Japan signs off on Marines plan for new littoral ‘stand-in’ group in Okinawa

Breaking Defense – A revamped US Marine Corps quick-reaction force outfitted with offensive and defensive weapons will be stood up on Okinawa by 2025, Japanese and American officials announced today during a high-profile engagement in Washington, the latest in a string of diplomatic moves by Tokyo apparently aimed at checking Chinese influence in the region.

Add Israel to the Combined Maritime Forces and its Red Sea task force

Defense News – Egypt took command of the multinational Combined Task Force 153 on Dec. 12 during a ceremony in Bahrain. The task force, which was established in April 2022, focuses on maritime security in the Red Sea, the Bab el-Mandeb and the Gulf of Aden. Egypt’s laudable new leadership of CTF 153 and the task force’s growing momentum will help secure vital waterways, while building partner capacity and enhancing cooperation among regional and international forces.

Europeans wade into fighting seabed threats with drones and sensors

Defense News – Shaken by an underwater explosion that ripped through the Nord Stream pipelines in September, European nations are waking up to the task of securing the ocean floors that house the continent’s arteries of wealth. But protecting the vast network of energy pipelines and communications cables that line the surrounding bodies of water comes down to a familiar question: Who’s in charge?

The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan

CSIS – CSIS developed a wargame for a Chinese amphibious invasion of Taiwan and ran it 24 times. In most scenarios, the United States/Taiwan/Japan defeated a conventional amphibious invasion by China and maintained an autonomous Taiwan. However, this defense came at high cost. The United States and its allies lost dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft, and tens of thousands of servicemembers. Taiwan saw its economy devastated. Further, the high losses damaged the U.S. global position for many years. China also lost heavily, and failure to occupy Taiwan might destabilize Chinese Communist Party rule. Victory is therefore not enough. The United States needs to strengthen deterrence immediately.

How the Weak Can Beat the Strong in War at Sea

US Naval War College Review – Modern asymmetric naval technologies have not erased the effects of geography. As fortress fleets evolved from dominating harbors to dominating near-sea expanses, weaker naval powers continued to blend the land with the sea to overcome their relative weakness. In response, the stronger naval power must stand ready to win command of the sea through an equally blended strategy.

Chinese Lessons From the Pacific War: Implications for PLA Warfighting

CBSA – Toshi Yoshihara surveys Chinese histories of the Pacific War to discern lessons that mainland analysts have drawn from the ocean-spanning struggle. He examines the extensive Chinese-language literature on the great battles at Midway, Guadalcanal, and Okinawa and pinpoints the operational insights that Chinese strategists have gleaned from them. The selected campaigns involved warfighting that will feature prominently in a future Sino-American conflict: carrier air warfare, contested amphibious landings, expeditionary logistics, and electronic warfare.

Yoshihara finds that Chinese analysts, including those affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), have scrutinized the Pacific War. Their historical accounts of the war at sea explicitly draw lessons for the future of Chinese warfighting, including warfare in the information age, modern amphibious operations, land-based maritime strike, and expeditionary logistics. Yoshihara uncovers in these analyses tantalizing hints of the PLA’s deeply held beliefs about warfare, and of the PLA’s enduring weaknesses that it is seeking to reverse. By looking at the Pacific War through Chinese eyes, Yoshihara argues, the policy community can better appraise Beijing’s evolving views of potential great power wars in the Indo-Pacific.