CIMSEC DC Happy Hour w/Guest Jim Fanell: What’s the PLAN in 2017?

Lola'sJoin our DC chapter for its January DC-area informal happy hour. We will be meeting on the second floor of Lola’s Barracks Row Bar and Grill for an informal discussion on the latest developments of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) with CAPT Jim Fanell, USN (ret.).  Jim is a Government Fellow with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, having spent 30 years as a naval intelligence officer specializing in Indo-Asia Pacific security, with an emphasis on the Chinese navy and its operations.

Time: Monday, 23 January 6:00-8:00pm
Place: Lola’s Barracks Row Bar and Grill (2nd Floor), 711 8th Street SE
Washington D.C. 20003

All are welcome – RSVPs not required, but appreciated:

A Strong Navy for a Strong Nation

New Administration Topic Week

By Bob Hein

The U.S. Navy provides the maritime superiority required to keep the homeland safe, preserve global influence, deter aggression, and win the Nation’s wars. Ever since the Spartans and the Romans put to sea, nations have understood the two fundamental purposes of Navies: secure their borders and protect commerce. The U.S. Navy accomplishes this for the preeminent global power as the nation’s persistent, forward, and ready force. The Navy secures not just U.S. trade, but ensures the international free flow of commerce, enables access to global markets, and assures our partners and allies while deterring potential adversaries.

The Navy and Marine Corps team operates cooperatively throughout the world’s oceans, both as a deployable naval force and from forward expeditionary bases supporting major combat operations. In today’s dynamic security environment, with multiple challenges from rising powers and belligerent state and non-state actors fed by social disorder and political upheaval, the requirement for a persistent, forward, and ready force is more essential than it has been for over two decades.

The Navy provides immediate options for the President and national security leadership to influence and respond to any contingency through a persistent forward force that is both scalable and immediately available. The Navy maintains the most survivable leg of our nation’s nuclear deterrent force and demonstrates American leadership by operating with our allies and partners for assurance and deterrence yet retaining the freedom to act unilaterally.

However, there are still obstacles to overcome. Due to years of reduced budgets, the Navy faces challenges across its three primary fiscal pillars: capability, capacity and readiness. The Navy’s recently communicated realization to refocus on sea control will require new weapons and systems to counter technologically advancing adversaries. The Navy’s recent announcement of the need for 355 ships to meet the demands of the combatant commander cannot overshadow the need to ensure those ships have the capabilities they need from weapons to air wings to trained sailors. The final pillar, readiness cannot be neglected. A fleet without the spare parts, ammunition, trained technicians and operators will not provide the credible deterrence force the Nation deserves. The Administration has expressed its desire for a larger fleet. This will unquestionably provide thousands of new jobs, hopefully we can turn vision into reality.

Captain Robert N. Hein is a career Surface Warfare Officer. He previously commanded the USS Gettysburg (CG-64) and the USS Nitze (DDG-94). You can follow him on Twitter: @the_sailor_dog. The views and opinions expressed are his own and do not reflect those of the Navy or the Department of Defense.

Featured Image: USS San Jacinto. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Mercy of the Dragon

New Administration Topic Week

By Joshua A. Cranford

The next administration should be cognizant that when leading the Navy amateurs will think tactics, while professionals will think logistics. As the Navy continues to move toward a technological platform to conduct its operations to ensure global security, logistical consideration for the technology being employed must be at the forefront of policy conversation. Technology employed and developed today by the Navy is overwhelmingly reliant on 17 specific elements colloquially referred to as “Rare Earth Elements” (REE). REE like neodymium possesses unique characteristics like strong magnetic fields that enable next generation technology to be powerful and compact. The Navy is evolving its tactics to compliment the new capabilities offered by REE-powered technology. To support this evolution, higher competent authorities must ensure that the logistics requirements to support REE demands are met. 

In the early 1940s, relations between Japan and the United States deteriorated as Japan expanded its Pacific influence and postured as a significant economic competitor to the west. In response to Japanese expansion, the United States embargoed commodities such as oil and steel to Japan in June of 1941. The Japanese at the time did not have controlling interest on any commodity that the United States required. So following failed economic responses, they attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The United States ultimately won the following conflict that was quickly turning into a drawn out battle of attrition with nuclear innovation. However, if the bomb had never come to fruition, the U.S. still would have ultimately prevailed over Japan with superior logistical capabilities. America controlled the resources Japan needed to wage an effective war.

In recent years, China has expanded its influence and power in the Pacific and postured itself as a significant economic competitor to the west. China does not rely on the United States for any commodity today as Japan did for oil in the 1940s. Yet the United States heavily relies on China’s 95% dominance of the REE market for economic prosperity and to conduct global security and naval operations. If China decided tomorrow to embargo these elements how long would America continue to prosper and meet its operational needs? What would America’s response be, and how effective would that response be given the compromised supply of REEs? How would production continue on the F-35, Tomahawk cruise missile, surveillance and communications satellites, or the new hybrid propulsion drive on the Zumwalt class destroyers? Such considerations must be factored into framing escalation and hypothetical conflict with China.

HM2 (FMF) Joshua Cranford is a Hospital Corpsman stationed at Naval Health Clinic Annapolis. He has participated with ATHENA and is currently working toward avenues that integrate gaseous hydrogen as a fuel source into Naval operations.

Featured Image: Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning returns to Qingdao, China after Pacific drill, January 13th, 2017. Comprised of aircraft carrier Liaoning, a number of destroyers, some J-15 carrier-based fighter jets and helicopters, the fleet sailed through the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China sea. (Photo/CRI)

New Administration Topic Week Kicks Off on CIMSEC

By Dmitry Filipoff

This week CIMSEC will be featuring brief responses submitted to our call for recommendations for the incoming administration. Below is a list of responses that will be updated as the topic week features and as prospective authors finalize additional contributions. 

Mercy of the Dragon by Joshua A. Cranford
A Strong Navy for A Strong Nation by Bob Hein
Bryan McGrath’s Handy Advice by Bryan McGrath
The Challenge: Rediscovering the Offense by Richard Mosier

The Swiss Army Navy of Security Policy by Dr. Sebastian Bruns
An Open Letter to Our Negotiator-in-Chief: Fix Navy Acquisition by Travis Nicks

Keep It Simple by Brody Blankenship
Ensuring a Strong Navy for a Maritime Nation by The Navy League
Enhance Maritime Presence in the Indian Ocean by Vivek Mishra

More Than Just a Tool of Policy by Anthony Orbanic

Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content. Contact him at

Featured Image: SUBIC BAY, Philippines (Oct. 5, 2016) With amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as a backdrop, Sailors aboard the dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) conduct landing craft utility operations in the ship’s well deck during Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 33. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Raymond D. Diaz III/Released)

Fostering the Discussion on Securing the Seas.

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