Between Scylla and Charybdis: ASEAN and the U.S.-China Contest for the South China Sea

CIMSEC – ASEAN and its members are in an increasingly dangerous dilemma. They are under mounting pressure to choose between the U.S. and China in their competition for political and military preeminence in the region. In response, ASEAN member states are maneuvering to maintain their ‘neutrality’ and pursue ASEAN ‘centrality’ in international affairs affecting the region. Their perspectives and roles in this great power competition merit closer examination, as well as how they are adapting to it, and what—if anything—ASEAN can do.

Don’t Send This Aircraft Carrier to the Persian Gulf

National Interest – That’s James Holme’s advice to senior decisionmakers who appear set on deploying the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to the Persian Gulf region just six months after the flattop completed an epic seven-month cruise during which the crew broke all records for consecutive days at sea. Crewmembers spent 205 days at sea, enjoying zero R&R time in port as the ship skirted the pandemic.

India’s Strategy For the Indian Ocean in Light of COVID-19 and Confrontation With China

CIMSEC – Paradoxically, though COVID-19 has weakened India’s economic ability to fund its naval infrastructure and assets program for the Indian Ocean, it has enabled India to strengthen its links with Indian Ocean micro-states through the humanitarian assistance delivered by the navy. Meanwhile, land confrontation with China at Galwan has encouraged India to deepen its military links with other maritime powers operating in the Indian Ocean. In an unstated but evident balancing fashion, this is enabling India to improve its maritime position in the Indian Ocean vis-à-vis China.

The Pathway Toward Containment: Fleet Actions for the United States and ASEAN Plus 5

CIMSEC – The coalition model in the Gulf of Aden helped offset the investment the U.S. had to make in terms of military capability and national treasure. As global commerce routes travel through the Gulf of Aden, it rightfully took a globally-sourced solution to solve the situation. Now as the rules-based system is being challenged in the region of Southeast Asia, it should take a Southeast Asian solution, with outside partners offering help. Only with partners and allies can nations begin to push back the tide of revisionist China and uphold the international rule of law.

New Intelligence: Chinese Copy Of US Navy’s Sea Hunter USV

Naval News – A candid photograph posted on Chinese social media sheds light on a Chinese project to develop a drone-ship similar to the U.S. Navy’s Sea Hunter. The trimaran is remarkably similar to the Sea Hunter in almost every respect.

USS Carl Vinson Preparing for First F-35C, ‘Advanced Carrier Air Wing’ Deployment

USNI News – Next year, the most advanced carrier air wing in history will sail to the Pacific aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). Last week, the Carrier Air Wing 2 took the first steps in getting its new F-35C Joint Strike Fighters and CMV-22B Ospreys integrated into the air wing and aboard the carrier.

America’s top Marine says the US must shake up its military presence in the Pacific

Defense News – The way the United States military has had forces arrayed in the Pacific for the last 70 years must change to meet a new threat environment, the US Marine Corps’ top general said Wednesday, arguing that the force must be in more places and spread across a wider area.

The Pentagon is eyeing a 500-ship Navy, documents reveal

Defense News – The Pentagon’s upcoming recommendation for a future Navy is expected to call for a significant increase in the number of ships, with officials discussing a fleet as large as 530 hulls.

Italy Resurgent: Defending National Interests in the Mediterranean

CIMSEC – Italy must stand ready, as one of the most advanced countries on the basin, to guarantee freedom of navigation and the protection of its national interests in order to guarantee respect for international law.

Marines’ New Amphibious Combat Vehicles Will Start Arriving at Units Ahead of Schedule

Military.com – Marine Corps modernization officials said Tuesday that the service has completed testing of its new amphibious combat vehicle, or ACV, and will begin fielding the replacement to the older amphibious assault vehicle next month, ahead of schedule.

The hapless attack sub Boise could return to the fleet in 2023 after 8 years sidelined

Defense News – It has been five years since the attack submarine Boise returned from its last patrol, and this whole time she has been waiting on some loving care and attention in the shipyards.

How Robert O’Brien helped steer the Pentagon toward a bigger Navy

Politico – Next month, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser is expected to make a highly unusual visit to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine to lay out the commander in chief’s vision for a bigger Navy.

Marine Corps’ Builds New Littoral Regiment, Eye On Fake Chinese Islands

Breaking Defense – The Marine Corps is moving quickly to develop a new kind of infantry unit to challenge Chinese claims on small islands in the Pacific, while the Navy is developing new and smaller ships to move and supply them once they deploy.

Unraveling China With Soft Balancing: Malaysia, ASEAN, and the South China Sea

CIMSEC – If China follows the international rule of law it will grow stronger and become more respected. Its growing integration with the region need not be accompanied by a growing sense of mistrust. China needs ASEAN to maintain its growth, and ASEAN needs China and the U.S. for both growth and security, respectively. Once this is understood and reflected in the policies of great powers, new dynamics will not only benefit ASEAN Members, but ultimately China and the U.S. as well.

Royal Navy tests world’s most advanced torpedo against Plymouth warship

Plymouth Herald – The Royal Navy has tested the world’s most advanced torpedo against one of its own warships – and it is now on the cusp of being added to Silent Service’s hunter-killer and nuclear-deterrent submarines’ arsenal.

(Thanks to Alain)

US Marines wants to move fast on a light amphibious warship. But what is it?

Defense News – The U.S. Marine Corps is moving as fast as it can to field a new class of light amphibious warship, but it remains unclear what it will do, where it will be based or what capabilities it will bring to the fight.

Southeast Asia: A New Strategic Nexus for Japan’s Maritime Strategy

CIMSEC – With all branches of Japan state power now investing in Southeast Asian maritime security, this region is cementing as a new nexus in Japan’s maritime strategy. The scope, strategic intent, and likely future development of Japan’s maritime security activities in Southeast Asia merits closer examination.

The Arctic is a strategic hot spot, but Western allies lack good intel

Defense News – The United States and its allies have been chilling out this summer, but experts and officials say something has been missing that prevents them from making the most of the experience.

The Mediterranean Sea Is One Dangerous Place

National Interest – James Holmes writes that Russia’s navy conducts live-fire exercises. Greek and Turkish ships collide while staking claims to undersea resources. Civil war rages in Libya and smolders in Syria, drawing in outside powers with competing agendas and little love for one another. European coast guards and navies struggle to stem a flood of refugees fleeing unrest in North Africa and the Levant. And on and on. While military and maritime folk rightly focus on managing events in maritime Asia, the headlines serve notice that the Mediterranean Sea is far from placid. Newsworthy events are commonplace of late.

Did the US Marine Corps give up on a big ship-based surveillance drone too soon?

Defense News – The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps both say they need expanded surveillance capabilities for a potential fight with China, but the Marines have cut bait on a big, ship-based system that some analysts say would make a big difference for both services.

Secretive Seawolf Submarine Makes Port Call In Europe For The Second Time In Two Months

War Zone – The advanced submarine has been spotted sailing to the Royal Navy’s main base in Scotland just weeks after making an unusually public visit to Norway.

Vietnam’s Struggles in the South China Sea: Challenges and Opportunities

CIMSEC – In recent years, China has deployed grey zone tactics, such as utilizing micro-aggressive measures such as maritime militia and the deployment of survey vessels to enforce its claims. Vietnam, as one of the major claimants involved, has been a frequent target of these tactics. With only weak, symbolic reactions to China’s aggression, Vietnam is without a proactive or effective strategy to fight back. There are policies that Vietnam should adopt, but at the heart of these policies is the need for more international cooperation in resolving the issues linked to China’s strategy.

MQ-9B SeaGuardian Maritime UAV: Which Missions ? Which Customers ?

Naval News – MQ-9B SeaGuardian maritime tests flights concluded off the coast of California on September 11th. They can probably be seen as the next step toward a worldwide export success. Indeed, if the first variant of the MQ-9 Predator-B mainly served as an ISR platform for above ground missions, the new MQ-9B SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian is likely to find much more customers in its maritime variant.