Another U.S. Ballistic Missile Submarine’s Movements Peculiarly Publicized

War Zone – The U.S. military has made yet another unusual public announcement about the location and activities of one of the U.S. Navy’s 14 Ohio class nuclear missile submarines, or SSBNs. U.S. Strategic Command’s official statement today disclosed a visit by the USS West Virginia to the British island territory of Diego Garcia, which hosts major American military facilities, earlier this year.

Invisible Blockades and Strategic Coercion

War on the Rocks – When the U.S. seeks to counter aggression, state-sponsored terrorism, or other threats without conducting a full-scale war, the use of naval mining for strategic ends could help it to achieve its aims, as an alternative or complement to aerial bombing. In addition to economic and diplomatic measures, which may not be sufficient, demonstratively mining a nation’s ports can apply pressure both directly and via third parties. Without casualties, and while managing potential escalatory risks, the U.S. can coerce another nation to modify its behavior. The naval mining of North Vietnam was the archetype of such a campaign, one which achieved its limited aims of freeing Americans and enabling withdrawal. Given a modicum of investment in U.S. mining capabilities, overt naval mining could be used to coerce adversarial states by constraining them with an invisible blockade. 

Accelerating capability for the fleet: The case of the CMV-22B

Breaking Defense – The Navy faces a key strategic decision. Will it leave a very predictable contested logistics gap for the fleet? Or will it close that gap by ramping up its buy of CMV-22Bs with a hot production line in place? By adding 24 CMV-22Bs to the buy, provision for carrier resupply in contested operations would be significantly enhanced. This kind of decision, which provides an ability to ramp up fleet capabilities in the midterm and provide an input the kind of capabilities which the US Navy and allies like the Aussies need as well, for the Osprey can provide for point-to-point support to Aussie ships as well.

How The U.S. Navy Can Compete With China In The Gray-Zone

1945 – U.S. political and military magnates must make the conscious strategic choice to compete with China in the gray zone. That means mounting a standing presence in the South China Sea in the form of U.S. Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard seafarers, ships, and planes. In other words, it means setting aside the past practice of showing up once in a while and then steaming away. 

Invest in Tactical Shiphandling For Crisis and Combat

CIMSEC – Tactical shiphandling is fundamentally different from merchant shiphandling – and navies need to teach both skills. Naval shiphandling curriculums currently tend to focus on safety of navigation and Rules of the Road situations, and for good reason. It is crucial that we are expert at this sort of foundational shiphandling…Unlike merchant mariners, naval officers also need to be able to handle their ships in both crisis and combat.

Preventing Wars is as Important as Winning Them: Lessons From Past Naval Strategies

War on the Rocks – Across two centuries, the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have balanced the distinct missions of preparing for war while simultaneously managing the global responsibilities of peace. While some might wish away half of that historic pair of missions, the reality is that the nation needs sea services that can do both.

The Cost of Delaying Wartime Tactical Adaptation

CIMSEC – To rapidly assess and implement tactical adaptation based on combat lessons, the Navy must prioritize staffing its warfighting development centers in wartime, even if it means leaving some shipboard billets unfilled. Failure to rapidly capture, disseminate, and assess lessons from early combat will result in costly losses to our surface force before we can adjust to the character of the current war.