Unclear on Unmanned, Pt. 2: On Capitol Hill, the U.S. Navy has a credibility problem

Defense News – The Navy wants a suite of unmanned systems to reduce the cost of owning and operating its fleet, while boosting the missile capacity and sensor distribution of its manned ships. But this idea for less expensive sea power depends on the Navy’s record for rapidly maturing technologies. Congress is skeptical of that history and intentionally tried to slow the Navy down. Now, lawmakers have made evident a new plan for development. Instead of rushing out half-baked systems, they want the Navy to go fast by getting the program right the first time.

Unclear on unmanned, Pt.1: The US Navy’s plans for robot ships are on the rocks

Defense News – After a bruising, year-long fight with Congress, part of the Navy’s plan to field unmanned ships appears to be on life support, making 2021 a crucial year for plotting a path forward.

With Hammerhead Mine, U.S. Navy Plots New Style Of Warfare To Tip Balance In South China Sea

Forbes – The U.S. Navy took a step towards a new style of warfare this week with a request for proposals for its new Hammerhead Program. The Navy is looking for contractors to supply a mine that can be placed covertly on the sea bed by a robot submarine; when Hammerhead’s sensors spot a target, it fires an encapsulated homing torpedo.

Navy Secretary: US Weighing Patrols Near Russian Arctic Bases

Breaking Defense – The Navy will start regularly sailing near Russian land claims in the increasingly ice-free Arctic, challenging Moscow’s push in the High North, Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite said today.

New Arctic Strategy Calls for Regular Presence as a Way to Compete With Russia, China

USNI News – The Navy and Marine Corps released a new Arctic strategy today, calling to extend their new focus on day-to-day competition with Russia and China into the Arctic as it becomes more navigable and therefore more congested in the coming decades.

The report can be found here: A Blue Arctic

2021: Stormy Seas Ahead While Navy Hammers Out New Fleet

Breaking Defense – The Trump administration waited four years to come up with a plan to increase the size of the fleet, dumping it on the Pentagon’s doorstep even as the moving vans were getting ready to pull up to the White House.

Carrier USS Nimitz Will Stay in Middle East After Threats from Iran

USNI News – Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and its strike group will remain in the Middle East in the wake of threats from officials in the Iranian government on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. killing of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, the Pentagon announced late Sunday.

Navy Expanding Use of Virtual Trainers for Surface Ship Crews

USNI News – The surface navy continues to expand and evolve its use of virtual trainers, as it looks to train and certify individual sailors and watch teams ashore so they can make best use of their time at sea.

Convoy Escort: The Navy’s Forgotten (Purpose) Mission

War on the Rocks – Unfortunately, the U.S. Navy appears to have forgotten the importance of its WWII Atlantic campaign. Since 1945, the Navy has prioritized offensive maritime missions — power projection and destruction of enemy fleets — over more essential defensive maritime missions, namely convoy defense. This is a flawed strategy resulting in three deleterious effects.

Going to War with China? Ignore Corbett. Dust Off Mahan!

USNI Proceedings – When considering commerce interdiction as a strategy of war, Corbett’s simplicity may be attractive, but Mahan’s understanding of the globalized economy is what will win.

Snakehead Will Be The Largest Underwater Drone That U.S. Nuclear Submarines Can Deploy

War Zone – The U.S. Navy is moving ahead with plans to expand its unmanned undersea vehicle capabilities with the acquisition of a new large-displacement design as part of its Snakehead program. The service wants these drones, which its nuclear-powered submarines will be able to launch and recover underwater, to initially be able to scout ahead or monitor certain areas, as well as perform other intelligence-gathering missions. It has plans to use them in other roles, including as electronic warfare platforms, in the future, as well.

USSOCOM Combat Craft Assault Photo Reveals Some Key Features

Navy News – An UNCLASSIFIED November 23, 2020 public domain photo showing the United States Special Forces Command Combat Craft Assault next to the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4) has revealed some interesting features…

Defensive Directed-Energy Weapons: Enhancing Survivability

USNI Blog – Naval warfare is changing. A host of new weaponry, technologies, and sensor systems are fundamentally altering the projection of naval power. The new weapons—hypersonic missiles, directed-energy weapons, and precision-guided munitions, among others—present new threats to the U.S. Navy. Similarly, artificial intelligence and improved sensor networks make it easier for competitors to find, fix, and finish Navy units. The proliferation of modern technologies—such as precision-guided munitions and unmanned systems—to non-peer competitors further multiplies the threat. Consequently, the United States faces a dangerous strategic and operational environment amid a constrained budget environment.

The Modern Shetland Bus: The Lure of Covert Maritime Vessels for Great-Power Competition

War on the Rocks – The 2018 National Defense Strategy, directs conventional U.S. military and special operations forces to organize and prepare to counter near-peer competitors. While the threat is global, strategists recognize that the maritime environment, including global littorals, the “island chains” of the Pacific and Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, the Black Sea, the North Sea, and the Baltic coasts are all areas of expected conflict. Winning in these coastal areas and island chains will require a variety of tactics, methodologies, and specialized equipment. A modern Shetland Bus program would not address every contingency, but it would represent a Swiss Army knife-like tool that may provide flexibility and address several key needs.

The Navy Has Problems and Must Be Bold to Fix Them

CDR Salamander – Bryan McGrath offers one of the better situation reports of where our Navy finds itself in the first year of what will be an incredibly challenging decade. 

How To Deter China: Enter The Democratic Armada

1945 – James Holmes writes that the closer the United States and its allies come to fielding a cohesive democratic armada, the better their chances of deterring aggressors and shoring up the rules-based international order at sea. 

Congress guts funding for cruiser replacements

Defense News – The U.S. Navy’s new shipbuilding plan shows that over the next five years it plans to decommission 11 cruisers with more than 1,340 vertical launch tubes, but Congress doesn’t think the Navy has a serious plan to replace them with a new generation of large surface combatants, according to the text of a recent funding bill.

Advantage At Sea: U.S. Maritime Strategy Focuses On China

1945 – We recently spoke with Dr. Andrew Erickson, a professor of strategy in the U.S. Naval War College (NWC)’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI), to get his take on the newly released U.S. maritime strategy, Advantage at Sea.

Why The Navy Is Looking To End Carrier Qualifications Entirely For Its Pilots In Training

War Zone – The U.S. Navy is looking at ways that a new jet trainer aircraft could help the service to completely overhaul the way it trains its aviators. The planned successor to the current Boeing T-45 Goshawk could be employed across a number of roles in naval aviation — not just training brand new pilots. But above all else, top Navy officers are looking at how the aircraft could facilitate a totally new approach to the way it trains tactical jet pilots. 

The Navy’s Wants To Go Back To Flying The C-130 Hercules As Its Next Doomsday Plane

War Zone – The U.S. Navy says it has determined that a modified C-130J-30 Hercules turboprop airlifter is the best available platform to provide airborne command and control support for America’s nuclear deterrent forces, including relaying orders to carry out a nuclear strike or even remotely initiating the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles from their silos.

U.S. Aircraft Carrier, 2,500 Marines Off the Coast of Somalia as Pentagon Repositions Forces in Africa

USNI News – The U.S. has moved an aircraft carrier and an Amphibious Ready Group embarked with Marines off the coast of Somalia as U.S. Africa Command has begun repositioning troops from Somalia.

Advantage at Sea: A Naval Service Strategy That Sticks?

National Interest – James Holmes writes that on Thursday the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard—which have taken to calling themselves the Naval Service, singular—released a “Triservice Maritime Strategy” entitled Advantage at Sea. Let’s look at some noteworthy facets of the strategy, the third in a series reaching back to 2007, when the George W. Bush administration was nearing its end.