Russia, Syria Agree on Mediterranean Naval Base Expansion, Refit of Syrian Ships

USNI News – Russia and Syria have signed an agreement this week to expand Russia’s sole foreign base – a naval repair facility in Syria – into a larger naval base capable of permanently hosting 11 ships. The agreement would allow the Tartus installation to expand to berth larger surface combatants and submarines

Art of Future Warfare Project

I am a big fan of the Art of Future Warfare Project, whose work I have linked to in the past. The project advocates the use of fiction / science fiction to explore potential futures in warfare. Here is a list of naval fiction short stories from their most recent contest, which I highly recommend for use in helping one visualize what the future of naval warfare will be like. I will also be linking to 2 of their newest works in the next few days. Enjoy!

Now Hear This – Another Course Change for LCS

US Naval Institute Proceedings – The Navy has scrapped “3-2-1” crew manning of the Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) in favor of a Blue-Gold crew concept. It also will permanently assign mission modules to hulls and dedicate four hulls to research and development (R&D). These changes resulted from a program review initiated by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson that coincidently was announced shortly after the third and fourth LCSs suffered catastrophic engineering casualties.

The Development of Vietnam’s Sea-Denial Strategy

US Naval War College Review – This article examines Vietnam’s geostrategic circumstances to understand better its choice of a sea-denial strategy. Hanoi’s current achievements in building its sea-denial capability, as well as the characteristics and limitations of that capability, are reviewed. Finally, as the United States and its allies vis-à-vis China increase their military presence in the South China Sea, the article discusses the effects of Vietnam’s sea-denial strategy and the country’s relevant military capabilities on the geostrategic situation.

2016 World Naval Operational News Highlights

The ten most significant naval news stories / trends / themes this year included:

  • The election of Donald Trump. During his presidency will concrete progress be made in enlarging the US Navy to 350 ships to help relieve it from the overstretch it now faces?

  • The continued high operational tempo of the Russian Navy. Is this tempo sustainable in the long term or will it eventually become “fake news?”

  • The recognition that Russia has turned the Baltic Sea into an anti-access area-denial zone, centered around its enclave in Kaliningrad. What steps will NATO, Finland, and Sweden take to counter it?

  • The increased interest in the US Army in reclaiming its coastal artillery role. When will we see their anti-aircraft, anti-ship, and land-attack missiles deployed in the Baltic or Pacific?

  • The continued belligerence of China in the South China Sea – despite a UN tribunal rejecting China’s claims there this year – as evidenced by this year’s militarization of its newly created “sand castles” and its seizing of a US Navy underwater drone. What incident will China create to test the new President Trump?

  • The increasing realization that China’s Maritime Militia is playing a key role at sea. Will 2017 be the year they are formally called out by the governments they are harrassing?

  • The increasing acceptance by Japan of the threat China poses to the Senkaku Islands. How will China next test Japan’s resolve over the Senkaku’s and how will Japan respond?

  • The continued shift in the US Marine Corps strategic thinking towards the Pacific. What new hardware, tactics, techniques and procedures will they create to address the adversary they now face there?

  • The continued belligerence of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps navy in the Gulf of Hormuz. When will their actions finally break the US Navy’s patience?

  • The democratization of the submarine launched ballistic missile with successful tests this year of missiles by India and North Korea. What effect will this have on the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems?

Interview: Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, Commander, US Naval Forces

Defense News – From his perch in San Diego, COMSURFOR – the commander of US Naval Forces – oversees the preparation and training of all the US Navy’s surface warships – cruisers, destroyers, littoral combat ships, amphibious ships and mine warfare ships. Tom Rowden has had a major hand in the force’s development over the past five years, first as the director of the Surface Warfare Division N96 at the Pentagon, then as the service’s top surface warfare officer in San Diego. He’s championed the concept of distributed lethality and the reinvigoration of combat power in the surface forces. Now, in a new Surface Force Strategy released Jan. 9, he’s harkening back to another classic naval concept.