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?

Pacific Marines move to formalize role as the stand-in force

Defense News – As China expanded the reach of its weapons throughout the South China Sea over the last decade, U.S. weapons development focused on increasing the standoff range, so American forces could stay safe as an outside force shooting in. But U.S. Marines in the Pacific have continued to operate inside that striking range, and they’re now doubling down with a new concept outlining their role as a stand-in force.

China Maritime Report No. 21: Civilian Shipping and Maritime Militia: The Logistics Backbone of a Taiwan Invasion

Chinese Maritime Studies Institute – Most analysts looking at the Chinese military threat to Taiwan conclude that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is incapable of invading the island because it lacks the landing ships to transport adequate quantities of troops and equipment across the Taiwan Strait. This report challenges that conventional wisdom, arguing that the PLA intends to meet these requirements by requisitioning civilian vessels operated by members of China’s maritime militia (海上民兵). Since the early 2000s, the Chinese government and military have taken steps to strengthen the national defense mobilization system to ensure the military has ample quantities of trained militia forces to support a cross-strait invasion. Despite ongoing challenges—including poor data management, inconsistent training quality, and gaps in the regulatory system—and uncertainties associated with foreign-flagged Chinese ships, this concept of operations could prove good enough to enable a large-scale amphibious assault.

Breaking the Black Sea Blockade

Comment is Freed – Sir Lawrence Freedman writes that “There is, however, another aspect to this war which has received insufficient attention, though it is now slowly coming into focus and where pressure could build for a NATO operation. This is the need to relieve the blockade Russia has successfully inflicted on Ukraine’s southern ports in the Black Sea. This is urgent not only because of the effect on Ukraine’s battered economy but also on supplies of essential agricultural products to the rest of the world. If Russian forces continue to be pushed back, and as the diplomacy to bring the war to a conclusion is stepped up, this will be a critical issue to be addressed, possibly linked to Russian demands for relief from sanctions. If this is not addressed diplomatically then there could be demands on the major maritime powers to mount freedom of navigation operations to break the blockade.”

The light amphibious warship is delayed, but the Marine Corps has a temporary solution

Defense News – The U.S. Marine Corps planned to have its light amphibious warship on contract by now, ushering in a small ship that will move Marines around island chains and coastlines without relying on traditional, large ships. But moving forward on the program and awarding that contract simply hasn’t been possible, after the effort was crowded out of the Navy’s shipbuilding budget two years in a row.

 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.

The International Commanders Respond

USNI Proceedings – This year, Proceedings asked the commanders of the world’s navies, “How is your nation’s maritime security environment changing? Have new regional threats, climate change, or the COVID-19 pandemic caused you to alter your future assumptions? How is the changing environment impacting operations, budget, and personnel policy for your Navy and/or Coast Guard?”

Jomini and Naval Special Operations Forces—An Applied-Competition Approach to Russia

US Naval War College Review – A version of Jomini’s campaigning theory, in combination with maritime special-operations capabilities, offers a convincing maritime approach for contesting Russia’s malign activity in Europe while remaining below the level of armed conflict and supporting a broader conventional effort to prepare a war-fighting environment by using irregular warfare to secure advantages prior to conflicts.

Seoul’s Misguided Desire for a Nuclear Submarine

US Naval War College Review – Rather than waste its money on nuclear submarines that would provide only a single-dimensional response, South Korea should lock down a superior ASW suite by combining new technologies with existing ROKN platforms to provide multiple mission capabilities for less money, including support by existing maintenance infrastructure.

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.