2019 World Naval Operational News Highlights

The ten most significant naval news stories / trends / themes this year included:

  • Iranian attacks on oil tankers, oil refineries, and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Persian Gulf as Western sanctions continue to harm the Iranian economy. Can the US continue to stay the course and resist retaliation?

  • The steady increase in the size of the Israeli Navy and the increasing recognition within Israel of its importance in protecting its shipping lanes, littorals, ports, energy reserves and deterrence capability. Will it receive the increasing portion of the defense budget that it deserves in the future?

  • The debut of Chinese containerized anti-ship cruise missiles that could turn their commerical fleet into warships and the commercial ports they control around the world into missile bases. How does this change the world-wide balance of naval power?

  • China’s creative experiments at undersea replenishment using commercial ships to resupply its warships. When will the US Navy undertake similar experiments to help compensate for the small size and vulnerability of its logistics force? Amateurs talk tactics, generals (and admirals!) talk logistics…

  • China’s firing of anti-ship ballistic missiles from its island bases in the South China Sea. As their militarization of the South China Sea progresses, where will they build their next sand castle?

  • The year of the flattop. The US Marine Corps gained increased experience in operating its F-35Bs in large numbers from its amphibious assault ships (“Lightning Carrier” concept), the Royal Navy gained increased experience in operating its F-35Bs from its aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and commissioned its second carrier HMS Prince of Wales, and the Chinese Navy commissioned its second aircraft carrier Shandong and its first amphibious assault ship Type 075. When will the US Navy take significant steps towards extending the range of its carrier air wing, besides buying a token number of MQ-25 tankers?

  • The chaotic leadership at the US Department of Defense in general with multiple Secretaries of Defense this year, and in the US Navy in specific with the resignations of the nominee for the Chief of Naval Operations and the Secretary of the Navy. What negative effect is this having on the Department of the Navy?

  • The declaration of what the future of the Marines is by the new US Marine Corps Commandant: Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations, and their rapid progress towards defining it, wargaming it and starting to determine how they need to change their force structure to be able to implement it. Will the US Congress approve the changes in US Marine Corps structure necessary to accomplish it?

  • As part of its definition of Distributed Maritime Operations, the US Navy is taking its first concrete steps towards building unmanned surface vehicles. Can the US Navy articulate its plan clearly to the US Congress so they will approve the budget for it? Was asking the US Congress to retire early a carrier (USS Truman) with 25 years of life left on it the right way for the Navy to try to fund its future?

  • All the hype about hypersonic weapons. Will 2020 be the year that we see these weapons tested and deployed within a coherent concept of operations?

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War Studies Primer

Visit the War Studies Primer for an introductory course on the study of war.

Look at slides 2 and 3 in the War Studies Primer for its Table of Contents, and then choose a lecture to read and enjoy.

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You can also follow us on social media as @nosintel on Facebook at facebook.com/nosintel or on Twitter at twitter.com/nosintel

The First Narco Submarine Ever Seized Off A European Coast Is A Monster

War Zone – This is the first time authorities in Europe have intercepted one of these vessels, which have been a staple in Latin American drug smuggling.

In First, NATO Ships Share Target Data & Knock Down Ballistic Missiles

Breaking Defense – Warships from several NATO allies tracked and knocked down ballistic missile targets from the sea for the first time sharing targeting information across a shared alliance network.

Five European navies rally around Cold War-era ‘Channel Committee’

Defense News – Senior navy leaders from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands signed a pact on Thursday placing a renewed focus on the English Channel as a key strategic region for NATO.

War Studies Primer

Visit the War Studies Primer for an introductory course on the study of war.

Look at slides 2 and 3 in the War Studies Primer for its Table of Contents, and then choose a lecture to read and enjoy.

Ways to Follow NOSI

To see every post you can also follow NOSI via RSS at nosi.org/feed or via email by entering your email address and clicking on the Follow button in the right hand column of the site.

You can also follow us on social media as @nosintel on Facebook at facebook.com/nosintel or on Twitter at twitter.com/nosintel

Confederate Sea Denial and Tactics of Asymmetric Naval Warfare

CIMSEC – The future U.S. way of war must innovate beyond the Second World War strategy of out-producing adversaries, since the U.S. has fewer shipyards and its rivals may have greater industrial capacity. The Confederate States Navy provides an excellent example of an under-industrialized innovative underdog struggling to defend itself against an industrial juggernaut.

The Secretary of Hyperwar

USNI Proceedings – This fictional vignette, with an analytical intermission, explores the role of the Secretary of Defense managing a high-intensity conflict with China during the late 2020s.

The Man Who Couldn’t Take It Anymore

The Atlantic – “I had no choice but to leave,” General James Mattis says of his decision to resign as President Trump’s secretary of defense.

War Studies Primer

Visit the War Studies Primer for an introductory course on the study of war.

Look at slides 2 and 3 in the War Studies Primer for its Table of Contents, and then choose a lecture to read and enjoy.

Ways to Follow NOSI

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Navy Nightmare: Meet the 1 Thing That Could Make Submarines Obsolete

National Interest – Submarines can run—but they can’t hide—from drones.

On the Decline of European Naval Power: A Conversation With Jeremy Stohs, Part 2

CIMSEC – More from Jeremy Stohs.

On the Decline of European Naval Power: A Conversation With Jeremy Stohs, Part 1

CIMSEC – The decline of European naval power can provide insight into the evolution of Europe’s naval forces since the end of the Cold War.

Undersea Surveillance: Supplementing the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Outlook

CIMSEC – Successful tracking foreign submarines would make the ASEAN Outlook more valid in the Indo-Pacific geostrategic landscape.

War Studies Primer

Visit the War Studies Primer for an introductory course on the study of war.

Look at slides 2 and 3 in the War Studies Primer for its Table of Contents, and then choose a lecture to read and enjoy.

Love, Carl

War on the Rocks – This short story was submitted in response to the call for ideas issued by the co-chairs of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, Eric Schmidt and Robert Work. It addresses the first question (part b.) which asks authors to consider what might happen if the United States fails to develop robust AI capabilities that address national security issues.

Ship Visit: Sea Shepherd Shows the Future of Fisheries Protection

War on the Rocks – West African nations have more successfully cracked down on illegal fishing in recent years. Coastal nations have suffered from a lack of patrol ships, which prevents them from improving fisheries policing…Just a few offshore patrol vessels can make a significant difference in a nation’s ability to deter illegal fishing, which becomes evident when one compares gross tonnage of the fleets of various nation states. That’s where Sea Shepherd comes in.

NATO’s Selective Sea Blindness—Assessing the Alliance’s New Navies

US Naval War College Review – The navies of NATO countries fall into two categories: old and new. The new navies lack modernization and readiness, making them deficient in their contributions to NATO security priorities. Sea blindness is a problem across the spectrum of NATO governments and illuminating this problem is now more important than ever in light of an increasingly aggressive Russia.

Preparing Today for the Mines of Tomorrow

US Naval War College Review – Maritime mining long has been called on to support various naval strategies. However, shifting objectives and naval priorities call for new analysis. By adapting methodologies developed for land mines, we can find measures of effectiveness (MOEs) aligned to operational objectives, explore developmental mining concepts, and present new MOEs for maritime mining operations.

War Studies Primer

Visit the War Studies Primer for an introductory course on the study of war.

Look at slides 2 and 3 in the War Studies Primer for its Table of Contents, and then choose a lecture to read and enjoy.

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You can also follow NOSI via RSS at nosi.org/feed or receive an email every time a blog post is published by entering your email address and clicking on the Follow button in the right hand column of the site or on Facebook at facebook.com/nosintel or on Twitter at twitter.com/nosintel