Towards Breakout in the South China Sea: The PRC Shapes a Way Ahead

Second Line of Defense – The seizure of a USN Drone operating 50nm northwest of Subic Bay operating in International waters of South China Sea (SCS) highlights the evolution of PRC policy and reflects a way ahead. The drones and its tender USNS Bowditch were well away from any PRC claims and beyond the 9 dash line. This act could be viewed as piracy on the high seas by the PRC regime’s navy or alternatively, as the logical extension of PRC policy toward the SCS.

A Conversation with Dr. Andrew Erickson on Chinese Naval Shipbuilding

CIMSEC – On the occasion of the publication of his newest book, Chinese Naval Shipbuilding: An Ambitious and Uncertain Course, the 6th volume in the USNI Press’ Studies in Chinese Maritime Development Series, CIMSEC spoke with editor and author Dr. Andrew Erickson, Professor of Strategy in, and a core founding member of, the U.S. Naval War College (NWC)’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI).

Maritime Hybrid Warfare Is Coming

Proceedings – Much has been written about the emergence of “hybrid warfare” in a variety of global scenarios, notably in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. To date, this largely has been confined to land warfare, in terms of both actual practice and theoretical discussion. That is about to change, and we will see the emergence of maritime hybrid warfare over the coming decades, perhaps sooner. Now is the time for the U.S. Navy to begin thinking about these scenarios and how to counter them, both for our own forces and on behalf of allies, partners, and friends in the global maritime coalition.

China’s Maritime Militia a Growing Concern

Defense News – Near the top of US Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift’s concerns is China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), and close behind is the country’s burgeoning Coast Guard. But a third government-controlled seagoing force, the little-known and somewhat mysterious maritime militia, is drawing increased attention.

A Thousand Splendid Guns

US Naval War College Review – In Out of the Mountains, David Kilcullen provides a framework for his “theory of competitive control.” His work focuses on irregular warfare, and in general he addresses nonstate armed groups as one increment along a spectrum of actors competing to control a population. He theorizes that the competitor who can impose predictable norms through persuasive, administrative, and coercive means will succeed. The members of the target audience, for their part, need consistency, and will adhere to this normative system regardless of whether they inherently agree with it or with the competitor’s values.1 What do we learn when we apply Kilcullen’s core principles to China and its conduct in the wider western Pacific as a state-level competitor?

Countering Chinese Expansion Through Mass Enlightenment

CIMSEC – From Newport to New Delhi, a tremendous effort is currently underway to document and analyze China’s pursuit of maritime power. Led by experts in think tanks and academia, this enterprise has produced a rich body of scholarship in a very short period of time. However, even at its very best, this research is incomplete—for it rests on a gross ignorance of Chinese activities at sea.

China’s Maritime Militia – Time to Call them Out?

Defense News – “China’s maritime militia is only as deniable for China as we allow it to be, and we don’t have to allow it to be deniable,” said Andrew Erickson, a professor of strategy at the US Naval War College, where he is a founding member of the China Maritime Studies Institute. The militia, Erickson said, are controlled directly by the Chinese military, adding another degree of complexity to at-sea confrontations below that of the navy and coast guard. The craft, he said, are “working in close coordination with the other two more powerful sea forces or at least with their backing and coordination added as necessary.”