Invisible Blockades and Strategic Coercion

War on the Rocks – When the U.S. seeks to counter aggression, state-sponsored terrorism, or other threats without conducting a full-scale war, the use of naval mining for strategic ends could help it to achieve its aims, as an alternative or complement to aerial bombing. In addition to economic and diplomatic measures, which may not be sufficient, demonstratively mining a nation’s ports can apply pressure both directly and via third parties. Without casualties, and while managing potential escalatory risks, the U.S. can coerce another nation to modify its behavior. The naval mining of North Vietnam was the archetype of such a campaign, one which achieved its limited aims of freeing Americans and enabling withdrawal. Given a modicum of investment in U.S. mining capabilities, overt naval mining could be used to coerce adversarial states by constraining them with an invisible blockade. 

How Can the Marines Learn From the Falklands War?

War on the Rocks – The U.S. Marine Corps has made it a priority to address the rise of great-power competition in the Indo-Pacific. British forces in the Falklands operated in a similar manner to how the commandant envisions marines operating in the future: small formations distributed across vast expanses of maritime terrain, relatively limited indirect fire support, and limited traditional close air support. Vertical lift aircraft were critical to enabling British maneuver and logistical sustainment in the South Atlantic. But these aircraft are largely absent from new Marine Corps concepts.

US hypes China’s JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile deployment ‘with ulterior motives’

Global Times – The US recently claimed that China has fielded new, longer-range submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) to threaten the US, but Chinese military experts said on Sunday that China’s SLBM development aims to defend itself from nuclear blackmail, and that the US military’s speculation has ulterior motives which would see it gain more funds to enhance its capabilities.

“Reunification” with Taiwan through Force Would Be a Pyrrhic Victory for China

CSIS – When considered more holistically, the implications of an attack on Taiwan would be grim for Beijing, even if Chinese forces “successfully” capture the island. China would probably be diplomatically and economically isolated from key advanced economies, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping would have to tread a narrow path to avoid dire consequences for China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a whole. This analysis helps clarify what could be at stake for the world and reaffirms the importance of deterring Beijing from contemplating such an attack on Taiwan.

Accelerating capability for the fleet: The case of the CMV-22B

Breaking Defense – The Navy faces a key strategic decision. Will it leave a very predictable contested logistics gap for the fleet? Or will it close that gap by ramping up its buy of CMV-22Bs with a hot production line in place? By adding 24 CMV-22Bs to the buy, provision for carrier resupply in contested operations would be significantly enhanced. This kind of decision, which provides an ability to ramp up fleet capabilities in the midterm and provide an input the kind of capabilities which the US Navy and allies like the Aussies need as well, for the Osprey can provide for point-to-point support to Aussie ships as well.

A future vision for the Royal Navy – the Maritime Operating Concept

Navy Lookout – In September 2022 the RN published the Maritime Operating Concept (MarOpC) which essentially lays out a vision of how the RN and other stakeholders in the maritime domain will evolve and develop to meet the challenges of the future. Here we examine aspects of the document and look at some of the questions around taking its ideas and making them a reality.

Evolving Marines and Aerial ASW For the Undersea Fight

CIMSEC – The Marine Corps has two rapid options for establishing an ASW capability – a modified MV-22 or the MQ-9B Sea Guardian. Although the Corps has not planned to acquire ASW aircraft, the Commandant’s thoughts on the importance of ASW in the High North and the western Pacific combined with the ARG’s vulnerability means that consideration for a platform must be considered. The Commandant is divesting of legacy equipment and end strength to invest in future equipment. With the Navy’s shortage of ASW assets, it makes sense for the Marine Corps to support the maritime fight not just with land-based anti-surface fires and sensing, but also with its own ASW aircraft.