Category Archives: New Initiatives

New projects and initiatives at CIMSEC.

January 2016 Members’ Round-Up Part One

Welcome to part one of the January 2016 members’ round-up! Over the past month CIMSEC members have examined several international maritime security issues, including future development programs for the U.S. Navy, Japanese naval strategy in the Asia-Pacific, North Korea’s nuclear weapons test, legal discussions over the U.S. South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOP) and China’s aircraft carrier procurement challenges.

Beginning the round-up at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Bryan Clark discusses the new Chief of Naval Operation’s vision for the future of the U.S. Navy. Mr. Clark explains that adaptability is a critical factor that the Navy must retain in order to effectively navigate the complex issues the force will see in the future maritime environment. Further to this, he elaborates on the potential challenges the Navy will face implementing an adaptability design as the Navy’s organization, training and equipping functions historically have not been developed for such fluid flexibility. Also discussing the CNO’s new design for the Navy, Chuck Hill for his Coast Guard Blog highlights the key developments raised within the CNO’s “Maintaining Maritime Superiority” document, including the changing dynamics of the global maritime environment and the recognition of increased competition U.S. naval forces are facing in the maritime domain from Russia and China.

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Sam LaGrone, at U.S. Naval Institute News, discusses the future surface combatant study taking place this upcoming summer. Mr. LaGrone explains that the study intends to comprehensively identify the capabilities that will need to be acquired by the Navy to effectively manage the threats the surface fleet will face in the future. Additionally, Mr. LaGrone highlights the strategic and fiscal importance of the future surface fleet having substantial multi-mission capability and an ability to remain relevant through technological advancements in weapon and sensor systems by ensuring the fleet is capable of handling frequent upgrades.

Bryan McGrath, for Information Dissemination, analyzes the ongoing debate concerning the procurement of the Ford-class aircraft carriers and more generally, the strategic benefits the aircraft carrier brings as a key component of the Navy’s force structure. Mr. McGrath outlines five underlying features surrounding the current debate, including the immediate costs of procuring large high-end carriers and the necessity for the air-wing to evolve to provide long-range stealth-strike capabilities, sea control, organic refueling and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.

Entering the Asia-Pacific, Harry Kazianis for The National Interest examines Japan’s strategy to develop an anti-access/ area-denial (A2/AD) capability to restrain Chinese naval and air operations in the region. Mr. Kazianis explains that a primary component of this strategy is the placement of anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile batteries along 200 islands in the East China Sea stretching 870 miles from mainland Japan towards Taiwanese territory.

Members of the Japan Self-Defence Forces deploy Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3). BBC, 2013.
Members of the Japan Self-Defence Forces deploy Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3). BBC, 2013.

Mira Rapp-Hooper at Lawfare provides a breakdown of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s detailed explanation of the USS Lassen’s South China Sea FONOP. Ms. Rapp-Hooper explains how Carter’s letter clarifies that freedom of navigation operations are merely intended to challenge excessive maritime and territorial claims according to international law and not to affirm support for any country involved in the dispute. She also outlines the letter’s second key assertion, which states that the USS Lassen operation in the South China Sea was consistent with the principle of ‘innocent passage’, suggesting that the operation consisted of no illegal activities or actions.

To conclude this edition of the member’s round-up, James Goldrick at The Interpreter discusses recent developments in China’s aircraft carrier program and outlines the PLA-N’s intentions for at least four carrier battle groups to be introduced as a means to support Chinese maritime and security interests in the region. Mr. Goldrick explains that for China’s carrier program to yield successful results, the volume of indigenous Chinese expert shipbuilders needs to substantially increase to meet the design and concept demands their high-end naval programs are requiring – including the PLA-N’s conventional and nuclear submarine development programs.

Members at CIMSEC were also active elsewhere during the first part of January:

At CIMSEC we encourage members to continue writing, either here on the NextWar site or through other means. You can assist us by emailing your works to dmp@cimsec.org.

Sam Cohen is currently studying Honors Specialization Political Science at Western University in Canada. His interests are in the fields of strategic studies and defense policy and management.

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Publication Release: Distributed Lethality 2015 Week Compendium

Released January 2016

Distributed Lethality is a concept announced by U.S. Navy leadership in January 2015 to explore the warfighting benefits of dispersing surface combatants. CIMSEC launched a topic week in July 2015 to focus analysis on this new concept. This compendium consists of the articles that featured in the topic week.

Authors:Distributed Lethality cover-page001
James Davenport  
Chris O’Connor
Eric Gomez
John Salak
Michael Glynn
Steven Wills
Ryan Kuhns
Jimmy Drennan
Majorie Greene
Thomas Rowden

Editors:
Sally DeBoer
Jimmy Drennan
Dmitry Filipoff
Matt Hipple
Matthew Merighi
John Stryker

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Articles:
Distributed Lethality: A Cultural Shift By James Davenport
Distributed Endurance: Logistics and Distributed Lethality By Chris O’Connor
Distributed Basing: The Key to Distributed Lethality’s Success in the Western Pacific By Eric Gomez
Weaponized Hovercraft for Distributed Lethality By John Salak
Airborne Over-The-Horizon-Targeting Options to Enable Distributed Lethality By Michael Glynn
LCS: The Distributed Lethality Surface Combatant By Steven Wills
Missing an Opportunity for Innovation: A Conceptual Critique of Distributed Lethality By Ryan Kuhns
Distributed Lethality’s C2 Sea Change By Jimmy Drennan
The Role of Swarm Intelligence for Distributed Lethality’s C2 By Majorie Greene
Naval Surface and Mine Warfare Development Center: The Human Element of Distributed Lethality By VADM. Thomas Rowden

Be sure to browse other compendiums in the publications tab, and feel free send compendium ideas to Publications@cimsec.org

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December Member Round-Up

Welcome to the December 2015 Member Round-Up and happy holidays! CIMSEC members have examined an array of international maritime security issues, including the future of China’s aircraft carrier program, budgetary cuts to the U.S. Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) acquisition process, Russian naval capabilities in the post-Cold War period and the decline of British sea power.

Beginning the Round Up at The National Interest, Harry Kazianis discusses the primary features driving the development of China’s aircraft carrier program and the operational capacities the program will yield for the PLA-N. Mr. Kazianis explains that the continued expansion of the program and the inclusion of carriers in China’s maritime defense policy have reflected Beijing’s grand strategic vision of Chinese seapower expanding into the Asia-Pacific and eventually attaining global power-projection capabilities. Also at The National Interest, Mr. Kazianis discusses China’s expanding anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) programs and the implications the DF-26’s nuclear and conventional attack capabilities have on regional influence and nuclear deterrence. Further to this, he explains how the multi-use DF-26 ASBM has been upgraded with anti-identification, anti-interception and integrated technologies to enhance the missile’s ability to conduct successful offensive and defensive operations.

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Ankit Panda, for The Diplomat, identifies the costs and benefits of an accidental freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea where a U.S. B-52 unintentionally flew within 12 nautical miles of the Chinese claimed Spratly Islands. Mr. Panda explains that although the flyby slightly increased tensions in the region, the incident reduced some ambiguity concerning how China would respond both politically and militarily to a U.S. FONOP or U.S. military provocation near disputed Chinese maritime territory. In a separate article also at The Diplomat, Mr. Panda discusses the deployment of Japanese ground forces to the East China Sea near the disputed Senkaku/ Diaoyu Islands largely to promote jurisdictional control over the Islands. The increased ground force presence will enhance Japanese intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities near the Senkaku/ Diaoyu Island chain while reducing Chinese operational capacity in the region.

Michal Thim, for Thinking Taiwan, discusses the strategic importance for the Taiwanese Navy to procure an improved submarine force capable of protecting the country’s maritime interests in the Taiwan Strait and resist an increasingly powerful PLA-N. Mr. Thim notes that a lack of domestic shipbuilding experience concerning the construction and design of submarines challenges the possibility of Taiwan’s future undersea operations being capable of surviving an environment with increased Chinese ASW capabilities. The article highlights the effectiveness of Argentinian submarines against the powerful British Navy in the 1982 Falkland’s War to demonstrate how Taiwan can use a capable submarine force as an asymmetrical weapon system to balance naval power in the region.

James Goldrick, at The Interpreter, analyzes components of China’s maritime strategy in an attempt to identify whether Beijing will use its maritime forces to secure and promote global sea lines of communication systems as opposed to developing a strategy focused on securing resources and denying foreign powers influence in the region. Mr. Goldrick suggests that China’s dependence on international maritime trade flow requires the U.S. to acknowledge the usefulness and logical increase in the PLA-N’s size and capabilities while China must use these capabilities as a means to endorse maritime security in support of the global system.

Concluding the Round-Up’s discussion on Chinese maritime developments in the Asia-Pacific, Kyle Mizokami for Popular Mechanics discusses China’s acquisition of the Russian Zubr class hovercraft and explains the procurement of these amphibious systems as a result of the several island-based territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea. Mr. Mizokami outlines the technicalities of the Zubr hovercraft such as the carrying capacity of the ship, onboard weapon systems and maneuverability to highlight the increased amphibious capabilities the PLA-N has acquired.

Patrick Truffer, at Offiziere, concludes the December Round-Up with a comprehensive analysis on the development of Russian naval capabilities after the collapse of the Soviet Union and explains how the Russian Federation Navy (RFN) has shifted its focus from the quality and quantity of its conventional forces to the long-term capacity of its strategic forces. Mr. Truffer explains that the RFN has sufficiently maintained the maritime component of the military’s nuclear triad with substantial upgrade investments in the nuclear-powered Borei-class submarine allowing for the older Delta- and Typhoon-class submarines to be replaced.

Members at CIMSEC were also active elsewhere during the month of December:

At CIMSEC we encourage members to continue writing, either here on the NextWar site or through other means. You can assist us by emailing your works to dmp@cimsec.org.

Sam Cohen is currently studying Honors Specialization Political Science at Western University in Canada. His interests are in the fields of strategic studies and defense policy and management.

Donate to CIMSEC!

Coming Soon: Information Dissemination’s Jon Solomon Crossposting Series

By Sally DeBoer

CIMSEC is just one of many voices in the discussion of international maritime security and naval affairs.  To enrich our content and expand our own horizons, we’ve developed content sharing relationships with similarly focused organizations.  Information Dissemination: The Intersection of Maritime Security and Strategic Communications consistently provides thought-provoking, meticulously researched, and deeply interesting analysis on naval affairs. On that note, CIMSEC is proud to announce an upcoming series featuring one of ID’s most prolific and interesting voices: Jon Solomon. 

In the coming months, CIMSEC will be crossposting selections from Jon’s portfolio, including his excellent three-part series 21st Century Maritime Operations Under Cyber-Electromagnetic Opposition, in which Jon deftly challenges conventional wisdom and popular understanding of Electronic Warfare (EW) and cyber-warfare as it relates to tomorrow’s conflicts.  In the series, Solomon explores the efficacy of judging a force network’s combat vitality by solely the number of nodes, the unique challenges of identifying and classifying potential targets, and considerations of network geometry/network degradation in times of combat.  Readers can look forward to enjoying Jon’s technical-but-understandable writing style and will likely come away with a broader, more nuanced understanding of the realm (and realities) of EW in modern conflict. This eye-opening series serves as an excellent primer for readers wishing to better grasp the possible practicalities of future high-end naval warfare.

Further, CIMSEC will also be re-publishing Jon’s engrossing series Deception and the Backfire Bomber: Re-examining the Late Cold War Struggle Between Soviet Maritime Reconnaissance and U.S. Navy Counter-targeting.  With a careful eye to detail and a reverent eye to history, Solomon discusses the most compelling aspects of the rarely-discussed (and still largely classified) relationship between U.S. EW assets and Soviet long-range maritime strike capabilities in the period between 1970 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.  Jon evaluates the evolution of Soviet reconnaissance support for Backfire forces (from pathfinders to overhead) and the U.S. Navy’s counter-targeting efficacy.  Further, the series explores possible deception tactics that may have been used by Backfires and concurrent counter-deception measures.  Current Russian strategies being what they are, Solomon’s analysis seems especially timely and relevant.

In addition to the above series, CIMSEC will include additional re-publications of Solomon’s other exemplary work.  We hope you, the readers, are as excited as we are for this timely, intriguing new series. Look for the ID’s Jon Solomon series in your inbox and featuring on the homepage in the coming weeks.

Sally DeBoer is an Associate Editor and the Book and Publication Review Coordinator for CIMSEC.  She can be reached at sally.l.deboer(at)gmail(dot)com.