Category Archives: Capability Analysis

Analyzing Specific Naval and Maritime Platforms

The Role of Cruisers in Promoting Russian Presence and Deterrence in Peacetime

The following is a two-part series on the role cruisers played in the Soviet and Russian Navy. The first part examined historical inspiration for developing a cruiser-focused force, concepts of employment, and strategic rationale. Part II will focus on how cruisers shaped the environment through forward presence during the Cold War, and how the nature of presence may evolve into the future. 

By Alek Clarke

The Multi-Layered Approach of Presence

“Naval losses are hard to make good. Therefore, each defeat inflicted on an enemy means not only the achievement of the goal of the given combat clash but the creation of favorable conditions for quite a long time for solving the next task.” Admiral Sergey Gorshkov1

It was not of course all about the cruisers. Even with two ‘levels’ of construction the Soviets would not have been able to devote enough resources to the construction of cruisers to sustain the number of hulls required to maintain the level of visibility that is a requisite of presence. In simple terms they hit the same problem the Royal Navy (RN) of the 1920s faced. The pre-WWI Fisher reforms sold off all the old ships which had been used as presence vessels2 – in the phraseology of that period, gunboats,3 so what to build as new build vessel for presence?

The RN in the 1920s focused on light cruisers, ships of 6,000 tons and a main armament of six to eight six-inch guns.4 Yet, still even in that period when defense budgets were able to call on far larger proportions of national funds than they can today, the RN was not able to acquire enough (even discounting the artificial strictures imposed by the arms limitations treaties5) to maintain the visibility portion of presence with only these ships. The Soviet solution to this problem was not that different to Britain’s in the 1920s; to focus efforts on the more useful ships where they could be of most benefit, and to make use of other ships to achieve the visibility aspect of the presence mission elsewhere.6

This visibility mission, often characterized as ‘Showing the Flag,’7 really started again for the Soviet Union after a 14-year hiatus that included the WWII years with a visit by a Sverdlov-class cruiser to Britain to take part in Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 Coronation Review.8 This visit was the harbinger of a busy future, and four years later another Sverdlov-class vessel, accompanied this time by a destroyer, made the first visit by a Soviet Union vessel to Latakia, Syria;9 a naval relationship which has continued to have an impact on world events to this day. The growing use of naval diplomacy by the Soviet Union in the early to mid-Cold War era is highlighted by the numerical increase in port visits: over a fourteen year period (1953-66) 37 port visits were made, 21 of which were to developed countries, yet over the next ten year period (1967-76) 170 port visits were made, of which only 30 were to developed countries,10 and 108 or 77.6 percent of which involved two or more vessels.11

What reveals more is the theater the visits were focused on: 69 went to the Indian Ocean –the highest number. Of these visits though, 29 took place during a two-year period, 1968-9, while the Soviet Navy was settling on which Indian Ocean ports to use as either a primary or secondary operational hub to support the Indian Ocean Squadron (the second forward deployed squadron the Soviet Union created), in the region.12 These visits were arguably more about testing the port facilities of allies, although they were also important for presence. In the retreating colonial atmosphere where the traditional power, Britain, was withdrawing and the new powers, America and the Soviet Union, were still integrating themselves – these visits served to foster relationships and grow connections.  

The second largest was the Atlantic, followed by the Mediterranean (which was the home of the first Soviet Union forward deployed squadron), and then the Pacific.13 The visits were very much focused at the ‘southern flank,’ and nations which belonged to NATO. They served to highlight the reach and capability of the Soviet Union to these nations in a very visible and of course ‘peaceful’ way.

Soviet Port Visits 1967-76. Source: Soviet Naval Diplomacy.14

Alongside the visibility of presence gained from port visits, these visits also provided the opportunity to build relationships and gather human as well as electronic intelligence. Whilst of course this is true of both the visitor and host, the initiation of the visit by the visitor, and rules of diplomatic etiquette (if followed by both sides), will usually serve to give the visitor an edge. This can be crucial in providing knowledge to the capability and capacity (i.e. how many ships/units can be actually made available at any time for operations) of potential opponents and allies.

Electronic intelligence and human intelligence are factors which are widely discussed,15 but still need to be highlighted. Even a ship outfitted with a moderately capable Command, Control, and Communication (C3) setup can provide significant listening capability whilst just passing through an ocean. Many nations put in far more basic equipment. This variance in electronic equipment outfit can often be a significant explanation as to the cost differences between procurements of similar vessels for different countries.

These passive sensors are nothing though compared to the turning on of more active sensor systems as both capability sets provide governments with the ability of proactively observing events within an area so that they have as much and as accurate information as possible. This capacity, when combined with the relationships that are built by ongoing diplomatic and military interaction, can provide interested nations with the ability to more accurately predict the possibility, as well as take advantage, of events or opportunities.

The Soviets at many times, but most notably in the 1975 Angolan Crisis,16 were able to build upon forces already in the area, use local knowledge, as well as on-the-spot presence to react to events. The reinforcements were carefully managed to present a deterrent to the threatened increased American involvement – which never actually materialized. Although there existed the presence of two carrier battle groups, based around the USS John F. Kennedy and the USS Saratoga in the Gibraltar/Atlantic area at the time, such involvement was a significant possibility.17

The presence of the ships combined with the airlift of mainly Cuban military personnel and Soviet equipment for which those ships provided cover secured the installation of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in power, rather than the American- or Chinese-backed organisations.18 While the warships never directly took part in combat operations, their presence allowed the Soviets to keep a very close eye on the situation.

This success is the capability which presence is an auger for. The vessel that is seen serves as a symbol and warning for all the force that might be dispatched. While there, the ships can provide more tangible benefits in terms of gathering intelligence and building relationships which could make a larger deployment unnecessary. If such larger deployments do become necessary, the information already gathered enables governments to refine and focus any such deployment to achieve the aims they desire more effectively and efficiently.

These successes were ultimately why the Soviet Navy eventually chose to procure aircraft carriers, as well as cruisers.19 It was not the pursuit of German-style ‘Risk Fleet’ strategy,20 but a realization that adding another level of presence would give them more diplomatic and operational flexibility. With the addition of aircraft carriers to its cruiser force the Soviet government was able to maintain ongoing presence within regions and raise the level of commitment if warranted, but always building upon the foundation of presence that was the ongoing feature of their policy. It was their ability to magnify the presence of Soviet forces by the addition of an organic sea-based fixed-wing component (giving the options for overflight, like the British achieved in Belize/British Honduras vs Guatemala with the Ark Royal in 197221) that was their peacetime selling point.

Future Possibilities

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”-W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming. 23

The primary question that will undoubtedly feature in future presence discussions is whether manned or unmanned systems are better value for money. Whilst those who are budget-minded will no doubt seek to replace manned with the unmanned, in reality the more sensible idea would be to consider the lessons of the past, and perhaps even the principle foundation of presence itself. It is a standard of presence that the small vessel that is seen is an active emblem for the far larger fleet that can be sent. This idea has been built upon. Helicopters have been used along with a detachment of marines/infantry to give an impression that a far larger ground force was available – as well as demonstrating their ability to appear anywhere. From all of this, there is therefore a successful precedent, whereby smaller/lower presence units are used to magnify the presence/area of effect of a higher impact unit. This is most likely to be the best option for unmanned systems, that they be part of a larger manned system or work in tandem with one so that the human side of presence is involved, while the unmanned aerial and surface systems would serve to magnify its impact.

It is as such a probability that the utility of small vessels for presence effect missions will grow; yet they will always depend, as the Russians and Soviets demonstrated, upon the strength of will encapsulated in their orders, the quality of their crew, and the foundation provided by the capable vessels they represent. This could be a basis for the promulgation of a two tier naval force, one with a strong core of warfighting vessels (aircraft carriers, destroyers, amphibious ships and submarines) kept at a high level of training and readiness, but which are deployed rarely – except to the most dangerous areas that require something more.

The second tier would be a larger number of presence/flotilla vessels, which would be almost continually forward deployed to show the flag, provide maritime security, and demonstrate interest around the world.24 Such an idea is not new:25 in fact it was the foundation of Soviet naval diplomacy and of the British Empire’s maritime policy for most of the 19th, and early 20th centuries. However, in an age where the complexity and advanced technology of weapons systems (and warships in particular) seems to be a major selling point for their procurement, such a premise may be difficult to sell.

Many countries possess both a Coast Guard and a Navy, and in the case of the U.S., the size, level of armament, and general sophistication of the Coast Guard cutters means that they are in many ways just as useful as USN ships in providing presence. This is not the case with most nations, but Britain as a nation which has a longstanding maritime history is an example of this.

In fact, Britain possesses not only a Coast Guard, but also a Border Force; both of which operate ships. Although the vessels are capable in localized maritime constabulary roles (and two of the Border Force vessels were deployed with HMS Bulwark to help with the 2015 Mediterranean Crisis26) – they are not as capable in the presence role as the River-class OPVs or minesweepers the RN currently uses for its small ship missions.

This does not mean though these Coast Guard and Border Force ships are not useful, just that they cannot be considered interchangeable with the RN ships. The British Government, which is currently procuring three more River-class vessels27 and has made an announcement to procure two further vessels, might wish to look again at the this very useful and adaptable class and see what more can be achieved from its design or could be gained by further increasing numbers in a presence context.

Conclusion

Presence matters. Events are decided by those who care enough to show up28 – not by those who sit back on the sidelines. The Soviet Navy, and to a large extent the modern Russian Navy, was not built on its wartime missions; but rather its peacetime roles – in contrast to Western navies that have prioritized warfighting constructs.

This focus is understandable when considering the constricting budgets these navies face and requirements that war would undoubtedly place on them. However, while the last year that British forces were not in action was 1968, wars which require naval forces to do more than support land forces are not that common – in fact the 1982 Falklands War was it for Britain. This does not mean the capabilities are not needed, as when they are needed they are really needed; but it does mean that in order to justify themselves navies need to be more engaged with peacetime possibilities and roles. They need to be engaged with the full role of the cruiser, the peacetime ambassador and bobby on the beat, and the warrior.  

Lack of focus on peacetime roles weakens navies in the political sense, as in a democracy the leaders respond to the public and media, who in turn largely respond to what is most visible, most immediate – not having the time to really consider the long term before the next thing comes along. This weakness was of course less of a problem for the Soviet Navy, and to an extent the Russian Navy, which has to impress a small number of stakeholders. Western navies however need to be in the public debate in order to justify the expense, whether it is for warfighting or for peacetime.

This is not because democratic governments do not care about defense, but because the nature of democracy means that that the more visible the department of government, the more it shows its relevance to the public and the harder it is to cut. The Soviet Navy (admittedly working in a less democratic national governance model) managed to build a fleet for war by mastering and building recognition from the missions of peacetime.

This is not to say that western navies need to build flotilla vessels, although they could be useful as presence and force multipliers;29 the Soviets went down that route as an offset strategy. For the carrier-centered western navies, whilst a small increase in major surface combatants would no doubt be of use to provide flexibility of presence; for pure presence missions, vessels of OPV or corvette size would be more appropriate. These vessels are often cheaper, and as with the Soviet choice of cruisers in the Cold War, would not carry the risk of provoking an arms race, and would provide the hulls necessary for nations to have presence where they need it to be.

This is important, because if countries wish to be actors more often than reactors, they need to have as accurate as possible understanding of what is going on and be able to act quickly. A small ship may not have the status of a larger vessel, but its presence as the vanguard of the larger can enable it to have an impact out of all proportion.30 Events which are caught early can often be resolved more quickly by what is already there – thus according the situation less possibility for escalation. Presence can serve to increase predictability and stability which are always good for helping to maintain peace.

Dr. Clarke graduated with a PhD in War Studies from KCL in 2014, the thesis of which focused upon the Royal Navy’s development of naval aviation and aircraft carrier design in the 1920s and 1930s. He was supervised during this by Professor Andrew Lambert. Alongside this he has published works on the 1950s with British Naval History, and has also published on current events with European Geostrategy and the Telegraph online as part of the KCL Big Question series. He has maintained an interest in digital history, and is organizing, hosting, and editing a series of Falklands War veterans interviews for the Center for International Maritime Security and Phoenix Think Tank. Recent research outputs include presenting a paper at the National Maritime Museum’s 2016 conference on the ASW capabilities of the RNAS in WWI, and will be presenting a paper on the design & performance of Tribal Class Destroyers in WWII at the  forthcoming BCMH (of which he is a member) New Researchers Conference.  

Archival Sources

TNA: ADM 1/8672/227. 1924. “Light-Cruisers Emergency Construnction Progrmme.” Admiralty 1/8672/227. London: United Kingdom National Archives(Kew).

TNA: ADM 116/4109. 1940. “Battle of the River Plate: reports from Admiral Commanding and from HM Ships Ajax, Achilles and Exeter.” Admiralty 116/4109. London: United Kingdom National Archives (Kew).

TNA: ADM 116/4320. 1941. “Battle of the River Plate: British views on German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in Montevideo harbour; visits to South America by HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles.” ADM 116/4320. London: United Kingdom National Archives (Kew).

TNA: ADM 116/4470. 1940. “Battle of the River Plate: messages and Foreign Office telegrams.” ADM 116/4470. London: United Kingdom National Archives (Kew).

TNA: ADM 223/714. 1959. “Translation of the 1949 Russian Book “Some Results of the Cruiser Operations of the German Fleet” by L. M. Eremeev – translated and distributed by RN Intelligence.” ADM 223/714. London: United Kingdom National Archives(Kew), 02 September.

TNA: ADM 239/533. 1960. “Supplementary Naval Intelligence Papers relation to Soviet & European Satellite Navies: Soviet Cruisers.” ADM 239/533. London: United Kingdom, National Archives (Kew), November.

TNA: ADM 239/821. 1959. “Particulars of Foreign War Vessels Volume 1: Soviet & European Satelite Navies.” ADM 239/821. London: United Kingdom National Archives (Kew), January.

TNA: DEFE 6/51/104. 1958. “Requirement for Cruisers East of Suez.” DEFE 6/51/104. London: United Kingdom National Archvies (Kew), 21 August.

TNA: FO 371/106559. 1953. “Soviet ships off the Shetlands; visit of Soviet cruiser Sverdlov to Spithead for the Coronation. Code NS file 1211.” FO 371/106559. London: United Kingdom National Archives(Kew).

TNA: PREM 11/1014. 1955. “Reconnaissance of Soviet cruisers by HMS Wave and RAF aircraft.” PREM 11/1014. London: United Kingdom National Archives(Kew).

References

1. Sergey Gorshkov (1980), p.229

2. Lambert (2008)

3. Cable, Gunboat Diplomacy 1919-1979, Political Applications of Limited Naval Force (1981)

4. TNA: ADM 1/8672/227 (1924) provides a good example of this, but for quick reference then Norman Friedman’s work British Cruisers; Two World Wars and After (2010) is also excellent 

5. Signatories of the Washington Naval Limitation Treaty (2005)

6. Dismukes & McConnell (1979), p.93 & 96

7. Dismukes & McConnell (1979), pp.88-114 –this is Chapte 3, written by Charles C. Peterson, who credits much of the information used to the work of Anne Kelly Calhoun

8. TNA: FO 371/106559 (1953), and Dismukes & McConnell (1979), p.89

9. Dismukes & McConnell (1979), p.89

10. Ibid, pp.89-90

11. Ibid, p.94

12. Ibid, pp.91-2

13. Ibid, p.94

14. Ibid, p.100

15. Aldrich & Hopkins (2013), and Herman (1996)

16. Dismukes & McConnell (1979), pp.144-53

17. Ibid, pp.147

18. Ibid, pp.144

19. Rohwer & Monakov (2006), Polmar (1991), and TNA: ADM 223/714 (1959)

20. Massie (2005)

21. White (2009)

22. Pocock (2015)

23. W.B. Yeats The Second Coming

24. Cable, Gunboat Diplomacy 1919-1979, Political Applications of Limited Naval Force (1981)

25. Clarke, Protecting the Exclusive Economic Zones – Part I & Part II (2014), & Clarke, October 2013 Thoughts (Extended Thoughts): Time to Think Globally (2013)

26. Ministry of Defence & The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP (2015), and Naval Today (2015)

27. BAE Systems (2015)

28. President Bartlet (Sorkin, 2000)

29. A. Clarke, Europe and the Future of Cruisers (2014)

30. Cable, Gunboat Diplomacy 1919-1979, Political Applications of Limited Naval Force (1981)

Featured Image: Soviet Navy Kirov-class cruiser. (Public Domain)

Assessing the United States’ Bioterrorism Preparation

NAFAC Week

By Sam Klein

While the United States funds by far the most biomedical research in the private and public sectors, its investment in this space has declined in recent years, as has its share of the total global investment.1 This decrease stands in stark contrast to the growing threat of biological weapons of mass destruction; there is “reason for concern that future bioterrorism attacks may be more effective than incidents in the past, and disease control facilities in other countries may not be as robust as those in our own.”2,3 While biological weapons research is a subset of all biological research, the downward trend in the greater field is not promising; the field must be considered holistically as epidemiology, immunology, and related subfields that can inform biological attack response even if they are not all classified as biological weapons defense research. Because the United States’ biological WMD preparedness is inadequate, the United States government should substantially increase its investment in biological weapons response, including private- and public-sector biomedical research, treatment coordination infrastructure, and intelligence-driven threat mitigation.4

Need for Research

The United States government should invest at least $155.8 billion next year in public research and private research grants, corresponding to our 2007 figure adjusted for inflation. This was the demonstrated need in 2007, and the need is at least as large now as it was ten years ago given our present state of understanding and preparedness.5

Although general epidemiological research is certainly useful in preparing for a targeted outbreak, bioterrorism research must also include more focused analysis. Biological weapons of mass destruction can be qualitatively different from naturally-occurring outbreaks of disease, both in terms of how concentrated they are and in their mode of transfer. This difference can be to the extent that a weaponized pathogen is untreatable by conventional means such as vaccination, as even a naturally occurring analog would respond to treatment.6 Aerosolizing normally grounded biohazards can render existing epidemiology models of those materials dangerously misleading, as spreading could take place at a far faster pace than expected. These factors all demonstrate the need for dedicated biological weapons research.

In addition to infecting humans, bio-WMD can also attack a population indirectly, for instance via agriculture.7 Given increasing monoculture and despeciation (i.e. biodiversity loss) in U.S. agriculture, American food supply and agricultural byproducts (e.g. ethanol) are less resilient to targeted bioterrorism.

A recent (2013) network analysis of the American interdisciplinary approach to bioterrorism research and prevention sought to determine whether the research being produced was covering the bases necessary to produce positive public health outcomes in the event of an attack. It finds value in the decentralized nature of the American approach, but also calls for more interdisciplinary research collaboration and greater “development of discovery techniques that are specialized to bioterrorism and security research sources.”8 Further investment should be channeled to these areas in addition to general epidemiology research.

Treatment Coordination Infrastructure

In 2004, the Project Bioshield Act appropriated $5 billion for preparation against likely bioweapons such as anthrax and botulism. This investment included stockpiling millions of vaccines.9 While this is a good start, momentum for this sort of investment has died down in the absence of political pressure 15 years after 9/11.

Early detection of infection is critical to saving individual lives and identifying and limiting the spread of a biological weapon of mass destruction. This will invariably happen at the local level, so it is critical that doctors on the ground across the country are knowledgeable of the symptoms of deployable biohazards and that they have the ability to quickly report incidents up the chain of command.10 It is likewise critical that the government continue to invest in bio-WMD epidemiological modeling (distinct from traditional modeling, as stated above) and in infrastructure to track ground-level reports of symptoms with the capability of distinguishing an attack from a natural outbreak (which should be treated differently).

In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services discontinued a program that outlined a comprehensive model of epidemic response with an emphasis on bioterrorism. The model, known as the Weill/Cornell Bioterrorism and Epidemic Response Model (BERM), was used by hospitals and epidemiologists.11 It has since been supplanted by CDC guidelines for epidemic response, but extensive research fails to yield a robust replacement that affords the same flexibility as BERM with regard to bioterror-specific cases.12 The government should invest in consolidating and refining the approach and publicizing it to the necessary channels as mentioned above.

Threat Mitigation

Finally, there is little publicly known intelligence on foreign state and non-state actor bioterrorism capabilities beyond the Congressional Research Service figure that12  several countries plus the United States have or have had biological weapons research programs (if not weapons themselves).13 This intelligence is extremely limited, in part because of the concealable nature of bio-WMD development. While procurement of some dangerous biological agents can be difficult outside of visible controlled facilities, others require less effort. However, the public may lack the fear and urgency needed to motivate policymakers to invest in biological weapons threat mitigation. In 2003, Colin Powell famously held a model vial of “anthrax” to the United Nations Security Council to make the case of invasion. While the Hussein regime was in fact weaponizing biological weapons including anthrax, simultaneous failures of U.S. intelligence cast a shadow on all of the WMD intelligence.14

One of the major deterrents to weaponizing biologics is the difficulty in controlling their spread; unlike conventional weapons and other WMD, biological weapons quite literally have “lives of their own” and, once deployed, could ostensibly infect the assailant’s population. However, one could conceive of a scenario in which the assailing population has been vaccinated so that the attack only affects the intended target.15

Conclusion

Biological weapons are a clear and present danger to the United States, and the country’s understanding of and preparation for an attack are grossly inadequate. Substantial increases in biological defense research, crisis management, and threat prevention are crucial to increase the security of American citizens.

Sam Klein studies political science and writing at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also serves as executive director of the Washington University Political Review. A native of Bethesda, MD, Sam is interested in domestic legislative politics and foreign affairs. In addition to the Political Review, he is involved in Model UN and student government. He intends to graduate in 2018.

Works Cited

Barker, Gary C. “Analysis of Research Publications that Relate to Bioterrorism and Risk Assessment.” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science 11, no. 1 (2013). doi:10.1089/bsp.2013.0019.

Chakma, Justin, Gordon H. Sun, Jeffrey D. Steinberg, Stephen M. Sammut, and Reshma Jagsi. “Asia’s Ascent — Global Trends in Biomedical R&D Expenditures.” New England Journal of Medicine 370, no. 1 (2014): 3-6. doi:10.1056/nejmp1311068.

Gerstein, Daniel M. “Countering Bioterror.” RAND Corporation. January 18, 2016. Accessed March 24, 2017. http://www.rand.org/blog/2016/01/countering-bioterror.html.

“Healthcare Preparedness Capabilities.” January 2012. Accessed March 25, 2017. https://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/hpp/reports/Documents/capabilities.pdf.

Henderson, Donald A. “The Looming Threat of Bioterrorism.” Science 283, no. 5406 (1999): 1279-282. doi:10.1126/science.283.5406.1279.

Hupert, Nathaniel, Jason Cuomo, and Christopher Neukermans. “The Weill/Cornell Bioterrorism and Epidemic Outbreak Response Model (BERM).” Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality. September 8, 2004. Accessed March 25, 2017. https://archive.ahrq.gov/research/biomodel3/index.asp.

Jansen, H. J., F. J. Breeveld, C. Stijnis, and M. P. Grobusch. “Biological warfare, bioterrorism, and biocrime.” Clinical Microbiology and Infection 20, no. 6 (June 2014): 488-96. doi:10.1111/1469-0691.12699.

Kerr, Paul K. Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons and Missiles: Status and Trends. Report. Congressional Research Service. February 20, 2008.

Madad, Syra S. “Bioterrorism: An Emerging Global Health Threat.” Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense 05, no. 01 (August 4, 2014). doi:10.4172/2157-2526.1000129.

Martin, James W., George W. Christopher, and Edward M. Eitzen, Jr. “History of Biological Weapons: From Poisoned Darts to Intentional Epidemics.” In Medical Aspects of Biological Warfare, edited by Zygmunt F. Dembek. Washington, DC: Borden Institute, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 2007.

Pifer, Steven. “Interview with Amb. Steven Pifer.” Interview by author. March 31, 2017. “The White House.” National Archives and Records Administration. July 21, 2004. Accessed

March 25, 2017. https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/infocus/bioshield/.

Weisman, Steven R. “Powell Calls His U.N. Speech a Lasting Blot on His Record.” New York Times, September 9, 2005.

References

1. Chakma, Justin, Gordon H. Sun, Jeffrey D. Steinberg, Stephen M. Sammut, and Reshma Jagsi. “Asia’s Ascent — Global Trends in Biomedical R&D Expenditures.” New England Journal of Medicine 370, no. 1 (2014): 3-6. doi:10.1056/nejmp1311068.

2. Jansen, H. J., F. J. Breeveld, C. Stijnis, and M. P. Grobusch. “Biological warfare, bioterrorism, and biocrime.” Clinical Microbiology and Infection 20, no. 6 (June 2014): 488-96. doi:10.1111/1469-0691.12699.

3. Henderson, Donald A. “The Looming Threat of Bioterrorism.” Science 283, no. 5406 (1999): 1279-282. doi:10.1126/science.283.5406.1279.

4. Chakma et al. “Asia’s Ascent.”

5. Pifer, Steven. “Interview with Amb. Steven Pifer.” Interview by author. March 31, 2017.

6. Gerstein, Daniel M. “Countering Bioterror.” RAND Corporation. January 18, 2016. Accessed March 24, 2017. http://www.rand.org/blog/2016/01/countering-bioterror.html.

7. Martin, James W., George W. Christopher, and Edward M. Eitzen, Jr. “History of Biological Weapons: From Poisoned Darts to Intentional Epidemics.” In Medical aspects of biological warfare, edited by Zygmunt F. Dembek. Washington, DC: Borden Institute, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 2007.

8. Barker, Gary C. “Analysis of Research Publications that Relate to Bioterrorism and Risk Assessment.” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science 11, no. 1 (2013). doi:10.1089/bsp.2013.0019.

9. “The White House.” National Archives and Records Administration. July 21, 2004. Accessed March 25, 2017. https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/infocus/bioshield/.

10 Madad, Syra S. “Bioterrorism: An Emerging Global Health Threat.” Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense 05, no. 01 (August 4, 2014). doi:10.4172/2157-2526.1000129.

11. Hupert, Nathaniel, Jason Cuomo, and Christopher Neukermans. “The Weill/Cornell Bioterrorism and Epidemic Outbreak Response Model (BERM).” Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality. September 8, 2004. Accessed March 25, 2017. https://archive.ahrq.gov/research/biomodel3/index.asp.

12 “Healthcare Preparedness Capabilities.” January 2012. Accessed March 25, 2017. https://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/hpp/reports/Documents/capabilities.pdf.

13 Kerr, Paul K. Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons and Missiles: Status and Trends. Report. Congressional Research Service. February 20, 2008.

14 Weisman, Steven R. “Powell Calls His U.N. Speech a Lasting Blot on His Record.” New York Times, September 9, 2005.

15 Pifer, Steven. “Interview.”

Featured Image: Credit U.S. Army

The Middle Way: A Balanced Approach to Growing America’s Navy

NAFAC Week

By Riley Jones

During the 2016 presidential election, then-candidate Donald Trump made the size and strength of America’s naval force a key aspect of his defense platform, arguing that the fleet should be increased in order to give policy-makers a diverse array of options to deal with threats and emergencies.1 Others stress that the size of the Navy is completely sufficient to deal with any and all potentialities, particularly given the fact that the United States currently possesses the only 10 nuclear-powered supercarriers in the world; this advantage precludes any serious challenge from the likes of near-peer competitors and ensures American dominance of the seas for the foreseeable future.2 However, these extremes fail to recognize the realities of a constrained and competitive national budgetary environment and the growing inadequacies of the current fleet to deal with limited-scope challenges from rising near-peer states. The United States Navy should adopt an intermediate approach to growing the fleet in order to maintain a favorable balance of power while also making efficient use of limited budgetary resources.

Critics of a proposed buildup in naval forces often focus on the current advantage that the United States enjoys over every other nation, particularly the fact that all supercarriers are currently American. They note that America possesses an overwhelming dominance in terms of “carriers, nuclear submarines, naval aviation, surface firepower, assault ships, missiles and logistics.”3 However, they fail to take into account what the most likely conflicts with China and other near-peers like Russia would look like. Carl von Clausewitz distinguished between warfare waged in order to obtain the complete annihilation of the enemy’s military capability and warfare waged in order to shift and renegotiate the balance of power between two sides.4

An engagement with China, for example, would likely be limited in scope and not involve either side seeking the total or even significant destruction of the other’s military force, let alone the use of nuclear weapons.5 During such an engagement, there would be a focus from the enemy on the deployment of anti-access, area-denial weaponry to push American carriers out of aircraft range of the mainland and immediate coastal waters, as well as potential sea lanes; this would deny America the ability to rapidly retaliate, leaving U.S. allies without key air defenses and vulnerable to a blockade by Chinese forces.6

Those who wish to maintain the current status quo in naval forces or even implement a reduction also fail to realize the dangers of the current operational tempo to the long-term health of the fleet. In order to ensure three supercarriers are on deployment continuously throughout the world, it is necessary to maintain a fleet of twelve, as for each carrier on assignment, three are heading to replace it or are training, returning home from deployment, and undergoing maintenance, yet the Navy has been deferring maintenance and lengthening deployments in order to accomplish the same mission with only 10 carriers.7

Conversely, some argue that the United States must engage in a drastic naval build-up. President Trump’s current proposal includes an increase in the number of carriers to 12 and of the total ships to 350.8 Such a force, he maintains, is necessary for the United States to be able to meet any rising security threats across the globe and to continue to ensure the freedom of the seas. Rear Admiral Thomas Moore stated that the Navy is “an 11 carrier Navy in a 15 carrier world.”9 While aircraft carriers, as outlined previously, are rightfully integral to America’s vision for its navy, there is a danger in building such an expansively large force.

The first is the danger of spreading resources too thin and exacerbating current budgetary instability. The Ford-class aircraft carries costs upwards of $10 billion per ship, while the Virginia-class attack submarine and littoral combat ships have price tags of $3 billion and $500 million respectively.10 The Defense Department must already compete for funding and such a large increase in the naval force would result in even greater budget deficits or cuts to domestic spending, neither of which are tenable in the long-term. These unpopular solutions may reduce political support for the continuance of such a large force in the future and the additional maintenance of non-vital vessels will prevent investment in technologies that will ultimately allow the United States to counter measures such as anti-access, area denial.11

Second, growing the fleet more than necessary to maintain America’s ability to field three carriers and project power across the world would be seen by near-peers as a sign of aggression, likely to cause an escalation of tensions. While maintenance of naval capability may be seen as the United States holding ground and taking a primarily defensive posture in relation to its role in world affairs, a large build-up of naval forces will be depicted as aggressive because it would enable the United States to, in their view, become more involved in world affairs.12 Naval forces are difficult to classify as either offensive or defensive in nature because of their mobility and the differing nature of naval warfare regarding territorial possession, but an increase beyond the current strategy of three deployed carriers would exacerbate tensions because of the perception that the United States was seeking to further tip the balance of power in its favor, rather than maintain its current advantage.13 Much like those who would maintain or shrink the force, proponents of such a large growth ignore the reality that an engagement would have a “limited aim” which would not be the total defeat of opposing forces, but to maintain the balance of power for America and, for our enemies, to encourage a retreat of American forces.14 We should therefor prepare our forces to be able to dominate in this “trial of strength” with our competitors so that they conclude challenging the status quo the United States maintains is too costly for them.15

Riley Jones is a junior at Indiana University from Marion, Indiana. He is studying Political Science and Anthropology with a minor in German. After graduation, he hopes to serve his nation as a United States Marine Corps Officer.

Bibliography

Donnelly, Thomas. “You Say You Want a Revolution?” American Enterprise Institute, March 15, 2017. https://www.aei.org/publication/you-say-you-want-a-revolution/.

Easterbrook, Gregg., “Our Navy is Big Enough,” New York Times, March 9, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/09/opinion/our-navy-is-big-enough.html?_r=0.

Friedberg, Aaron L., Ross, Robert S., “Here Be Dragons: Is China a Military Threat?” The National Interest, 103. September/October 2009.

Kraig, Michael R., “Military Planning for East Asia: A Clausewitzian Approach,” Strategic Studies Quarterly, Spring 2017.

Larter, David B., “Donald Trump wants to start the biggest Navy build-up in decades,” Navy Times, November 15, 2016, https://www.navytimes.com/articles/donald-trumps-navy-bigger-fleet-more-sailors-350-ships.

Levy, Jack S., “The Offensive/Defensive Balance of Military Technology,” in Conflict After the Cold War. ed. Richard K. Betts (Columbia University, Pearson Press. 2012). p. 444

McGrath, Bryan., Eaglen, Mackenzie., “America’s Navy needs 12 carriers and 3 hubs,” American Enterprise Institute, March 11, 2014, https://www.aei.org/publication/americas-navy-needs-12-carriers-and-3-hubs/.

Shear, Michael D., “Touring Warship, Trump Pushes Plan to Expand Military,” New York Times, March 2, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/us/politics/trump-navy-warship-military-spending.html.

1. David B. Larter, “Donald Trump wants to start the biggest Navy build-up in decades,” Navy Times, November 15, 2016, https://www.navytimes.com/articles/donald-trumps-navy-bigger-fleet-more-sailors-350-ships.

2. Gregg Easterbrook, “Our Navy is Big Enough,” New York Times, March 9, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/09/opinion/our-navy-is-big-enough.html?_r=0.

3. Gregg Easterbrook, “Our Navy is Big Enough,” New York Times, March 9, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/09/opinion/our-navy-is-big-enough.html?_r=0.

4. Michael R. Kraig, “Military Planning for East Asia: A Clausewitzian Approach,” Strategic Studies Quarterly, Spring 2017. p. 102.

5. Aaron L. Friedberg, Robert S. Ross, “Here Be Dragons: Is China a Military Threat?” The National Interest, 103. September/October 2009. p. 22

6. Ibid. p. 23

7. Bryan McGrath, Mackenzie Eaglen, “America’s Navy needs 12 carriers and 3 hubs,” American Enterprise Institute, March 11, 2014, https://www.aei.org/publication/americas-navy-needs-12-carriers-and-3-hubs/.

8. Michael D. Shear, “Touring Warship, Trump Pushes Plan to Expand Military,” New York Times, March 2, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/us/politics/trump-navy-warship-military-spending.html.

9. David B. Larter, “Donald Trump wants to start the biggest Navy build-up in decades,” Navy Times, November 15, 2016, https://www.navytimes.com/articles/donald-trumps-navy-bigger-fleet-more-sailors-350-ships.

10. Ibid.

11. Thomas Donnelly. “You Say You Want a Revolution?” American Enterprise Institute, March 15, 2017. https://www.aei.org/publication/you-say-you-want-a-revolution/.

12. Jack S. Levy, “The Offensive/Defensive Balance of Military Technology,” in Conflict After the Cold War. ed. Richard K. Betts (Columbia University, Pearson Press. 2012). p. 444

13. Ibid., 446

14. Michael R. Kraig, “Military Planning for East Asia: A Clausewitzian Approach,” Strategic Studies Quarterly, Spring 2017. p. 102

15. Ibid. 120

Featured Image: ARABIAN GULF: Sailors on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) participate in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk to increase awareness for suicide prevention. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey J. Hopkins)

Saving the Lives of Maritime Passageways: The Coast Guard and Maritime Chokepoints

NAFAC Week

By Victoria Castleberry

The need for security of international maritime trade has never been greater as over 90 percent of internationally traded goods are transported via maritime shipping and 70 percent of maritime shipped goods are containerized cargo.1 Most trade vessels are funneled through one or more of six strategic chokepoints around the world: the Suez and Panama Canals, Strait of Malacca, Strait of Bab el-Mandeb, Strait of Gibraltar, and the Strait of Hormuz.2 Perhaps the most unique of these chokepoints is the Strait of Hormuz, and the presence of six 110’ Coast Guard Cutters in its vicinity. Coast Guard presence provides what no other U.S. asset can to this hostile region: provide security without an escalation of arms and the facilitation of transnational cooperation through various interagency programs. Expanding this model of strategic deterrence by increasing the U.S. Coast Guard’s presence internationally, the United States will be capable of protecting our most precious passages, promote international cooperation, and give the U.S. an advantage in determining how the international maritime waterways are governed.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the Strait of Hormuz exports approximately 20 percent of the global oil market and a total of 35 percent of all sea-based trade.3 With such a valuable resource transported through a small area, the necessity of security for this strait is clearly essential to the international market. Unfortunately, tensions within the region are rising and the risk of port closure, piracy, and military interference are all real possibilities that the global market may face when transporting through this region.4 In an effort to counter potential mishaps the United States has already utilized the Coast Guard to provide an authoritative yet non-threatening presence in the Persian Gulf that over time has proven effective.

Currently the Coast Guard spearheads several programs in Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORCESWA).5 Programs in the region specialize in the training of Coast Guards from around the world to bolster international maritime security cooperation. These programs help to support Article 43 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) agreement which requires user and bordering states to cooperate for the necessity of navigation and safety for vessels transiting.6 This specific call to duty for the user and bordering states by UNCLOS is a mission set specialized by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is currently operating in Freedom of Navigation Operations, escorting of military vessels, hosts an International Port Security Liaison Officer program, and possesses a Middle East Training Team responsible for conducting operations in conjunction with foreign militaries.7

As previously stated, the Coast Guard currently offers programs which work toward international cooperation for maritime security. Programs offered in the Persian Gulf include the International Port Security Liaison Officer (IPSLO) program and the Middle East Training Team (METT). These programs act as partnerships between the U.S. Coast Guard and foreign militaries to build up and sustain their own Coast Guards, as well as improve their own port security to facilitate trade between all nations.8 The IPSLO program allows for a “sound foundation from which countries can build their own domestic maritime security system.” This foundation is built through the education and enforcement of the international codes.9 Other programs such as the METT regularly participate in “theater security cooperation engagements with foreign navies and coast guards throughout the region.” These teams focus on teaching other coast guards and navies proper procedure for LE boarding and smuggling interception.10 These are the programs which need support to protect maritime chokepoints globally.

Lieutenant Jared Korn, USCG, was the Operations Officer aboard USCGC Adak, one of the six cutters deployed to PATFORCESWA. When asked about situations experienced while deployed within the Persian Gulf region, LT Korn described instances where Iranian vessels would approach the cutter and eventually depart. LT Korn to explained that in whole, the U.S. Coast Guard is an internationally recognizable symbol for aid, security, and is notably less threatening than a grey-hulled naval vessel within the Persian Gulf region.11

The presence of the U.S. Coast Guard in the Persian Gulf has been an effective tool in deterrence of hostiles within the region. This model can and should be applied to the other strategic chokepoints around the world. In 2014 the Panama Canal was faced with 44 reported piracy attacks, the Suez Canal is similarly plagued with piracy, off the coast of Somalia pirates have collected ransoms for over 10,000 dollars.12 Other strategic chokepoints such as the Strait of Gibraltar, Strait of Malacca, and Strait of Bab el-Mandeb would also benefit from the presence of the U.S. Coast Guard within their regions. Although these regions are not experiencing as severe of a threat to their maritime trade route imminently, prevention-based presence could avoid severe consequences of trade shutdown in these strategic chokepoints. The best way to do this is to grow the U.S. Coast Guard’s patrol craft fleet internationally as well as the training programs which aid in the diplomatic relations and sovereignty of nations’ security.

Although the solution of expanding the Coast Guard’s mission internationally is possible, it does have two potential obstacles. The first obstacle is public perception, the second, asset availability. Public perception of law enforcement today is already at an all-time low. By allowing our only armed service with law enforcement capabilities to shift its mission internationally the United States runs the risk of the American people’s perceptions shifting as well.13 The positive perception by the American people of the Coast Guard is at risk of being diminished due to the perception of war-like actions by our domestic maritime law enforcement. More clearly, however, is the logistics. As the smallest branch of the armed services the U.S. Coast Guard accomplishes its mission set with just a fraction of the assets, personnel, and budget as her Department of Defense counterparts. Expanding the mission set of the Coast Guard will only spread these resources more thin without congressional budgetary aid to gradually build up international forces overseas.

The solution to the problem of securing strategic maritime passageways is a complex one. The solution cannot escalate tensions, must facilitate international cooperation, be non-intrusive, and help bolster nations’ forces. In many of the strategic chokepoints around the world, tensions run high. The necessity for diplomatic operations makes the Coast Guard the best choice to accomplish this mission. Expanding the United States Coast Guard’s assets and programs internationally will allow for these requirements to be met and give the United States a strategic advantage in the control of international maritime security.

Victoria Castleberry is a student at the Coast Guard Academy. She is a junior who studies government and focuses on security studies. She is the varsity coxswain for the women’s crew team. She participates in the cadet musical and was recently a dancer in the musical Footloose.  She has 2 dogs named Ezekiel (Zeke) and McCain (Mac) and grew up in Northern Virginia. She will be stationed in Puerto Rico on the USCGC Richard Dixon this summer. She hopes to become a Deck Watch Officer and drive big white boats somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line and attend law school.

Bibliography

Allen, Craig, Jr. “White Hulls Must Prepare for Grey Zone Challenges.” U.S. Naval Institute, November 2016: 365.

Castonguay, James. “International Shipping: Globalization in Crisis.” Witness Magizine. n.d. http://www.visionproject.org/images/img_magazine/pdfs/international_shipping.pdf (accessed March 28, 2017).

Katzman, Kenneth, Neelesh Nerurkar, Ronald O’Rourke, R. Chuck Mason, and Michael Ratner. “Iran’s Threat to the Strait of Hormuz.” Congressional Research Service, 2012: 1-23.

Korn, LT Jared, interview by Victoria Castleberry. Operations Officer CGC Adak Interview (March 29, 2017).

Rodrigue, Jean-Paul. “Stragetic Maritime Passages.” The Geography of Transport Systems. n.d. https://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch1en/appl1en/table_chokepoints_challenges.htm (accessed March 27, 2017).

US Coast Guard. United States Coast Guard. December 12, 2016. https://www.uscg.mil/lantarea/PATFORSWA/ (accessed March 30, 2017).

—. United States Coast Guard. December 21, 2016. https://www.uscg.mil/d14/feact/Maritime_Security.asp (accessed March 31, 2017).

Williams, Colonel Robin L. Somalia Piracy: Challenges and Solutions. Academic Reseach Project, Carlisle Barraks: United States Army War College, 2013.

1.  Castonguay, James. “International Shipping: Globalization in Crisis.” Witness Magizine. n.d. http://www.visionproject.org/images/img_magazine/pdfs/international_shipping.pdf (accessed March 28, 2017).

2. Rodrigue, Jean-Paul. “Stragetic Maritime Passages.” The Geography of Transport Systems. n.d. https://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch1en/appl1en/table_chokepoints_challenges.htm (accessed March 27, 2017).

3. Katzman, Kenneth, Neelesh Nerurkar, Ronald O’Rourke, R. Chuck Mason, and Michael Ratner. “Iran’s Threat to the Strait of Hormuz.” Congressional Research Service, 2012: 1-23.

4. ibid.

5. US Coast Guard. United States Coast Guard. December 12, 2016. https://www.uscg.mil/lantarea/PATFORSWA/ (accessed March 30, 2017).

6. United Nations. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, § Part III Straits Used for International Navigation (n.d.).

7. US Coast Guard. United States Coast Guard. December 12, 2016.    _______https://www.uscg.mil/lantarea/PATFORSWA/ (accessed March 30, 2017).

-United States Coast Guard. December 21, 2016.        https://www.uscg.mil/d14/feact/Maritime_Security.asp (accessed March 31, 2017).

8. United States Coast Guard. Maritime Security

9. United States Coast Guard. Maritime Security

10. ibid.

11. ibid.

12. Williams, Colonel Robin L. Somalia Piracy: Challenges and Solutions. Academic Reseach Project, Carlisle Barraks: United States Army War College, 2013.

Featured Image: ASTORIA, Ore. – Two Coast Guard 47-foot motor lifeboat crews comprised of members from smallboat stations throughout the Thirteenth District train in the surf at Umpqua River near Winchester Bay, Ore. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer First Class Shawn Eggert)