Category Archives: Regional Strategies Week

Illegal Fishing in the South Pacific: What Can the Chilean Navy Do?

Regional Strategies Topic Week

By Francisco Martinez

The Chilean Navy is more than just a national warfighting force aimed at conventional deterrence. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, fires, and tsunamis are all examples of natural disasters that Chile faces in which the Navy is one of the first to provide support. Along with disaster relief and safeguarding life at sea, countering Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is one of the most economically important duties of the Chilean Navy. IUU fishing is not only a matter of protecting the economy, but it is also a matter of the sustainability of natural resources in the Chilean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). To tackle IUU, Chile requires creativity, and resourcefulness. The key to accomplishing the task, like for many small- to medium-sized navies, is regional cooperation.   

 A 21st Century Chilean Navy

The current Chilean Navy motto — “Vencer o morir,” translated “to vanquish or die” — seems like a heroic and forged-in-war motto, fit for a Navy that has existed for over 200 years. The Chilean Navy saw its roots in the independence wars against the Spanish Empire in the early 18th century and has been ready to stand up to protect the country ever since.

This motto seems to highlight a conventional navy, focused solely on warfighting. However, in the 21st century, small- to medium-sized navies must be able to adapt to survive. Constrained budgets, peaceful geographic neighborhoods, and a need for resources elsewhere in the country — like hospitals, schools, or fighting the current pandemic — are the main threats facing navies like Chile’s today. 

Located in the southernmost part of the South American continent, Chile’s reality is complicated. With an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1,063,741 square nautical miles, Chile has the world’s 10th largest sea area. Its primary ocean frontiers are the Pacific and Antarctic Oceans. Its search and rescue area of responsibility is roughly a quarter of the Pacific Ocean (7,726,163 nm2). And with this enormous area of responsibility, there are also myriad unconventional threats . Some of these include IUU fishing, drugs and person trafficking, sea pollution, natural disasters, and protecting the Antarctic environment.

Chile is also a maritime state. More than 95 percent of its exports and 90 percent of its imports come and go through the sea. Chile is a signatory of the Antarctic treaty, which comprises significant responsibilities like safeguarding life at sea in that area, and takes special precautions enforcing the Antarctic system to protect natural resources and the environment.

As a door to the Antarctic, Chile’s position in the southernmost part of the world makes it a natural bridge to launch expeditions (tourist, research, or supplying Antarctic bases) and serves as a logistical platform for search and rescue operations. It is in Punta Arenas where ships from different parts of South America, like Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and Uruguay, establish their main supply port before starting their Antarctic patrols to resupply their bases.

To tackle the threats and responsibilities described, the White Book of Defense 2017 shifted the tasks assigned to the Navy to a more non-traditional military role, like humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping, and disaster relief. It also states the importance of conserving the ocean and its resources, keeping the Chilean oceanic territory safe and lines of communication open, to interact and cooperate with other countries that share a common interest to protect natural resources, and to increase the governance of ports and secure their logistics.

It should not be surprising that the number of assets required to accomplish all these tasks and keep patrolling the seas is far more than the eight blue-water warships, four offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), and eight Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) the Chilean Navy has today.

The Threat of Distant Waters Fishing ships and IUU Fishing

The importance of fishing is made clear by the enormous fleet built by China. In the last few years, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) reported that China owns roughly 17,000 distant waters fishing (DWF) boats, becoming the largest fleet in the world (ODI defines DWF as vessels in fishing activities outside a nation’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone). As early as this month, Ecuador announced that more than 300 fishing ships were operating close to its EEZ near Galapagos Island. In 2016, an Argentinian Coast Guard ship sank a Chinese fishing vessel, the Lu Yan Yuan Yu, which was believed to be part of a bigger fleet fishing in Argentinian’s EEZ. 

As Claude Berube reminded us on CIMSEC, navies and policymakers must be aware of the numbers. The People’s Republic of China owns 30 percent of fishing fleets and 20 percent of the fish is caught illegally. In Chile, the numbers paint a bleak future. $300 million worth of IUU fish were believed to be caught in the Chilean EEZ during 2017. IUU fishing is not only a threat to the economy, but it is also depleting the oceans. In the long run, it is a major threat to the sustainability of the maritime commons. In this vein, how can the Chilean Navy patrol its enormous ocean area of responsibility with a limited number of assets?

Pacific Ocean (Aug. 26, 2006) A Chilean Naval Coast Guard’s Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) team conducts training aboard the Chilean M-class frigate Blanco Encalada (FF 15), during exercise PANAMAX 2006. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Perez)

The answer is ingenuity. Unlike other countries that separate the duties of conventional warfighting from those of policing the seas, e.g., the United States or Argentina, Chile has a single agency (the Navy) to patrol and enforce the law at sea, with the Chilean Naval Coast Guard subsumed under the Navy. Whenever naval ships sail or aircraft fly, they patrol Chile’s ocean territory to defend against both military and criminal threats.

The threats of distant waters fishing fleets and tight budgets are combining to push Chile and other like-minded regional navies to cooperate and share the burden. International exercises that emulate real-world challenges are a clear example of international cooperation in South America. Panamax, an exercise that focuses on security and stability in the Panama Canal, comprises 20 nations’ participation, including Chile, Peru, and the U.S. Other exercises include Teamwork South and Unitas. In both, more than five nationalities are represented. RIMPAC is another example of Chilean international presence through exercises. In 2018 Chile commanded the exercise’s maritime component, showing to the rest of the participants that the Chilean Navy is ready to assume more significant and complex challenges.

What Else Can Be Done?

It is difficult to overstate the Chilean Navy’s need for additional resources and better options to accomplish fuller patrolling of its oceans while keeping warfighting capabilities to deter possible adversaries. Crews onboard warships would prefer to exercise more warfighting capabilities and do more live firings, for example, than patrolling the EEZ. However, the Navy has to double its efforts to do more of both with limited assets.

As mentioned earlier, combined patrols seem to be one option to share the burden. In the Antarctic, Chile and Argentina currently run the Antarctic Combined Naval Patrol to safeguard life at sea while rationing assets. But this patrol is a short-term answer. As a more sustainable solution, Chile started building its Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) to cover long distances of the EEZ, but even with these platforms much more could be done.

A second option, offered by Claude Berube, could be to hire NGOs like Sea Shepherd and embark government personnel to enforce the law at sea at a relatively small cost (since NGOs use volunteers to man the ships). Another option, given by Peter Roberts from the Royal United Services Institute, could be joint efforts with private companies to increase Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). For example, nowadays and amid the pandemic, there is a surplus of commercial aircraft that could be used to patrol the EEZ instead of the navy’s P3Cs. Commercial aircraft are not expensive to hire and would be available whenever the navy’s MPA needs to attend to maintenance or warfighting exercises.

Intelligence fusion centers are an excellent third option to help stop IUU. The significance of MDA is invaluable when it comes to sending ships or MPA to investigate possible criminal activities at sea. In the Chilean case, a national task force must be stood up before seeking to expand its reach via neighboring liaison officers. With the data gathered and processed in the fusion center, whether using satellite images or other agencies’ databases, Chile can more efficiently deploy assets to investigate IUU fishing instead of sending MPA without any leads.


Of the three options given, the first two seem cost-effective for small-to-medium navies, but may not be feasible in the eyes of the public opinion. If the Navy outsources patrolling the seas, then why does Chile need a navy in the first place? And with this way of thinking, resources could be allocated to other areas of the national budget. The last option, the IFC, seems a sustainable option that would do well for countering IUU fishing while strengthening bonds with like-minded countries. At first, this international effort could start by sharing only information, and as trust grows, it could go as far as patrolling the EEZ together with combined assets.

IUU fishing is a threat that no coastal country is free from. The numbers of long-range fishing fleets are growing, and natural resources are at risk of being depleted. However, the Chilean Navy must be prepared for the threat coming to its waters. International cooperation is critical to regional navies in South America, but it must start with us. Small- to medium-sized navies must act together to prevail.

Francisco Martinez is a Lieutenant Commander in the Chilean Navy. He holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and is currently stationed at Chile’s Naval Polytechnic Academy. The views expressed are his and not necessarily those of the Chilean Academy or the Chilean Navy.


Berube, C. (2020, July 21). Stand Up A Joint Interagency Task Force to Fight Illegal Fishing. Center for International Maritime Security.

Chapter Eight: Latin America and the Caribbean. (2020). The Military Balance, 120(1), 388–443.

Crowley, E. (2018). La pesca ilegal en Chile, un problema más allá de nuestras fronteras. Aqua.

Defensa, M. de. (2017). Libro de la Defensa Nacional de Chile 2017—Ministerio de Defensa Nacional (MDN).

Gutierrez, M., Daniels, A., Jobbins, G., Gutierrez, G., & Montenegro, C. (2020). China’s distant-water fishing fleet: Scale, impact and governance. ODI.

Roberts, P. (2020, August 25). Maritime domain awareness: Multidimensional problem or opportunity?

Featured Image: PACIFIC OCEAN (July 1, 2011) The Chilean Navy frigate Almirante Lynch (FF 07) participates in a live-fire exercise with ships from Chile, Colombia, Peru and the U.S. navies during the Pacific phase of UNITAS 52. UNITAS is a multinational exercise as part of Southern Seas 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stuart Phillips/Released) 110701-N-NL541-062

China’s Aircraft Carriers and Southeast Asia: Testing Coercive Naval Diplomacy?

Regional Strategies Topic Week

By Shang-su Wu 


Since the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned its second aircraft carrier, the possibility of utilizing these capital ships for coercive diplomacy is becoming more real. In China’s surrounding areas, Southeast Asia would be most suitable for “carrier diplomacy” regarding the proximity, the relatively weak defenses of the regional countries, and the major territorial disputes in the South China Sea. However, Southeast Asian countries, with their military modernizations and geopolitical circumstances, would not be merely hopeless either.

Chinese Carrier Group Capabilities

The main challenges coming from China’s aircraft carrier fleet come in the form of airpower and multi-domain survivability. The former refers to the shipboard J-15 fighters, but the number would be slightly lower than the maximal capacity of 24 and 32, respectively, for the Liaoning and Shandong, with several retained for self-defense.1 The matter of multi-domain survivability is derived from the major surface combatants escorting the aircraft carrier, particularly Type 055 cruisers, and how they could deny anti-ship threats, namely submarines, other surface ships, and anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs).2 As such, the kinetic countermeasures of Southeast Asian countries can be measured to an extent in whether their airpower or air defense capability can contest the J-15 fleet, and whether their sea denial capability can considerably threaten the carrier group itself.

Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong berthed at a naval port in Sanya in December 2019. (Photo via, photo by Feng Kaixuan)

The Philippines

Geostrategically, the four Southeast Asian claimants bordering the South China Sea along with Indonesia would be the most likely targets for naval coercion due to their conflicting interests with China. Among them, the Philippines with its relative lack of anti-ship missiles and robust air defenses would be an ideal target, if the United States does not effectively support its ally.3 Although Manila recapitalized some of its fighter fleet from 2015 with a dozen Korean FA-50s and will introduce another dozen in the future, they are quantitatively, and perhaps qualitatively, inferior to the Chinese shipboard J-15 fighters.4 Although its two newly delivered frigates are armed with Korean C-STAR ASCMs, the platforms could be large targets for PLAN anti-ship firepower, and their subsonic anti-ship missiles may not penetrate the layered defenses of the Chinese aircraft carrier group.5 The only game-changer would be the upcoming BrahMos supersonic ASCMs arriving from India because their superior speed may allow for the penetration of carrier group air defenses.6 The BrahMos missiles will nevertheless be constrained with their limited numbers and over-the-horizon targeting capabilities of the Philippines, and where their kill chain could be preemptively attacked by the PLAN with precision-guided munitions or sabotage.


Brunei has only four corvettes equipped with the French MM-40 ASCM, and without any fighters, would also be militarily suitable for coercion, but its geographic environment may not be suitable for naval coercion.7 Located between Malaysian territories, a Chinese naval deployment aimed at the kingdom will also draw close scrutiny from Malaysia and even Indonesia on the other side of Borneo. Based on their support for Southeast Asian regionalism and the rather neutral positions in the international community, it is unlikely for either Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta to welcome any coercion in their neighborhood. Unless Beijing is planning to take on or infuriate several countries simaultaneously, trying to coerce Brunei and other nearby Southeast Asian nations would be diplomatically unwise.


In the face of the Chinese aircraft carrier group, Malaysia is certainly inferior. Kuala Lumpur has purchased several modern fighters which would be equivalent to J-15s, but the MiG-29 squadrons are on their way to obsolescence and the serviceable numbers of other fighters are uncertain for the limited procurements of eight F-18Ds and 18 Su-30MKKs and the associated maintenance challenges.8 Malaysia also falls short in area air defense systems, as most surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) are portable for only point defense.9 Hence, the Chinese J-15s could likely achieve regional air superiority.

Kuala Lumpur has better potential in sea denial. The two French/Spanish Scorpene-class submarines are equipped with sub-launched French SM-39 Exocet ASCMs and Italian Black Shark torpedoes, and the F-18D and Su-30MKM aircraft are respectively armed with American AGM-84A Harpoons and Russian Kh-31A ASCMs, along with a range of surface vessels being platforms for MM-40 ASCMs.10 The submarine base bordering the South China Sea in Sabah would be convenient for deploying assets, and the combined platforms fielding ASCMs offer tactical potential for multi-axis salvo attacks which may overwhelm the PLAN’s layered defenses for its aircraft carrier.11 However, the uncertain serviceability and the challenge of joint operations between Malaysian naval vessels and air force fighters could inhibit options. A gambit between the Malaysian submarines and the Chinese aircraft carrier group is also unpredictable. The PLAN has improved its capability for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) for Type 052D destroyers and Type 055 cruisers which feature towed sonar arrays and new Z-18F ASW helicopters featuring larger capacity than the Z-9Cs helos.12 Due to the flotilla of only two submarines, there may be only one Malaysian submarine available, but the familiar operational environment and sub-launched ASCM offer advantages.


Despite not being a claimant in the South China Sea, the maritime disputes around the Natuna Islands make Indonesia a potential target for China to coercively deploy an aircraft carrier group.13 Jakarta’s airpower of 11 F-16A/Bs, 24 F-16C/Ds, five Su-27SK/SKMs, 11 SU-30MK/MK2 fighters, in addition to the likely deal of F-16Vs, would be more than the shipboard Chinese J-15s. But Indonesia’s logistical challenges, as reflected by frequent accidents, may undermine quantitative superiority.14

Indonesia’s sea denial is composed of five German and Korean Type-209 submarines armed with Black Shark torpedoes, and numerous surface platforms fielding various ASCMs, including MM-40s, Russian 3M55s, and Chinese C-705s and C-802s.15 Since a Chinese aircraft carrier group would likely not get too proximate to the archipelago in a tense situation (let alone pass through it) these Indonesian platforms may not be able conduct littoral ambushes using island cover. But they can operate in open seas. Jakarta may further face another challenge from a lack of military infrastructure nationwide, as Beijing may choose a location to pressure other than the Natuna Islands in the widely stretched archipelago, such as a future location near the new capital in East Kalimantan.16 However, Indonesia’s sizeable and expanding submarine fleet may constitute an independent and formidable underwater force for deterrence.17

SOUTH CHINA SEA (May 21, 2018) Indonesian Navy frigate KRI Raden Eddy Martadinata (FFG-331) prepares to receive fuel from the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO-204) during an underway replenishment in the South China Sea. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)


Vietnam is a mixed case for China to apply pressure via aircraft carrier. The adjacency allows the PLA and PLAN Air Forces to project airpower to almost the whole of Vietnam from various airbases in Guangxi, Hainan island, and even artificial islands in the South China Sea.18 As such, a Chinese aircraft carrier with its airpower could put additional pressure on Vietnam, but it may also be more exposed to the latter’s firepower.

Hanoi has procured a collection of Russian sea denial weapon systems, such as P-800 supersonic ASCMs onshore, six project-636 submarines with 3M-54 ASCMs, 53-65KEs, and TEST-71 torpedoes, P-15s and 3M24E ASCMs from several frigates and fast attack craft, in addition to airborne Kh-31A ASCMs launched by Su-30 MK2 aircraft.19 Those assets and munitions could put a Chinese aircraft carrier in a dilemma: too close to be exposed to attack and a significant risk of damaging or losing their national pride, or too far so that shipboard J-15s can hardly contribute much beyond land-based Chinese airpower. The risk of losing these icons of national pride may make Beijing cautious in aggressively deploying its aircraft carriers against Hanoi.


Beyond these five Southeast Asian countries, the rest represent distinct scenarios. Without ASCMs, fighters, or other considerable sea denial capabilities, Cambodia would be a militarily attractive target for naval coercion.20 The location in the Gulf of Thailand away from the South China Sea, nevertheless, suggests the low geopolitical value of Cambodia to sea lines of communication (SLOCs). At the two ends of the entrance to the Gulf of Thailand are Vietnam and Thailand, and sending an aircraft carrier group into the gulf would affect relations with these states more than with Cambodia. Finally, Phnom Penh’s friendship with Beijing, especially the former’s dependence on the latter’s investment, would make it the least likely nation in the region for the PLAN to coerce compared to the economic pressures available.


Thailand’s coastlines, either on the Gulf or the Indian Ocean, may not be suitable for the Chinese aircraft carrier group to operate in. As previously mentioned, the Gulf is rather irrelevant to China’s maritime interest in the SLOCs, and the force presence near the Thai coastline on the Indian Ocean is too remote to Bangkok. As for air defense, the two Swedish Saab-340 airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft would help fighter fleets of 11 JAS-39C/D and 53 F-16A/B fighters, together with some older but upgraded F-5E/F fighters, contest the Chinese J-15s.

Bangkok also maintains a range of platforms fielding ASCMs in the air and surface, such as Swedish RBS-15F from the JAS-39 fighters, RGM-84s and C-802s from different frigates and corvettes, in addition to its DTI-1G artillery rockets which could also conduct sea denial missions, particularly at the entrance of the Gulf.21 Furthermore, an imminent S-26T submarine from China with C-708 ASCMs and Yu-7 torpedoes would strengthen Thailand’s deterrence as well.22

Thailand’s diverse anti-ship firepower in the Gulf may lend itself to deterrence against PLAN carrier groups because of multi-directional threats that could be made real with rather short warning times. If Beijing chooses to deploy the aircraft carrier out of the Gulf, the coercive pressure placed on Bangkok would be lower due to distance and shift toward other nations.


Surrounded by Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore would also be geopolitically unsuitable for targeted naval coercion, and the disruption of the Singapore Strait will create consequences going far beyond the region. Militarily, the city-state’s fighter fleets of 60 F-16C/Ds and 40 F-15SGs backed by four G-550 AEW aircraft are stronger than the J-15s from either the Liaoning, Shandong, or even both combined. Singapore has also invested in sea denial capabilities, comprised of four ex-Swedish submarines, two Sjoormen and two Västergötland with air-independent propulsion, the RGM-84 and AGM-84 from surface vessels, and Fokker-50 maritime patrol aircraft, AGM-158s from fighters, plus HIMARS guided rockets onshore.23 The four submarines will soon be replaced with four, more modern Type-218s from Germany.24 Although PLAN major surface combatants could intercept subsonic Harpoon missiles, the Singaporean fighters supported by four A-330 aerial refueling aircraft could pose a formidable threat to the J-15 squadrons and contest coercion or outright attack.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 24, 2012) The Republic of Singapore frigate RSS Formidable (68) is alongside the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) for a photo exercise during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eva-Marie Ramsaran/Released)


The long bilateral borders and the endless isurgency present a range of alternatives for China to sending an aircraft carrier group to coerce Myanmar, not to mention their economic ties. If Beijing still chooses the naval option, Naypyidaw is not completely inferior. Although Myanmar only has the sea denial capability of subsonic Chinese ASCMs on surface vessels which could likely not penetrate the PLAN’s layered defenses, its fleet of 32 MiG-29B/SM fighters along with 30+ inferior J-7s and some JF-17s, plus several Russian S-125, 2K12, and Chinese KS-1 surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, could make for a match with the J-15s.25 Geostrategically, a Chinese aircraft carrier group sailing into the Indian Ocean would also alarm India, and the Andaman and Nicobar tri-service command can facilitate Indian military deployments near Myanmar.26 The PLAN would not operate freely in the Andaman Sea.


In terms of military and geostrategy alone, Beijing already faces some constraints and countervailing forces on applying coercive aircraft carrier diplomacy to Southeast Asia. The most appropriate target would be the Philippines, followed by Malaysia and Indonesia, due to their territorial disputes with China and their relatively inferior military capabilities, but they still have some means to deter a PLAN aircraft carrier group. These aircraft carriers do indeed contribute to Beijing’s image of a rising military superpower, but their operational applications may not be as overwhelming as the propaganda describes.

It must be noted that all Southeast Asian countries carefully handle their relations with China and strenuously work to prevent any occasion for the latter to pursue military options. However, if the strong choose to do as they please, the weak will not merely suffer what they must.

Shang-su Wu is a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.


1. Sebastien Roblin, “Here’s Everything We Know About China’s Domestically Built Shandong Aircraft Carrier,” the National Interest, 27 FEBRUARY 2020,

2. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Military Balance 2020 (London: IISS, 2020), 262.

3. IISS, Military Balance 2020, 305.

4. Francis Wakefield, “PH to acquire 12 more FA-50 light fighter jets,” Manila Bulletin, 9 JUNE 2018,

5. Martin Manaranche, “Future Philippine Navy Frigate BRP ‘Jose Rizal’ Sails Home for Commissioning,” Naval News, 18 MAY 2020,

6. Masao Dahlgren, “Philippines to Order BrahMos Missile,” Missile Threat, 20 DECEMBER 2019,

7. IISS, Military Balance 2020, 256-257.

8. IISS, 293; “Malaysia air force says low maintenance rate of fighter jets partly due to lack of operating funds,” the Strait Times, 3 AUGUST 2018,

9. IISS, 292-293

10. IISS, 293.

11. IISS, 293; “Malaysia Submarine Capabilities,” Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), 16 OCTOBER 2019,

12. IISS, 236; “Z-18 Medium transport helicopter,” Military Today,

13. Fransiska Nangoy, Wilda Asmarini, Stanley Widianto, and Gabriel Crossley, “Indonesia’s president visits island in waters disputed by China,” Reuters, 8 JANUARY 2020,

14. Yulius Yoma, “C-130 crashes in Indonesia, 6th similar accident in 2016,” Aerotime, 20 DECEMBER 2016,; IISS, 278; “F-16 Indonesia,” Lockheed Martin, 2020,; Heru Andriyanto and Yeremia Sukoyo, “Indonesia’s Defense Modernization Gains Momentum After Two Air Crashes in Nine Days,” Jakarta Globe, 15 JUNE 2020,

15. IISS, 277; “Indonesia Submarine Capabilities,” NTI, 17 OCTOBER 2019,

16. Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, “’Indonesia’s new capital city will be very special,’ Tony Blair says,” the Jakarta Post, 29 FEBRUARY 2020,; Evan Laksmana, “The military and strategic implications of Indonesia’s new capital,” the Strategist, 6 NOVEMBER 2019,; Beritasatu, “Indonesia Set to Have Four New Military Bases,” Jakarta Globe, 5 OCTOBER 2019,

17. “Indonesia Submarine Capabilities,” NTI.

18. Ben Werner, “New Air Bases, Baby Cabbage Key to Chinese Long-Term Claims in South China Sea,” USNI News, 3 JUNE 2020,

19. IISS, 319-320.

20. IISS, 258.

21. IISS, 315-316.

22. SIPRI.

23. IISS, 307-308.

24. Lim Min Zhang, “Invincible, first of Singapore’s biggest and most advanced submarines, launches in Germany,” the Straits Times, 18 FEBRUERY 2019,

25. IISS, 296-297.

26. Rahul Singh, “Andaman defence commander gets power over all three services,” Hindustan Times, 12 MAY 2018,

Featured Image: Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong berthed at a naval port in Sanya in December 2019. (Photo via, photo by Feng Kaixuan)

Regional Strategies Week Kicks Off on CIMSEC

By Dmitry Filipoff

CIMSEC received a tremendous response to our Project Trident’s call for articles on regional strategies, launched in partnership with the Yokosuka Council on Asia Pacific Studies, the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University, and the Dominican Command and Naval Staff School. Authors from many parts of the world responded with insights and perspectives on nations and navies facing myriad challenges. Across these many countries it becomes apparent how maritime security features many common themes while retaining unique geographic context.

Maritime security is a vital requirement for all nations’ prosperity. But the vastness of the maritime domain and the plentiful resources and platforms that reside within it always pose a challenge to maritime forces. Small and medium-sized navies have developed networks of cooperation to share the burden, and have employed innovative methods of securing their maritime locales. Whether they find themselves facing non-state threats, new oceanic infrastructure, or caught within competition between greater powers, innovation is at a premium for regional powers. 

CIMSEC will be extending the topic week into a second week to showcase the high volume of quality submissions received. Below is the lineup of articles featuring during the topic week, and which will be updated as additional publications are finalized.

China’s Aircraft Carriers and Southeast Asia: Testing Coercive Naval Diplomacy?” by Shang-su Wu
Illegal Fishing in the South Pacific: What Can the Chilean Navy Do?” by Francisco Martinez
Boats, Budget, and Boots: The Colombian Navy’s Challenges in International Cooperation” by Rafael Uribe Neira
The Sino-Japanese Maritime Disputes in the East China Sea” by Yoichiro Sato
The Israeli Navy in a Changing Security Environment” by Ehud (Udi) Eiran
A South Pacific Island-Led Approach to Regional Maritime Security” by Michael van Ginkel
Sweden and the Blue Society: New Challenges for a Small Navy” by Lars Wedin
Turkey’s ‘Mavi Vatan’ Strategy and Rising Insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean” by Capt. Andrew Norris, J.D., USCG (ret.) and Alexander Norris
Between the Giants: The Future of the Taiwanese Navy in an Era of Great Power Competition” by Jonathan Selling
Vietnam’s Struggles in the South China Sea: Challenges and Opportunities” by Viet Hung Nguyen Cao
Southeast Asia: A New Strategic Nexus for Japan’s Maritime Strategy” by John Bradford
Unraveling China with Soft Balancing: Malaysia, ASEAN, and the South China Sea” by Afdal Izal
Italy Resurgent: Defending National Interests in the Mediterranean” by Capt. (N) Renato Scarfi (ret.)
The Pathway Toward Containment: Fleet Actions for the United States and ASEAN Plus 5” by Captain Gregory W. Snyder, USMC
Between Scylla and Charybdis: ASEAN and the U.S.-China Contest for the South China Sea” by Mark Valencia

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

Featured Image: SOUTH CHINA SEA (June 17, 2020) – The Republic of Singapore Navy Formidable-class frigate RSS Supreme (73) flies the “Romeo” flag, internationally recognized as a signal for preparing to replenish at sea, while approaching the U.S. Navy Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7) as the ships prepare to conduct a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Ordinary Seaman DJ Hinahon)

Sea Control 199 – The Eastern Mediterranean Question with Dr. Ioannis N. Grigoriadis and Dr. Jan Asmussen

By Jared Samuelson

Start your Project Trident Regional Strategies Week off with a barnburner! Dr. Ioannis N. Grigoriadis and Dr. Jan Asmussen join the program to discuss Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, Israel, Libya, Egypt, Italy, France, the EU, NATO, colliding frigates, forward-deployed fighters, natural gas … can I stop now? No? It’s a lot, and our guests will help you make sense of the tensions in the Eastern Med.

Download Sea Control 199 – The Eastern Mediterranean Question with Dr. Ioannis Grigoriadis and Dr. Jan Asmussen


1. “What a judicial solution to disputes in the eastern Mediterranean might look like,” by Moritz Neubert and Umut Yüksel, The London School of Economics and Political Science, June 2nd, 2020.
2. “NATO Secretary General discusses eastern Mediterranean, Libya with Foreign Minister of Turkey,” Aug 19, 2020.
3. “How Did the Eastern Mediterranean Become the Eye of a Geopolitical Storm?” By Michaël Tanchum, Foreign Policy, August 18th, 2020.
4. “Pulling Back the Curtain on Turkey’s Natural Gas Strategy,” by John V. Bowlus, War on the Rocks, August 26, 2020.
5. The Annan Plan.

Jared Samuelson is the Senior Producer of the Sea Control Podcast. Contact him at