World Naval Operational News Highlights
Overall, I think it is quite interesting to reflect on just how correct open source intelligence stories were in 2002 in regards to what has subsequently transpired in Iraq. The stories NOSI covered described precisely the buildup of forces and logistics in theater, the evolution of the war plan, and predicted accurately the challenges the U.S. would face in a post-Saddam Iraq.
- Several recurring themes were identified throughout this year’s naval news stories, many of which persist from last year:
- Yet another navy running out of operating funds. This year it was the Portuguese Navy, which ran out of money to operate in March and had to return to port.
- Continued piracy on the high seas, particularly in the South China Sea. This year, however, increased patrols in the Straits of Malacca by the Indonesian, Malaysian, Indian, and U.S. navies have led to some decrease in the amount of piracy.
- The tension in the Taiwanese Straits between Taiwan and China, with China continuing to probe Taiwanese territorial waters with spy ships.
- Territorial disputes over islands in the South China Sea, such as the Spratly Islands. This year the USS Bowditch, a survey ship, did its best to assert the U.S. Navy’s right to freedom of navigation in this region.
- Territorial disputes in the Caspian Sea, based upon oil drilling rights to the vast oil riches in the region.
- The threats terrorists pose to ships, this year demonstrated through stories about terrorist plots to attack shipping in the Straits of Gibraltar, and the terrorist attack against the French tanker Limburg off of Yemen.
- The dangerous nature of submarine operations, evidenced this year with a fire about the USS Dolphin and many continued teething problems with Canada’s Upholder-class submarines.
- Concern over the damaging effect that low frequency active sonar has on marine mammals.
- Concern that the decaying former Soviet Navy nuclear submarine force tied up at dock is having a damaging effect on the marine environment.
- Significant naval operations this year included:
- The continued joint operations against terrorism at sea lead by the German Navy in the Horn of Africa and the Royal Australian Navy in the Persian Gulf.
- The most professional amphibious operation of the year was the use of the Royal Marines 45 Commando to hunt down Taliban troops in Afghanistan.
- The use of a combined arms force by the Spanish Navy to evict Moroccan troops from Spanish islands off of Morocco.
- The most significantly averted combat of the year was the near-war between India and Pakistan due to heightened tensions in Kashmir. Both navies had sortied from their bases; interestingly the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle played a roll in deconflicting the two sides.
- The only ship-to-ship combat of the year was the continuing conflict between Sri Lankan and Tamil Tiger gunboats and a sharp, brief battle between North and South Korean gunboats.
- The naval training story of the year was the loss to the U.S. Navy of the training area on Vieques island, in Puerto Rico. The long term effect of this upon U.S. forces will need to be watched carefully.
- The most strategically significant naval news story of the year is the continued move by China to position itself near strategic naval choke points through the acquisition of commercial port facilities near them.
- The most significant personnel naval news story this year was the U.S. Navy’s intention to obtain more underway days in theater from its ships by forward basing and dual-crewing more of them.
- The most narrowly averted naval disaster of the year was the fire about the research submarine USS Dolphin, which luckily occurred close to shore.
- The most intriguing naval news story of the year was the Spanish Navy’s seizure at sea, at the bequest of the U.S., of a cargo ship carrying SCUD missiles from North Korea. The U.S. later allowed the cargo ship to deliver the SCUD missiles to their destination, Yemen, as it is an ally of the U.S. What is the official U.S. position on the proliferation of ballistic missiles?
- The most humorous naval news story of the year was the Royal New Zealand Navy’s use of rented civilian jet warbirds to simulate enemy attacks during training, now that New Zealand’s air force has disposed of its fighter aircraft.
- The procurement story of the year is India’s on-again, off-again purchase of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.
- The most ignored story of the year is port security in the U.S., or the lack thereof.
- The most surprising story of the year was the deployment of the command ship USS Mount Whitney, nicknamed the “USS Never Sail,” to the Horn of Africa for 7 months to head up the U.S. war on terrorism in the Horn of Africa.
- The most technically significant naval news story of the year was the new and unique uses that the U.S. Navy’s P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft community was devising for their aircraft, including its use as a ground surveillance platform in Afghanistan.
- The most interesting naval experiment of the year were the U.S.’ experiments with high speed transport vessels – the U.S. Marine Corps with its HSV WestPac Express and the U.S. Army with its HSV-X1 Joint Venture.
- The newly deployed naval weapon of the year was the F-18E Hornet, which made its first cruise on the USS Abraham Lincoln.
- The quietest naval story of the year was the near-war between India and Pakistan due to heightened tensions in Kashmir with both navies deploying on war footings.
- The non-story of the year was that of the new U.S. aircraft carrier CVN-77, which will not be built to a radically different design as initially proposed, but instead will be the last of the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
- The most insulting naval news story was the naming of the next U.S. aircraft carrier after former president George H.W. Bush. The politicization of the naming of U.S. Navy ships has truly reached a new low.
- And finally, the naval news story of the year with the most potential long term significance was the Royal Navy’s decision to scrap its Sea Harrier fleet and leave it’s aircraft carriers unequipped with interceptor aircraft. Is this a creeping beginning of the end for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier program?
In 2002, there were news stories linked to on 351 / 365 days – that is on 96% of the days.
In 2002, NOSI linked to 1,673 articles covering 1,529 news stories.
In 2002, 614 of these stories (40%) were related to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, or U.S. Military Sealift Command.
In 2002, 305 of these stories (20%) were background stories and 27 stories (2%) were historical stories.
The remaining 583 news stories (38%) covered the operational activities of 53 nation’s navies, coast guards, and marine corps:
Argentinean, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Canadian, Chilean, Chinese, Columbian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Indian, Indonesia, Iranian, Iraqi, Irish, Israeli, Italian, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, Japanese Coast Guard, Malaysian Navy, Malaysian Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, Myanarese, NATO, Nigerian, Omani, Pakistan, Palestinian, Phillipine Navy, Phillipine Marines, Portuguese, Romanian, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines, Royal New Zealand Navy, Russian, Singaporean, South African, South Korean, Spanish, Swedish, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese, Taiwanese Marines, Thai, US Coast Guard, US Marine Corps, US Military Sealift Command, US Navy, Venezuelan
In 2002, 175,462 pages of information were read on NOSI by 67,242 users.