Escorting in the Persian Gulf: Firefighting, Policing, or Bodyguarding?

CIMSEC – The recent attacks on merchant shipping in the Persian Gulf, Straits of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman by forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has conjured up images from the Tanker War of the 1980s.

A Quick-Reference Guide on UNCLOS for Gen. Hyten

Defense News – Well looks like we are going to need to do some heavy lifting here at The Drift in terms of educating our landlubber overlords on things maritime…

Russia’s Fire-Damaged “Losharik” Spy Submarine Heads For Repairs As New Details Emerge

War Zone – New information is trickling out about the harrowing incident that killed 14 decorated submariners as Russia moves to make the sub serviceable again.

Navy Ships Look To WWII Era Message-Filled Bean Bags To Communicate Without Radios

War Zone – Helicopters would rapidly ferry the messages between ships in a reboot of a communications method that dates back to World War II.

“They Were Playing Chicken”—The U.S. Asiatic Fleet’s Gray-Zone Deterrence Campaign against Japan, 1937–40

Naval War College Review – The current environment is not the first time the United States has faced a destabilizing challenge in the western Pacific. In 1937, Japanese forces in China undertook a campaign to expel U.S., British, and other Western interests from that country as part of imperial Japan’s effort to dominate East Asia. The gray-zone tactics used during the Japanese campaign of 1937–40, and the deterrence actions of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet, can help shed light on the situation in the China Sea today.

The Coast Guard Should Helm SouthCom

USNI Proceedings – The Coast Guard has led the battle to dismantle the criminal organizations that destabilize the Latin and Central American region. Now it should command the battlespace.

Origins of a “Ragged Edge”—U.S. Ambiguity on the Senkakus’ Sovereignty

US Naval War College Review – In 1972, Japan regained administrative control of the Senkaku Islands following years of negotiations with the United States after World War II. However, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China already had made claims to these islands. The United States chose not to weigh in on the Senkakus’ sovereignty, leading to the tensions that have resurfaced today as the PRC asserts its dominance in the East China Sea and beyond.

The South China Sea Is Overrated

USNI Proceedings – Assigning the South China Sea geostrategic importance based on its popular sea lanes or assumed oil and gas reserves is suspect.

NATO’s Selective Sea Blindness—Assessing the Alliance’s New Navies

US Naval War College Review – The navies of NATO countries fall into two categories: old and new. The new navies lack modernization and readiness, making them deficient in their contributions to NATO security priorities. Sea blindness is a problem across the spectrum of NATO governments and illuminating this problem is now more important than ever in light of an increasingly aggressive Russia.

Go Get Mahan’s Yardstick

USNI Proceedings – Mahan’s 3,500 nm “standard distance” for naval planning may be a crude metric, but it highlights the geographic reality that must shape theater strategy and force development in the vast Pacific operating area.

Preparing Today for the Mines of Tomorrow

US Naval War College Review – Maritime mining long has been called on to support various naval strategies. However, shifting objectives and naval priorities call for new analysis. By adapting methodologies developed for land mines, we can find measures of effectiveness (MOEs) aligned to operational objectives, explore developmental mining concepts, and present new MOEs for maritime mining operations.

Argentina’s Gray Zone Gambit

Naval History – The 1982 Falklands War was more than “bald men fighting over a comb.” It offers lessons in readiness for today’s Navy–Marine Corps team.

Game Changers

Air Force – The surface-to-air missile that destroyed a US Navy drone in June heightened tensions with Iran and throughout the region. More importantly, however, it blew a hole in the notion that US aircraft designed to operate in permissive airspace—airspace absent advanced surface-to-air missile (SAM) threats—can operate with impunity anyplace and anytime. Let that be a wake-up call. Maybe Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps did the US a favor.

Localized Sea Denial: Countering Chinese Aggression in the South China Sea

CIMSEC – There can be no doubt that the United States lacks an actionable maritime strategy with respect to the South China Sea, nor does the maritime force exist to effectively counter Chinese expansion in this economically and politically critical space.

No Free Ride in the Pacific: The Case for Investing in Mobility

CIMSEC – If the United States wants to compete, deter, and win in a potential conflict its military needs to be able to move troops around the theater in question at will. To do this will require a reallocation of acquisition priorities and investments.

The “Dumbest Concept Ever” Just Might Win Wars

War on the Rocks – In the final analysis, expeditionary advanced base operations is a concept designed to exploit geography and contribute to winning a hard war against a nation with military capabilities approaching those of the United States. It gives the American military its best chance to win such a conflict. But, vastly more important, if the United States is prepared to implement this concept, it presents the nation with the best possible chance of deterring a future conflict and preserving the peace.

The Role of Public Affairs in U.S. Seapower, Part 2

CIMSEC – We will explore how to synchronize information power to enable maritime strategy, along with several counter-arguments and perspectives.

China swings a small stick in the South China Sea

The Hill – It’s hard to drive China out of the headlines. Yet a dispute between Iran and Great Britain, each of which has seized a tanker ship belonging to the other, has managed it in recent weeks — eclipsing a running feud between Vietnam and China, whose ships have squared off at Vanguard Bank, the westernmost feature in the Spratly Islands. For all that, the South China Sea dispute entails consequences at least as severe as those in the Persian Gulf.

Talisman Sabre: Land-Based Missiles Vs. China

Breaking Defense – The Army’s experimental Multi-Domain Task Force tested new tactics for Pacific conflict, hand-in-glove with the Marines, Air Force, and Australians.

USS Mount Whitney Brings 6th Fleet Autonomy, Flexibility of Command at Sea

USNI News – One of two Blue Ridge-class command and control ships in the fleet, Mount Whitney serves as the U.S. 6th Fleet command ship and would be the platform from which operations would be controlled if a war were to occur in theater.

War Studies Primer

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