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?
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.
Naval News – The Ukrainian Navy’s investment in the Bayraktar TB2 drone is paying off. Russia enjoys a complete technological and numerical advantage. Yet its navy is proving easy prey to the small, slow and lightly armed UAV.
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.
War Zone – The U.S. Navy is considering tacking a few more operational years onto a number of its aging Ohio class submarines.
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.”
USNI News – China has been honing its ship-killing skills for potential future conflicts on new targets in a remote desert, according to new satellite photos reviewed by USNI News. New analysis shows the People’s Liberation Army is testing the ability to hit ships in port with long-range ballistic missiles.
Breaking Defense – In interviews with Breaking Defense, lawmakers say they’re concerned about the Navy’s revitalization plan, but still aren’t sold on a fifth public shipyard.
Naval News – One of Russia’s first moves in its invasion of Ukraine was the capture of Snake Island. Two months later they are desperately struggling to keep it. This is a sign of their weakening dominance over the Northern Black Sea.
Navy Times – Half of the Navy’s littoral combat ship fleet is suffering from structural defects that have led to hull cracks on several vessels, limiting the speed and sea states in which some ships can operate
1945 – Robert Work weighs in on the Marine’s Littoral Combat Regiments.
Defense News – The U.S. Marine Corps has updated its Force Design 2030 plans, putting a stronger emphasis on the reconnaissance/counter-reconnaissance competition as foundational to lethality, the commandant said.
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.
Defense News – The U.S. Marine Corps’ first unit designed to carry out new concepts of operations conducted its first exercise in the Philippines and is now preparing to start a range of experimentation and training events this year.
USNI News – The crew of RTS Moskva was blind to and not ready for the Ukrainian missile attack that sank Russia’s Black Sea flagship, according to a new analysis of the April 13 strike reviewed by USNI News.
Navy Lookout – The Royal Navy recently announced its ambitious vision for the future underwater domain, stating that it must leverage cutting edge technologies from industry, academia and the RN innovation ecosystem to accelerate and de-risk future capabilities.
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.
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.
US Naval War College Review – Using existing assets, it is feasible to lay minefields in the Taiwan Strait to delay any Chinese military movement against Taiwan, providing a crisis-response option more forceful than diplomacy but less risky than kinetic operations. This option must be developed in peacetime to be available to U.S. leaders in a crisis.
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?”
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.
USNI Proceedings – Russia’s megaton-class Kanyon weapon disrupts arms control and deterrence.
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.
USNI Proceedings – Organizations and people who can rapidly and effectively adapt are more likely to prevail.
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.