Navy Ships Swarmed By Drones, Not UFOs, Defense Officials Confirm

War Zone – After intense public speculation, stacks of official documents obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act, ambiguous statements from top officials, and an avalanche of media attention, it has now been made clear that the mysterious swarming of U.S. Navy ships off the Southern California coast in 2019 was caused by drones, not otherworldly UFOs or other mysterious craft. Raising even more questions, a similar drone swarm event has occurred off another coast, as well.

Can John Arquilla’s Rules of New Age Warfare Be Taken to Sea?

CIMSEC – Thomas Friedman’s 13 April New York Times opinion piece recounts an interview with John Arquilla, a distinguished former grand strategy instructor at the Naval Postgraduate School.  In explaining Ukraine’s impressive military performance in the face of the Russian invasion, Arquilla cites three rules of new age warfare from his book Bitskrieg: The New Challenge of Cyberwarfare, and their application is quite fitting.  If these rules concocted for cyberwarfare apply to ground warfare, might they also apply to warfare at sea?  If so, what are the implications?

 Distributed Maritime Operations – Becoming Hard-To-Find

CIMSEC – The concept for Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) is based on three bedrock tenets: the distributed force must be hard-to-find, hard-to-kill, and lethal. For decades, the Navy has been focused on and has continuously improved its fleet defense capabilities – the hard-to-kill tenet. And, with the recent increased emphasis on the offense, the Navy is making significant progress in becoming more lethal. In contrast, there is limited evidence of progress with respect to the hard-to-find tenet: the very lynchpin of the DMO concept, and the subject of this article.

 20 Years of Naval Trends Guarantee a FY23 Shipbuilding Play Failure

CIMSEC – In 2014, before the scale of Chinese naval development was widely appreciated, the Navy reported to Congress a Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 near-term requirement of 300 ships for “conducting a large-scale naval campaign in one region while denying the objectives of an opportunistic aggressor in a second region.” In the time since, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) added more than 120 battleforce ships and countless maritime militia – while the U.S. Navy still remains short of the lapsed 300-ship goal, and 57 ships short of its current 355 ship requirement. In the past 20 years the Navy’s ideal battleforce goals have all exceeded 306, but the fleet has not broken 300 ships since 2003.

Aircraft Carriers—Missions, Survivability, Size, Cost, Numbers

US Naval War College Review – A new, twenty-first-century design of the size of USS Midway with an air wing up to sixty-five aircraft, whether conventionally or nuclear powered, could complement larger nuclear flattops while still incorporating rugged survivability and being capable of independent operations—and could be built quicker and cheaper and in more shipyards.

Innovation, Interrupted—Next-Generation Surface-Combatant Design

US Naval War College Review – Three ships designed in the 1930s that fought in the Pacific theater during the early months of America’s involvement in World War II represent three different ship design approaches that continue to create dissonance in the U.S. Navy’s current ship-design processes. The Navy must transition to a next-generation surface-combatant-design process to accommodate the future warfighting environment.

 Rightsizing the Fleet: Why the Navy’s New Shipbuilding Plan is Not Enough

CIMSEC – Rep. Luria writes that the 355-ship Navy appears to be a pipe dream, as fleet size has not surpassed 300 ships since 2002 in the Bush administration. She proposes a way to stop the Navy’s hemorrhaging at an acceptable cost. But what she would prefer most is for the Navy to develop appropriate triage measures itself instead of relying on the Congressional emergency room every year.

US Navy envisions larger fleet despite long-range plans reflecting budget crunch

Defense News – Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday mused about a day when the U.S. Navy might be able to buy a dozen or more ships each year. The Navy would be given the funding levels, and the surface ship industrial base would have grown the capacity, to support building three destroyers a year, two or three frigates a year, an amphibious transport dock every other year, and a larger number of supply ships. But as he made clear in his remarks this week, that day is not today.