime Great Power

US Naval War College Review – In its official documents, China has defined what it means by the term maritime great power and has laid out how it intends to achieve that status, becoming the world’s “main maritime power” by 2049.

Peace Through Strength: What It Really Means

USNI News – In 1970 in the Mediterranean, the USS Independence (CVA-62) and the Soviet destroyer shadowing her activated their fire-control radars and locked onto each other. The author, a young ensign at the time, recalls his disappointment when the tensions came to naught but concludes the strength of Sixth Fleet kept the Soviets from pushing too far.

Mission Command in a Future Naval Combat Environment

US Naval War College Review – Naval officers must understand the considerations required to exert effective mission command as operations devolve into forms characterized by lesser degrees of structure and control.

The Carrier’s Role is Narrowing

USNI Proceedings – Long the centerpiece of the U.S. Navy, the aircraft carrier will become a more focused player.

Japan’s New Super-Sized Destroyer Will Help Defend Against Ballistic Missiles And More

War Zone – The pair of ships could shoot down North Korea missiles, as well as challenge Chinese claims and aid Japan in projecting power beyond its shores.

A Maritime Oil Blockade Against China—Tactically Tempting but Strategically Flawed

US Naval War College Review – The political, economic, and financial aspects of sustaining an oil blockade against China mean that even a militarily successful blockader could find its political, economic, and diplomatic position untenable well before a blockade could exert its full effects.

20,000 Drones Under the Sea

USNI Proceedings – More than century ago, Jules Verne envisioned what an individual might do if able to operate uncontested in the underwater domain. Captain Nemo, the iconic antihero in Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea , harnessed his wealth and engineering genius to build the ultimate disruptive machine of his time, the submarine Nautilus . Today, the undersea domain is an active arena of competition, but nonstate actors do not play a significant role. That almost certainly will change in the next decade, and the United States is not prepared for the threat this new reality will present.

Framing Marine Corps Culture

USNI Proceedings – Marine Corps culture is rooted in the service’s long and storied history. Arguably, its culture is what differentiates it from other services and contributes to its fighting prowess and success.

Russia’s Strategy in the Black Sea Basin

War on the Rocks – Although Moscow is in no position to dominate the Baltic Sea, its efforts to turn the Black Sea into a mare nostrum are bearing fruit. Over the past several years, the Kremlin has mastered the Baltic feint: By engaging in aerial and maritime provocations in a region highly monitored by the West, Russia is able to entrench its position in the Black Sea without notice. While most U.S. strategists worry about the Suwalki Gap on the Polish-Lithuanian border as a potential Russian invasion route into Central Europe, it is Russia’s buildup in the Black Sea that should concern policymakers. By using the Black Sea as a springboard, Russia can project power beyond its immediate surroundings — into the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean — and strengthen its reemergence as a great power.

Avast, me hearties

Economist – How aquatic, autonomous robots could reduce lawlessness at sea.

Fleet Tactics Returns – A Conversation With Authors Wayne Hughes and Bob Girrier

CIMSEC – A conversation with CAPT Wayne Hughes, USN (Ret.) and RADM Robert Girrier, USN (Ret.) about the new edition of Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations.

Is a New Russian Black Sea Fleet Coming? Or is it Here?

War on the Rocks – Last summer, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russia will continue to strengthen its forces around the Black Sea in order to “neutralize the security threat in the Black Sea region from NATO.”

AI Will Change the Balance of Power

USNI Proceedings – Artificial intelligence and autonomous systems will disrupt the traditional calculation of military power. To adapt, the United States must stay nimble and ramp up investments in learning, research, and development.

Ready, Responsive, Relevant?

USNI Proceedings – The majority of the U.S. public is unaware of the Coast Guard beyond its response to national-level incidents such as hurricanes and oil spills. The service blames the lack of national awareness on its small size, but ignores the real problem: The Coast Guard does not care about its public affairs program. Rather than embracing the program as a mission enabler, the service has allowed it to become depleted from decades of neglect. The program’s lack of focus, lack of leadership, and lack of resources hinder the Coast Guard’s ability to connect with the audiences necessary to move the service forward.

Iran To Practice Blockading Strait Of Hormuz As Saudis Say Mandeb Strait Is No Longer Safe

War Zone – Any serious Iranian attempt to shut down both passages simultaneously could be a nightmare scenario for international commerce, or worse.

Prepare to Fight in Megacities

USNI Proceedings – There are at least 35 megacities — or “dense urban areas” (DUAs), in doctrinal terms—in the world, most of them adjacent to littorals. Lagos, Nigeria; Mumbai, India; and Seoul, South Korea, to name just three, are among the many that also sit in active or potential conflict zones. The U.S. military almost certainly will have to fight in one or more of these 35 in the near future.

Black Sea’s Back, Alright?

War on the Rocks – When analyzing the clash between Russia and the West, it is common to speak of a contest for influence in the post-Soviet space. That is not quite true. Only certain post-Soviet states have become real battlegrounds, and all are located along the shores of the Black Sea. Consider, for example, the frozen conflicts that emerged from the Soviet collapse and that have been sustained with Russian help. Of these conflicts — Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region, Georgia’s ongoing disputes with its Abkhazia and South Ossetia territories, and now the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine — all ring the Black Sea.

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Now Russia Wants To Bring Back Missile-Armed Ekranoplans To Defend Its Claims In The Arctic

War Zone – The combat-capable “Orlan” could be as much an anti-access weapon as a tool for improving operational access to remote areas.