The Exoskeleton Force: The Royal Navy in the Indo-Pacific Tilt

RUSI – An important feature of the UK’s 2021 Integrated Review was the tilt towards the Indo-Pacific. The announcement that the UK would seek to maintain a forward and persistently engaged presence in the region was of particular significance to the Royal Navy, given the region’s maritime character. The key question for the service to contemplate as it seeks to meet the objectives set by the Integrated Review is how to deliver strategic effect without mass.

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. 

Relative Dominance: Russian Naval Power in the Black Sea

War On the Rocks – Russia’s naval strategy in the Black Sea cannot be divorced from its wider military objectives. A major defeat of Russia’s forces on Ukrainian territory is likely to force the Kremlin into its Black Sea bastion, from where it can seek to use its relative naval strength to maintain a military status quo, lock in a frozen conflict or buy enough time to rearm for future attacks on Ukraine. Russia still feels as though it has some degree of strategic depth in the Black Sea.

Incubators of Sea Power: Vessel Training Centers and the Modernization of the PLAN Surface Fleet

Chinese Maritime Studies Institute – The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is building modern surface combatants faster than any other navy in the world. Before these new ships can be deployed, however, their crews must learn how to effectively operate them across the range of missions for which they were designed. In the PLAN, this “basic training” largely occurs at specialized organizations called Vessel Training Centers (VTCs). Since their creation in 1980, VTCs have played a key role in generating combat power for the fleet. But as China’s naval ambitions have grown, the VTCs have been forced to adapt. Since the early 2000s, and especially since 2012, they have faced tremendous pressure to keep pace with the rapid expansion and modernization of the PLAN surface fleet and its growing mission set, improve the standards and quality of vessel training, and uphold the integrity of training evaluations. This report argues that the PLAN’s VTCs have generally risen to the challenge, ensuring that new and recently-repaired ships can quickly reach operational units in a fairly high state of readiness.

BAE Systems unveils the Adaptable Strike Frigate

European Defence Review – During Euronaval 2022 BAE Systems publicly displayed the Adaptable Strike Frigate (ASF) warship concept design. Based on the need for adaptable capacity to enable navies to respond “at the speed of relevance whilst operating at range for extended period,” the ASF has been designed “to embrace system of systems modularity to deliver a mission-ready, digitally enable platform.”

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.