Category Archives: Call for Articles

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)

Call for Articles: Countering the Chinese Military in 2035

Submissions due: July 15, 2019
Week Dates: July 22-26, 2019
Article Length: 1000-3500 words
Submit to: Nextwar@cimsec.org

By COL Stephen C. “Chris” Rogers

CIMSEC is partnering with the U.S. Army’s Future Warfare Division to solicit articles that provide new insights into how the U.S. military can better support U.S. regional and global interests in the Indo-Pacific region. Over the past several years, the Future Warfare Division has focused on experimentation in the European theater and developing the Multi-Domain Operations Concept (MDO). During the coming year, it will examine how to operationalize the Army’s new MDO concept in the Indo-Pacific region through a series of tabletop exercises. For this Call for Articles, the Future Warfare Division is looking for innovative and strategic thinking on the role of the joint force in countering a rising China, with particular emphasis on the unique challenges the Indo-Pacific region presents to multi-domain operations. Select authors will be invited to present their papers at a Theater Posture Seminar in November designed to kick-off the 2020 study year. Hosted by the Future Warfare Division at Fort Eustis, VA, this seminar will introduce scenarios, highlight significant military challenges in the region, and set the theater posture to examine multi-domain operations in the 2035 timeframe.   

The 2018 National Defense Strategy describes the global security environment as complex and one in which the reemergence of revisionist powers will challenge U.S. freedom of maneuver. Specifically, it cites China’s military modernization as a threat to the Indo-Pacific region. The Chinese strategy to displace the United States as a viable regional security partner is made apparent in the comprehensive multi-domain approach China is undertaking, and which is supported by significant investments in expeditionary capabilities. The Belt and Road Initiative in particular is a physical and economic extension of China’s rising power. This initiative seeks to primarily link China with East African, Central Asian, and European states via pipelines, highways, railways, and sea lanes – ostensibly for mutual economic benefit. Countries within the region and across Europe recognize the economic opportunities, and approximately 60 countries are committing to this initiative. The common denomination among participating countries will be the Chinese Yuan, which could strike a blow to the strength of the U.S. Dollar, and have a significant impact on the geopolitical balance of power.

China has expanded its regional and global military presence to protect its growing international economic interests, increasing the requirement for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to operate in diverse maritime environments to protect Chinese citizens, investments, and critical lines of communication. For instance, the Chinese PLA support base in Djibouti provides military support for Chinese troops operating in the Gulf of Aden as well as peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Africa. This facility significantly increases China’s power projection capabilities in the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean. Closer to home, China is committed to military expansion in the South China Sea and is considering tighter control of air and sea vessels transiting the area, activities that are both contrary to global economic norms and the U.S. policy position of open access to global commons.  

To support this expansionist strategy, military modernization has been a PLA priority, and associated defense spending has increased by 83 percent between 2009 and 2018. Chinese military modernization is increasingly characterized by the development of its global power projection capabilities, including aircraft carriers, strategic stealth bombers, and nuclear submarines. During the last decade, Chinese shipbuilders built more than 100 warships, and by 2022 China is projected to have four aircraft carriers.

China is extending its military influence indirectly as well, having grown its military arms exports considerably in the past decade. China is now the fifth largest arms supplier in the world with 75 percent of its arms exports remaining on the Asian continent. Principal among the arms sales clients is Pakistan, which recently purchased advanced tracking systems that enable the employment of ballistic missiles armed with multiple warheads. Pakistani acquisition of these tracking systems is escalating tensions as India feels compelled to jointly develop a hypersonic cruise missile with Russia. Other Asian clients of Chinese arms include Iran, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, effectively encircling India, China’s principal economic competitor in the Indian Ocean rim.

To counter these Chinese advances, the U.S. National Military Strategy specified the need to “expand Indo-Pacific alliances and partnerships to deter aggression, maintain stability and ensure free access to common domains.” However, most of the potential members of such an alliance also maintain relations with China and, in their own interests to nurture and protect regional relationships, may refuse to join a “hedge-only” U.S. strategy. China maintains bilateral investment agreements with more than 100 countries and economies. In addition, China maintains 14 free trade agreements and is currently negotiating another eight. China is successfully using economic tools to maximize its strategic influence, and expanding that influence with effective information campaigns that justify and support an expansionist approach.

In an effort to understand the implications of these developments the following questions can serve as a topical guide to focus potential contributors:

  • How can the U.S. military’s global and Indo-Pacific regional posture more effectively counter China’s growing military threat?
  • How can the U.S. military conduct joint, multi-domain operations across the expansive Indo-Pacific region?
  • Are the U.S. military’s current command structures capable of contesting the rapid development and deployment of Chinese military systems?
  • How do Chinese arms sales and strategic relationships affect U.S. multi-domain capabilities and access in the region?

By pondering these questions the U.S. military can be better prepared to confront an aggressively rising China should the need arise. Please send your submissions to Nextwar@cimsec.org.

Colonel Chris Rogers is an Army Strategist currently serving as the Chief of the Future Warfare Division in the Futures and Concepts Center, Army Futures Command. He is responsible for the Army’s Title 10 Future Study Program and a variety of other wargames and learning events. Prior to his current assignment, Chris served as the Director of the Joint Advanced Warfighting School (JAWS), National Defense University.

Chris graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1992 as an Infantry Officer, and became an Army Strategist in 2007. He has operational experience in Iraq as a battalion operations and executive officer from October 2006-January 2008, then as the Deputy Director of the USF-I Commanding General’s Initiatives Group from April-December 2011. He has also served as a special assistant and principal speechwriter to the Commander, United States Strategic Command, and as a Plans Officer in III Corps, and 1st Cavalry Division.

Chris is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College, and the Joint and Combined Warfighting School.

Featured Image: Soldiers with the 17th Field Artillery Brigade fire a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System at Yakima Training Center, Wash., Feb. 28, 2017. The brigade served as the foundation of a Multi-Domain Task Force pilot in the Pacific theater. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jacob Kohrs)

Call for Articles: Unmanned Systems Program Office Launches CIMSEC Topic Week

Submissions Due: April 30, 2019
Week Dates: May 6–May 10, 2019

Article Length: 1000-3500 words
Submit to: Nextwar@cimsec.org

By CAPT Pete Small, Program Manager, Unmanned Maritime Systems

The U.S. Navy is committed to the expedited development, procurement, and operational fielding of “families” of unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned surface vessels (USVs). CNO Adm. John Richardson’s Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority (Version 2.0) explicitly calls for the delivery of new types of USVs and UUVs as rapidly as possible.

My office now manages more than a dozen separate efforts across the UUV and USV domains, and that number continues to increase. The Navy’s commitment to unmanned systems is strongly reinforced in the service’s FY2020 budget with the launching of a new high-priority program and key component of the Future Surface Combatant Force — the Large Unmanned Surface Vessel (LUSV) — along with the funding required to ensure the program moves as rapidly as possible through the acquisition process. This effort is closely aligned with the Medium Unmanned Surface Vessel (MUSV) rapid prototyping program started in FY19. Mine Countermeasures USV (MCM USV) efforts have several key milestones in FY19 with Milestone C and low-rate initial production of the minesweeping variant and the start of minehunting integration efforts.

U.S. Navy’s unmanned surface vessels systems vision. (NAVSEA Image)

On the UUV side, the ORCA Extra Large UUV (XLUUV) program has commenced the fabrication of five systems that are expected to begin testing in late 2020. The Snakehead submarine-launched Large Displacement UUV (LDUUV) is wrapping up detailed design and an operational prototype will be ready for Fleet experimentation by 2021. Several medium UUV programs continue in development, production, and deployment including Mark 18, Razorback, and Knifefish. So these new and different systems are coming online relatively quickly.

Supporting the established families of UUVs and USVs are a number of Core Technology standardization efforts in the areas of battery technology, autonomy architecture, command and control, and machinery control. While these architecture frameworks have stabilized and schedules have been established, there are still a host of logistical and sustainability issues that the Navy must work through. Most of these unmanned platforms do not immediately align with long-established support frameworks for surface ships and submarines. These are critical issues and will impact the operational viability of both UUVs and USVs if they are not fully evaluated and thought through before these systems join the Fleet.

Here are some of the questions we are seeking to more fully understand for the long-term sustainment and support of UUVs and USVs:

  • Where should the future “fleets” of UUVs and USVs be based or distributed?
  • What infrastructure is required?
  • How or where will these systems be forward deployed?
  • What sort of transportation infrastructure is required?
  • What is the manning scheme required to support unmanned systems?
  • How and where will these unique systems be tested and evaluated?
  • How do we test endurance, autonomy, and reliability?
  • What new policies or changes to existing policies are required?
  • How will these systems be supported?
  • What new training infrastructure is required?

To help jumpstart new thinking and address these questions and many others we have yet to consider, my office is partnering with the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) to launch a Special Topic Week series to solicit ideas and solutions. We are looking for bold suggestions and innovative approaches. Unmanned systems are clearly a growing part of the future Navy. We need to think now about the changes these systems will bring and ensure their introduction allows their capabilities to be exploited to the fullest.

CAPT Pete Small was commissioned in 1995 from the NROTC at the University of Virginia where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He earned a Master of Science Degree in Operations Research in 2002 from Columbia University, and a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Naval Engineer Degree in 2005 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently serving as Program Manager PMS 406, Unmanned Maritime Systems. 

Featured Image: Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV) intended to eventually serve as the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) unmanned patrol boat. (Textron photo)

Call for Articles: The Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) Concept

By Dmitry Filipoff

Articles Due: February 25, 2019
Week Dates: March 4-8, 2019

Article Length: 1000-3500 words 
Submit to: Nextwar@cimsec.org

The U.S. Navy is pursuing a new Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) concept that will help redefine how the Navy fights and operates. This major operating concept will soon play a significant role in how the Navy organizes its future force development. This important line of effort was highlighted in the Chief of Naval Operations’ recently released Design For Maintaining Maritime Superiority 2.0

“Continue to mature the Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) concept and key supporting concepts. Design the Large Scale Exercise (LSE) 2020 to test the effectiveness of DMO. LSE 2020 must include a plan to incorporate feedback and advance concepts in follow-on wargames, experiments, and exercises, and demonstrate significant advances in subsequent LSE events.”

CIMSEC invites authors to discuss the Distributed Maritime Operations concept and what it means for the future of naval power. What will it take to make this vision come alive? What new strategies and operational approaches could this concept enable? Authors are invited to discuss these questions and more as the U.S. Navy seeks to orient itself around this new concept. 

For related reading on distributed naval power, check out below the two topics weeks CIMSEC previously launched in partnership with the Navy’s Distributed Lethality Task Force.

Distributed Lethality Topic Week February 2016

Distributed Lethality Topic Week September 2016

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

Featured Image: Atlantic Ocean (Nov. 30, 2003) — USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group breaks formation in the Atlantic. Washington is conducting Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) in the Atlantic Ocean in preparation for their upcoming deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Summer M. Anderson.)