NATO’s Big Test?

The Art of the Future Project – Jeremy Shapiro’s poignant fictional piece in Foreign Policy, This is How NATO Ends, bristles the academic, humors the skeptic, as it paints a dark future for the 68-year-old alliance. Good fictional speculation should draw on history to explore and challenge through imagination; it is the reader’s role to test his or her own assumptions as well by putting themselves in another person’s shoes.

India’s Submarine Arm – Returning to Even-Trim

CIMSEC – The Indian Navy’s Submarine Arm will celebrate its Golden Jubilee Year in 2017. The imminent commissioning of the Kalvari — in her new avatar as India’s first Scorpène Class submarine — is, therefore, an especially timely portent of happier times for the underwater sentinels of our freedom. For some time now, much media-time has been devoted to lamenting the several perceived inadequacies in the country’s submarine prowess, especially after the tragedy that struck INS Sindhurakshak in Mumbai on 14 August 2013, resulting in the loss of 18 precious lives and the loss of an invaluable combat platform…

China’s Naval Shipbuilding Sets Sail

National Interest – China has parlayed the world’s second-largest economy and second-largest defense budget into the world’s largest ongoing comprehensive naval buildup, which has already yielded the world’s second-largest navy. All that is only part of an extraordinary maritime transformation—modern history’s sole example of a land power becoming a hybrid land-sea power on a sustained basis. Underwriting this transition are a vast network of ports, shipping lines and financial systems, and increasingly advanced ships. It also raises the rare prospect of a top-tier non-Western sea power in peacetime, one of the few instances to occur since the Ming Dynasty developed cutting-edge nautical technologies and briefly projected unrivaled power across the Indian Ocean six centuries ago. These factors raise a critical question for our age: Where is China headed at sea, and to what end?

Russia’s Evolving Arctic Capabilities

CIMSEC – Far from the battlegrounds of East Ukraine and Syria another confrontation with Russia is brewing. As the Arctic ice retreats countries with claims in the Arctic are more willing to extract the resources found in this inhospitable location. The U.S. estimates the Arctic seabed is home to about 15 percent of the world’s remaining oil, up to 30 percent of its natural gas deposits, and about 20 percent of its liquefied natural gas. Like the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway, Russia has its own claim on a section of the Arctic which it is now looking to defend and expand. Today we are witnessing a resurgent Russia in the Arctic, deploying more troops and equipment to the Arctic in support of its claims.

Islands on the frontline of a new global flashpoint: China v Japan

The Guardian – Ishigaki Island does not look like a frontline. Japan’s own tropical idyll, it is a sleepy place of pineapple fields and mango orchards, where thousands of tourists potter along white sand beaches and scuba dive in crystal clear seas. Yet this tiny dot on the edge of the Pacific is the closest Japanese town to the uninhabited but fiercely disputed Senkaku Islands, once inhospitable home to a tuna processing factory, now abandoned but key to lucrative fishing grounds, oil and gas fields and a strategic shipping route.

China Gains on the U.S. in the Artificial Intelligence Arms Race

New York Times – The United States no longer has a strategic monopoly on artificial intelligence technology, which is widely seen as the key factor in the next generation of warfare. The Pentagon’s plan to bring A.I. to the military is taking shape as Chinese researchers assert themselves in the nascent technology field.

Egypt boosts navy as part of Red Sea strategy

UPI – By establishing a naval force in the Red Sea, Egypt aims for more than protecting navigation in the Suez Canal, a vital wa­terway for international trade, mili­tary experts said. “The force will be the backbone of Egypt’s new Red Sea strategy,” former Assistant Defense Minis­ter Hossam Suweilam said. “There is a marked surge of unrest in the southern entrance to the Red Sea, which needs an aggressive policy.”

Navy Commits To High-Tech Catapults, Arresting Gear For All 3 Ford Carriers

Breaking Defense – Despite congressional doubts, years of delays, and almost $5 billion in overruns, the US Navy has now locked in two controversial high-tech systems for all three of its Ford-class supercarriers. First, a week ago, the Navy announced a review of alternative systems had decided to stick with General Atomics’ Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) for all three flattops. Today, General Atomics announced it had also won a $533 million sole-source contract to install its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) on the third and final ship, the USS Enterprise.

Russia, Syria Agree on Mediterranean Naval Base Expansion, Refit of Syrian Ships

USNI News – Russia and Syria have signed an agreement this week to expand Russia’s sole foreign base – a naval repair facility in Syria – into a larger naval base capable of permanently hosting 11 ships. The agreement would allow the Tartus installation to expand to berth larger surface combatants and submarines