A Thoroughly Efficient Navy for the 21st Century Part 1

CIMSEC – America has grown weary of the post-9/11 wars. Long, drawn-out conflicts have worn down American resolve and left many defense officials nostalgic for “the good-old days” when adversaries were easier to describe and devoted military efforts toward preparing for conventional warfare. Seizing an opportunity, the U.S. Navy has capitalized on growing disillusionment and sought to exaggerate the military challenges posed by an ascendant China for parochial benefit in terms of gaining larger budgets and greater quantities of more expensive ships. The Navy should consider an external strategy review that accounts for efficiency as an aspect of its operating concept. This article reviews America’s current naval strategy and is divided into two parts. Part 1, below, analyzes U.S. naval defense strategy in light of 21st Century national defense threats.

LCS Lives: They Still Count In Age Of Frigates

Breaking Defense – Yes, the Navy has cut short its Littoral Combat Ship program and started work on a bigger, tougher, better-armed frigate. But the small ships will still be big part of the future fleet and the frigate will carry on much of the LCS legacy.

America May Soon Find Itself in an Underwater War with China

National Interest – In the years to come, Chinese and U.S. drones will likely be in a high stakes cat and mouse game in the Pacific.

How China’s Navy Is Preparing to Fight in the ‘Far Seas’

National Interest – Two PLA Navy officers might have a clue.

China’s Evolving Surface Fleet

China Maritime Studies Institute – An extensive review of all aspects of the Chinese Navy’s surface fleet.

The Defense Secretary’s Peculiar Procurement Priorities

Project on Government Oversight – The Navy accepted and commissioned the USS Gerald R. Ford early to avoid breaking a cost ceiling on it imposed by Congress. “It is now using operations and maintenance dollars to repair a new ship…” Not only isn’t the Ford ready for war, its use of O&M dollars to make her shipshape is sucking money from the Navy’s 10 other carriers, reducing their readiness.

A Grim Future For Russia’s Nuclear Sub Fleet

War is Boring – The Kremlin can’t replace its aging subs fast enough.

F-35B Pilots Will Make Rolling Landings Like This To Board Royal Navy Carriers

War Zone – This new method of landing could unlock new possibilities for the F-35B.

Is The Arctic The Next South China Sea? Not Likely

Breaking Defense – Even if climate change melts new trade routes through the Arctic ice, as scientists predict, will it become as important and contested as the South China Sea, where China has built and fortified artificial islands to enforce centuries-old claims? Probably not, agreed every expert we consulted for this article.

Why the U.S. Navy Shouldn’t Fear China’s ‘Hunt for Red October’ Missile Submarines

National Interest – James Holmes writes that word has it that China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy) has staged a breakthrough in submarine propulsion.

Why It’s Time for the Carrier Battle Group

National Interest – James Holmes says we should do away with the “carrier strike group” and replace it with the “carrier battle group” of old—a formation outfitted generously with warplanes, surface combatants and logistics ships to punish seaborne foes while warding off attack.

Navy Proves High Readiness Levels During Carrier’s Sustainment Phase Leads to Maintenance Savings Later

USNI News – Maintaining very high readiness during a carrier strike group’s post-deployment sustainment phase actually saves the Navy money later on, the service found, despite fears that budget constraints might hinder the Navy from making the most of that time in a ship’s deployment cycle.

U.S. Navy Stealthy Special Operations Boats Are Zooming Around the Middle East

War Zone – In an actual conflict, these boats would discreetly surveil coastlines and help SEALs sneak ashore.

Norfolk Aircraft Carriers Seeing Success in OFRP Schedule, With Truman Out of Maintenance Early

USNI News – Aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) completed its maintenance availability two days early, and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) will head into maintenance 10 days early later this month – a major feat, given that only one deployment cycle ago the two carriers had been mixed up in double-pump deployments, truncated maintenance availabilities and an unexpected 24-month repair ordeal. Despite previous struggles on the East Coast to get the aircraft carriers settled back into a healthy routine, Commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey said his fleet is now successfully executing the 36-month Optimized Fleet Response Plan schedule, thanks to a couple key lessons learned.

Navy Pilot Breaks Silence About Shooting Down Syrian Fighter

Military.com – The first U.S. pilot to notch an air-to-air kill in nearly 20 years, shooting down a Syrian Su-22 Fitter earlier this summer, recently made his first public comments about the experience.

The Arctic Could Be the Next South China Sea, Says Coast Guard Commandant

Defense One – Rich with energy resources, minerals and strategic positioning, the warming Arctic is ripe for territorial disputes, Adm. Zukunft warns.

Nimitz Carrier Strike Group Starts Operations Against ISIS from the Persian Gulf

USNI News – Fighters from Carrier Air Wing 11 launched from the deck of USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on missions to strike ISIS positions on Monday.

Russia Navy Day Parade in St. Petersburg

RT – An amazing 90 minute review of the Russian Navy’s fleet, including its undersea and air arms.

EMALS Fix Finalized To Reduce Stress Put On Heaviest Airplanes During Ford-Class Carrier Launch

USNI News – The Navy completed testing on a software fix for its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) that will allow the heaviest planes to take off with less stress to the airframe.

China’s Cyber-Economic Warfare Threatens U.S.

US Naval Institute Proceedings – The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is executing a long-term, cyber-enabled economic campaign designed to capture and control key strategic industries. The campaign is more than just the theft of intellectual property or cyber espionage. According to recent testimony provided to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, it is a “centrally controlled national strategy designed to achieve economic, military, and diplomatic superiority”—a form of “unrestricted warfare.” Among the strategic industries targeted by the PRC, several are critical to the U.S. Navy. These include the semiconductor and associated industries, the undersea cable industry, and maritime shipbuilding. If the PRC is able to gain effective control of these sectors, it will have significant political, economic, and military leverage over the United States and its allies, and the ability of the Navy to execute its core functions will be in doubt.

On Hyperwar

US Naval Institute Proceedings – It is more than a revolution in military affairs; it is a revolution in human affairs.

Drone Wars Are Coming

US Naval Institute Proceedings – The United States must overcome the bureaucratic and technical barriers so it has the superior drones needed to prevail in future combat.

Navy Warships Get New Heavy Missile: 2,500-Lb LRASM

Breaking Defense – It’s a big day for the 2,500-pound Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile, LRASM. This morning, contractor Lockheed Martin announced an $86.5 million contract to build the first 23 production missiles – as opposed to test weapons – for use by Navy Super Hornet fighters and Air Force B-1B bombers. Lockheed also announce this afternoon that it had, for the first time, successfully test-fired a modified LRASM from the kind of launchers used on Navy ships.

Britain’s new aircraft carriers to test Beijing in South China Sea

The Guardian – Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson commits ‘colossal’ carriers to embarking on freedom of navigation exercises in pointed remarks.

Britain plans to send warship to South China Sea in move likely to irk Beijing

Reuters – Britain plans to send a warship to the disputed South China Sea next year to conduct freedom of navigation exercises, Defence Minister Michael Fallon said on Thursday, a move likely to anger Beijing.