– War Zone – Advanced, but relatively small kits will allow even conventional subs to become increasingly powerful intelligence collectors.
– USNI News – Officials in Japan are weighing arming their fleet of guided-missile destroyers with Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles as a hedge against North Korean missile attacks.
– Congressional Research Service – Ronald O’Rourke’s latest report on the Chinese Maritime Militia.
– Defense News – Two Japanese destroyers joined up with the Carl Vinson carrier strike group in the Philippine Sea Sunday for renewed bilateral exercises, the Japan-based U.S. Seventh Fleet announced. The Vinson is headed north for the Sea of Japan in an expression of U.S. resolve as North Korea continues to develop offensive ballistic missiles with nuclear capability.
– Economist – Bad news for giant clams and for the other littoral states in the South China Sea.
– CIMSEC – The first of a three-part conclusion on the maritime militia of Hainan Province.
– USNI News – The president of Taiwan announced the start of a domestic submarine program. Taiwan estimates the process will take ten years for the first attack boat to be ready – four for design, four for construction and two additional years of testing.
– Reuters – In a display of military power aimed at China, France will dispatch one of its powerful Mistral amphibious carriers to lead drills on and around Tinian island in the western Pacific, with Japanese and U.S. personnel and two troop-carrying helicopters sent by Britain.
– National Interest – Russia is set to launch its second Yasen-class nuclear-powered attack submarine on March 30. Called Kazan, the new vessel is an upgraded Project 885M design that is in many ways much more capable than the lead ship of the class, K-560 Severodvinsk.
– China Brief – A new leader has just taken the helm of the world’s largest navy. Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong (沈金龙) reportedly replaced Admiral Wu Shengli (吴胜利) as PLAN Commander on January 17, 2017. Authoritative state media reports have offered few details on Shen, making it important to analyze a broad array of Chinese-language sources to distill what his elevation may mean for China as a maritime power.
– Reuters – Japan plans to dispatch its largest warship, the helicopter carrier Izumo, on a three-month tour through the South China Sea beginning in May, in its biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two.
– Times of India – Another iconic naval platform is now set for retirement after aircraft carrier INS Viraat. The Soviet-origin Tupolev-142M aircraft, which helped the force keep a hawk-eye on enemy warships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) for almost 30 years, will be decommissioned later this month.
– Defense News – NATO has been urged to rethink its maritime strategy to address the re-emerging contest with Russia for supremacy in the North Atlantic, a paper by one of Europe’s top military think tanks says. “If NATO does not have effective control of the North Atlantic, or at least the ability to deny Russia naval access to this maritime domain, Russia could block or disrupt U.S. reinforcement to Europe,” the Royal United Services Institute said in the paper to be published in London on Monday.
– Breaking Defense – In 2016, the Defense Department flew aircraft or steamed ships through territories claimed by Albania, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Malta, and, well, China, according to the Pentagon’s annual report released today. So should Beijing be relieved it was not the sole focus of American Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS) or should it feel slighted that it wasn’t our sole focus? Of course, China’s Pacific pushiness does get pride of place, with the most extensive single entry — but the 22-nation list also includes US allies and neutral powers like tiny Malta.
– Honolulu Star-Advertiser – In 2010, when rubberlike quieting material started to peel off the hulls of newer Virginia-class submarines, the Navy said it was fine-tuning a fix for a problem occurring on the first few ships made. Seven years later, the Navy still appears to be seeking a cure.
– National Interest – How does the unthinkable happen? As historians continue to contemplate the various historic anniversaries around World War I through next year, the question of unexpected wars looms large. What series of events could lead to war in East Asia, and how would that war play out?
– RUSI – The chairman of the independent review into Britain’s National Ship Building Strategy is advocating a ‘cheap and cheerful’ Royal Navy. However, Sir John Parker is unlikely to face action on the unsuitable ships he is proposing.
– USNI News – Iran is developing a submarine that could launch an anti-ship cruise missile designed to quickly sink an American warship operating in the Strait of Hormuz.
– Breaking Defense – Speaking today on the hangar deck of the almost-completed aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford, President Donald Trump explicitly pledged to build “the 12-carrier Navy we need.” Ever since the USS Enterprise retired in 2012, the Navy has had only 10 aircraft carriers, with the Ford soon to be commissioned as the 11th.
– USNI News – While rough seas and queasy stomachs tested some 350 Japanese soldiers and command staffs who took to sea aboard Navy ships for exercise Iron Fist, time might be their greatest obstacle. The members of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force’s Western Area Infantry Regiment training in California are part of a fledgling force that will become the JGSDF first Amphibious Ready Deployment Brigade. That unit is tasked with creating a credible, ready force to conduct amphibious operations and defend its islands by next year.
– 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.
– Proceedings of the US Naval Institute – Transferring the U.S. Coast Guard to the Department of Defense would enhance the service’s capabilities and the nation’s defense.
– The Economist – Analysing images from space could be big business.
– The Economist – The archipelago of Heligoland has a modern parallel.
– Reuters – Japan plans to accelerate a warship building program to make two frigates a year to patrol the fringes of the East China Sea, where it disputes island ownership with China.