How the Fleet Forgot to Fight Part 5: Material Condition and Availability

CIMSEC – During the power projection era the Navy’s readiness cycle lost its discipline. In less than 20 years the Navy has deployed under four separate cycles, and where the two most recent constructs are attempting to restore order and arrest systemic shocks that spiraled out of control. These shocks unbalanced the Navy, sapped its ability to surge the fleet, and incurred significant strategic risk with respect to great power war.

To combat Russian subs, NATO allies are teaming up to develop unmanned systems at sea

Army Times – The U.S. and its NATO allies are teaming up to more closely cooperate on the development and fielding of unmanned maritime systems, according to an agreement signed by the defense heads of 13 NATO allies.

Navy’s New SSN(X) Attack Sub To Be Faster, More Lethal – And More Expensive

USNI News – The Navy’s next class fast attack submarine will be designed for a return to blue-water great power competition, where the ability to support forces ashore is less important than operating in the open ocean hunting rival submarines.

The US Navy will have to pony up and race the clock to avoid a sealift capacity collapse

Defense News – The U.S. surge sealift fleet, the ships needed to transport up to 90 percent of the Army and Marine Corps’ gear if the U.S. had to fight a war against a great power, will be facing a full-blown modernization crisis by the end of the 2020s if the Navy can’t arrest its decline, according to a Navy report send to Congress earlier this year.

Navy Developing New Mine Countermeasures USV for Littoral Combat Ships

USNI News – Last week Naval Sea Systems Command won Pentagon approval to develop a mine countermeasure unmanned surface vehicle as part of the Navy’s ongoing effort to replace its aging MCM infrastructure.

Preliminary F-35C Feedback is Positive, As Formal Operational Testing Begins This Fall

USNI News – The Navy is beginning the formal operational testing of its first stealth aircraft to determine how well the F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter performs against stated goals and requirements.

‘You’re on your own’: US sealift can’t count on Navy escorts in the next big war

Defense News – In the event of a major war with China or Russia, the U.S. Navy, almost half the size it was during the height of the Cold War, is going to be busy with combat operations. It may be too busy, in fact, to always escort the massive sealift effort it would take to transport what the Navy estimates will be roughly 90 percent of the Marine Corps and Army gear the force would need to sustain a major conflict.

The Navy’s Terrible Accident Record Is Now Hidden From Public View

The Atlantic – The latest incidence of a government agency quietly removing data from its website demonstrates the dangers of an ever-changing internet.

How the Fleet Forgot to Fight, Part 4: Technical Standards

CIMSEC – Combat systems are rapidly evolving in the Information Age and are frequently upgraded through new software updates. This adds to the challenging of maintaining current skills and can require a force to regularly retrain its people. However, warfighting culture characterized by scripted training can mask a decline in technical competence. Such a decline can be seen in how standards fell for some of the most important tools that help the Navy guard against tactical surprise.

The US Army is preparing to fight in Europe, but can it even get there?

Defense News – With Russia’s reemergence as a menace in Europe, the U.S. Army has been laying the foundations to fight once again on the continent it defended through most of the 20th century. But if war were to break out tomorrow, the U.S. military could be hard-pressed to move the number of tanks, heavy guns and equipment needed to face off with Russian forces. And even if the Army could get there in numbers, then the real problems would start: how would the U.S. sustain them?

Readiness Of Navy And Marine Aircraft And Crews Is Improving, But It’s Still Pretty Dismal

War Zone – After enduring years of sequester and dubious funding priorities, Navy and USMC flying communities are slowly digging out of a deep, dark hole.

US Navy proposing major show of force to warn China

CNN – The US Navy’s Pacific Fleet has drawn up a classified proposal to carry out a global show of force as a warning to China and to demonstrate the US is prepared to deter and counter their military actions.

It Takes More Than Sex Appeal to Beat China in a War

National Interest – Mariners must disentangle the passions they feel toward their platforms from cool calculation if they hope to design fleets fit to execute strategy.

Geopolitical Gerrymandering and the Importance of Key Maritime Terrain

War on the Rocks – Projections of naval power must overlay what has been termed “key maritime terrain,” an extension of the traditional maritime concept of chokepoints, to be successful. Key maritime terrain is any maritime area whose seizure, retention, or control enables influence over the traffic, flow, or maneuver of military, commercial, illicit, and civilian vessels, communication networks, and resources.

How the Fleet Forgot to Fight Part 3: Tactics and Doctrine

CIMSEC – The force structure of competitors is far more wholesomely armed with anti-ship weapons, but the carrier-centric U.S. Navy chose to confront these threats with offensive missile firepower coming from a sole, central source. This echoes a now familiar theme. By forcing the air wing to take on so many kinds of missions – scouting, counterscouting, outer air battle, defeating sea-skimming threats, and attacking ships – the U.S. Navy inflicted distributed lethality against itself.

Navy’s COD Transition from C-2A to CMV-22B Accelerated; First V-22 Deployment Set for 2021

USNI News – The Navy has accelerated the sunset of its legacy C-2A Greyhound cargo airplanes and the transition to the CMV-22B Osprey, with the new tiltrotor aircraft now set to deliver in Fiscal Year 2020 and deploy in 2021.

Diesel Submarines: The Game Changer the U.S. Navy Needs

National Interest – One of the world’s best naval strategists presents all the reasons for acquiring diesel submarines to augment the existing nuclear fleet. And the navy needs to listen.

The Maritime History of a War Weary Naval Fleet

National Interest – John Lehman’s new book, Oceans Ventured: Winning the Cold War at Sea, could help America gird for what comes next on the high seas.

U.S. Aircraft Carrier Deployments at 25 Year Low as Navy Struggles to Reset Force

USNI News – Aircraft carriers – the most visible tools of U.S. military power – are spending more time in maintenance and at home even as the Pentagon has declared it’s entered a new era of competition with China and Russia.

On the new battlefield, the Navy has to get software updates to the fleet within days, acquisition boss says

C4ISRNet – The Navy has to get software updates and patches to the fleet within days if it’s going to win in the future, the Department of the Navy’s acquisition boss has said.

How the Fleet Forgot to Fight, Part 2: Firepower

CIMSEC – The Navy’s tactical ignorance is built into its arsenal. Currently some of the Navy’s most important weapons development programs are not just evolutionary, but revolutionary in the possibilities they open up. This is not due to innovation, but instead many of these noteworthy and foundational capabilities are finally arriving decades after the technologies were first proven, many close to half a century ago. Many of these most crucial weapons are already in the hands of great power competitors such as Russia and China who have had decades of opportunity to train and refine tactics with them.

With a big cash infusion, Congress is all-in on the amphibious Navy

Defense News – Congress sent a message this year that it wants the Navy to build amphibious ships, and it’s going to put up the money to do it.

B-52 Tested 2,000lb Quickstrike-ER Winged Standoff Naval Mines During Valiant Shield

War Zone – Being able to lay entire minefields with pinpoint accuracy from high altitude, over 40 miles away, and on a single pass is a total game changer.

Time Out For Tactics

CIMSEC – Nobody’s arguing that inspections aren’t important. Heaven only knows what the beam of a flashlight might find under the bunk of a warship during a zone inspection. But there must be some way to reduce the 80 or so inspections a combat unit is subjected to every 18 months and use some of that time for the study of tactics.

Who is the Admiral Rickover of Naval Artificial Intelligence?

War on the Rocks – Unlike the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (also known as the Naval Reactors program) today there is no Navy organization accountable for overseeing a practical application of any AI-enabled combat system that is ready be pushed to the fleet in the near future. Useful military AI is proven in concept. What if the Navy treated operationalizing AI enabled combat systems the way it once treated operationalizing nuclear power?