Category Archives: Call for Articles

Call for Articles: Integrated Naval Force Structure Topic Week

By Dmitry Filipoff

Submissions Due: November 4, 2019
Week Dates: November 11-15, 2019
Article Length: 1000-3500 words
Submit to: Content@cimsec.org

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are initiating an Integrated Force Structure Assessment to help chart the course of their future composition.

This force structure assessment process is unique in its emphasis on unmanned platforms by considering “an optimal force mix that includes Large Unmanned Surface Vessels, Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vessels, and Expeditionary Advance Bases.” 

It may also look to overhaul the Marine Corps’ force structure, where in reference to its longstanding use of large, expensive platforms the new Marine Commandant Gen. Berger wrote in his planning guidance that they must “seek the affordable and plentiful at the expense of the exquisite and few when conceiving of the future amphibious portion of the fleet.”

The assessment hopes to nest future force structure within emerging warfighting concepts such as Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO), Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE), and Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO). (Click below to read the memo from the Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations and the Marine Commandant.)

What ships and platforms will best serve the national security interests of the nation, capture technological opportunities for advantageous capabilities, and meet the challenge of great power competition? Authors are invited to answer these questions and more. Please send all submissions to Content@cimsec.org

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

Featured Image: PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 20, 2018) Amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), front, transits the Pacific Ocean next to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released) 180120-N-BL637-0045

Call for Articles: PEO USC Launches CIMSEC Mine Countermeasures Topic Week

Submissions Due: October 14, 2019
Week Dates: October 21-25, 2019
Article Length: 1000-3500 words
Submit to: Content@cimsec.org

By Dr. Sam Taylor, Senior Leader, Mine Warfare
Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC)

Naval experts almost universally agree that conducting effective mine countermeasures (MCM) is one of the most difficult and time-consuming missions for navies to successfully execute. Mines come in many different and increasingly deadly types, and can be deployed in deep or shallow waters, and in the surf zone. The bottom clutter and the dark, turbid ocean environment effectively helps to hide them from easy detection.

While difficult to undertake and execute well under demanding operational conditions, achieving success in the MCM world is not a mission impossible. For the U.S. Navy, MCM has been comprised of minehunting and minesweeping tactics using a dedicated force of MCM-capable ships, helicopters, and specially-trained Explosive Ordnance Disposal units. But the legacy MCM inventory is becoming increasingly costly to maintain and is rapidly approaching the end of its useful service life.

Today the Navy is approaching a strategic juncture in MCM where a host of emerging technologies provide new opportunities for widening the traditional approach to mine warfare and could, if successfully executed, bring about a 21st Century renaissance in MCM. Harnessing these new technologies to assist in resolving the very challenging MCM mission set is critical to the future of how the U.S. Navy conducts mine warfare, especially in light of emerging global great power threats.

The list of emerging technologies goes well beyond the additional capability being brought to the Fleet through the modular MCM Mission Package on the Littoral Combat Ship, to include new airborne and unmanned systems and integrated processing capabilities. These systems offer increased speed of operations, faster processing times to identify mines and other underwater objects, and fewer false alarm rates. The modular LCS MP will increase the pace at which Navy formations can clear mined waters. But this is just the beginning for how MCM can transform to conduct future mine warfare operations.

Some of the most salient technological opportunities of importance to naval mine warfare include exploring the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning; the increasing technical maturity of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned surface vessels (USVs), combined with their expanding inventories; assessing new advances in communications, especially underwater; new algorithms being developed for the execution of swarm tactics; the assessment of advances in computer processing speeds; and modular systems engineering techniques for mine warfare.

Technologies and tactics that can help conduct in-stride mine detection are also of keen interest, because dedicated and optimized modular MCM forces will not be available everywhere and at all times. Similar to the tactics U.S. military land forces adopted in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last two decades, the Navy is keen to understand how risk to general purpose forces, operating in a distributed maritime fight, can be reduced through technological and tactical advances that can help these ships avoid the most common mine threats they may encounter. Optimization of ships and submarines for an MCM “mark and move” capability will be critical to ensuring the Navy can maintain freedom of access and maneuver during great power conflict.

To better understand the impact emerging technology poses for MCM and to jumpstart critical thinking, the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC) is teaming with the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) to solicit new ideas. Here are some of the strategic questions that PEO USC is seeking to explore regarding the future of Navy MCM systems:

  • How do we more creatively apply new, innovative technologies to address the operational and tactical challenges posed by mines?
  • Are there better, more innovative operational constructs that can be employed to expand the use of unmanned systems to tackle MCM?
  • How can we employ more innovative operational MCM concepts that seek to take advantage of new technologies and other scientific advances while still maintaining fleet support?
  • Can we re-think the entire approach to confronting the MCM problem?
  • Were we to develop a new generation of MCM tactics and doctrine from first principles, based on our current understanding of technology trends, how might MCM fundamentally change?
  • What new areas of science, technology, or mathematics might we exploit to significantly enhance current and future MCM capabilities?
  • Are we effectively using the right set of metrics and algorithms in MCM?
  • How do we expeditiously translate these new technologies and operational concepts into more flexible and adjustable requirements?

Contributors can answer these questions and more to help chart the course for the future of U.S. Navy MCM capabilities and concepts. Please send all submissions to Content@cimsec.org.

Dr. Sam Taylor received his doctorate degree in Engineering from the University of Memphis in 1994, where his major was electrical engineering. He received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in electrical engineering from the same institution in 1990 and 1991, respectively. Dr. Taylor is responsible for the overarching leadership of the Mine Warfare portfolio within PEO USC and works to ensure the seamless delivery of mine warfare capability to the fleet. Prior to joining PEO USC, Dr. Taylor worked at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Florida, in numerous positions, including the Deputy Department Head for the Littoral and Mine Warfare Systems Department and Chief Technology Officer.

Featured Image: (September 21, 1987) Mines on the Iranian ship Iran Ajr during a personnel inspection of the USS Lasalle in the Persian Gulf. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, Archive)

Call for Short Submissions: Notes to the New Chief of Naval Operations

By Dmitry Filipoff

Submissions Due: September 16, 2019
Week Dates: September 23-27, 2019
Submission Length: 500 words
Submit to: Content@cimsec.org

In 500 words or less, what would you want the new Chief of Naval Operations to know? CIMSEC is launching a special topic week series featuring short contributions that look to convey pressing points to the U.S. Navy’s new top leadership.

On August 22, 2019, Admiral Michael Gilday assumed command as the 32nd Chief of Naval Operations of the U.S. Navy.

In some of his first remarks as CNO, Admiral Gilday remarked on the changing strategic environment, in that “For the first time in a very long time, we face serious challenges at sea around the world. For decades, we took for granted that no other blue-water navy would dare take us on. That’s no longer true.” Admiral Gilday also vowed that “We will question our assumptions. We will think differently about the competition we are now in. We will be the Navy the nation needs now, and we will build the Navy the nation needs to fight and win in the future.”

How can Admiral Gilday lead the way toward these objectives and meet the challenge of great power competition? Contributors can answer these questions and many others as they seek to convey their message. 

Given the broadly international nature of the U.S. Navy’s mandate and the numerous partners and allies that often work with American naval forces, international contributors are encouraged to share their perspectives. 

Please submit all contributions for consideration to Content@cimsec.org

This is an independent CIMSEC initiative and is not produced in cooperation with any U.S. Navy organization or entity. 

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

Featured Image: Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday delivers his first remarks as the 32nd CNO during a change of office ceremony held at the Washington Navy Yard. (US Navy Photo)

Call for Articles: Securing the Gulf

Submissions Due: July 29, 2019
Week Dates: August 5-9, 2019
Article Length: 1000-3500 words
Submit to: Nextwar@cimsec.org

By Dmitry Filipoff

A recent spate of attacks in the Persian Gulf is highlighting the fragile security environment within this strategic body of water. The Gulf, filled with commercial ships carrying much of the world’s oil supply, narrowly separates two adversarial factions composed of Arab states and Iran. As economic disturbances stem from the recent attacks, world leaders are debating how to respond, how to shore up deterrence, and how these attacks figure into Iranian strategy.

The U.S. Navy has long policed the Gulf for the sake of protecting international security, economic stability, and American interests. In 1988, American naval forces engaged in combat operations against Iranian forces to secure Gulf shipping in Operation Praying Mantis. In recent years, the U.S. Navy always maintained a carrier strike group on station in the Gulf, ready to respond. But in the face of chaotic maintenance problems, the emergence of great power competition, and overbearing demands coming from U.S. Central Command, this high-strung requirement for forward naval presence was removed. The naval balance of power in the region has shifted as a result, while making the U.S. far more dependent on local allies.

An American surface warship engages an Iranian oil platform during Operation Praying Mantis in 1988.

Among the solutions being debated include a multi-national coalition, ostensibly under the name Sentinel, that would help maintain situational awareness in the Gulf. How else could the international community secure the Gulf? How could the naval balance of power between Arab states and Iran affect the nature of conflict? Could the U.S. augment its presence in the region? Authors can answer these questions and more as things heat up in the Persian Gulf.

Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content. Contact him at Nextwar@cimsec.org.

Featured Image: The Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman from space. (Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC)