All posts by Grant Greenwell

Events Week of 12-18 November 2013

Events Week of 12 – 18 November 2013

 A roundup of events we think our readers may find interesting. Inclusion does not equal calendarendorsement, all descriptions are the events’ own. Think of one we should include? Email Grant at operations@cimsec.org.

12 November 2013 – Washington, DC – The Atlantic Council“NATO’s Deterrence and Collective Defense”

13 November 2013 – Washington, DC – 10th Annual Disruptive Thinkers Technologies Conference

14 November 2013 – India – The Diplomat“International Conference on Future Challenges in Earth Sciences for Energy and Mineral Resources”.

14 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Foundation for Innovation and Discovery “Implementing Innovation”.

14 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Brookings Institute“Israel’s Economy and Security in a Changing Middle East”.

14 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Carnegie“China’s Views on Prompt Global Strike”

14 November 2013 – Washington, DC – SAIS-JHU“History, Sovereignty, and International Law: China’s East China Sea and South China Sea Territorial Disputes and Implications for Taiwan”

15 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Atlantic Council“Cyber Conflict and War: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”

16 November 2013 – India – The Diplomat“Global Maritime International Conference”.

18 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Hudson Institute“Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding”.

Longer-Term

20 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Brookings Institute CIMSEC’s DC Chapter Monthly Informal Meet-up at Bluejacket Brewery

20 November 2013 – Brisbane, Australia – Royal United Services Institute of Australia“Veils, Boots, and Bullets – Australian Military Nurses”

21 November 2013 – Sydney, Australia – Lowy Institute for International Policy“The Future of American Policy in the Asia Pacific Region

21 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Hudson Institute“Taiwan and the US: Shared Strategic Interests”

25 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Cato Institute“Rethinking U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy”.

25 November 2013 – London – King’s College“Russia and the Caspian Sea: Projecting Power or Competing for Influence?”

26 November 2013 – Canberra, Australia – Kokoda Foundation“Researching Australia’s Future Security Challenges”

03 December 2013 – Washington, DC – CSIS“World Energy Outlook”

10 December 2013 – Washington, DC – USNI2013 Defense Forum Washington: Shaping the New Maritime Strategy and Navigating the Budget Gap Reality.

17-18 December 2013 – Washington, DC – Center for Strategic and International StudiesPONI Series: The PONI Conference Series, now in its tenth year, offers an opportunity for rising experts in the field to present findings from their research in order to advance the broader discussion on nuclear weapons issues. It also seeks to provide a venue for interaction among people from different sectors and for mid-career and senior members of the community to mentor their junior counterparts.

14-16 January 2014 – Washington, DC – Maritime Administration“National Maritime Strategy Symposium: Cargo Opportunities and Sealift Capacity”.

SSBN(X): Sacred Cow for a Reason

This article is part of our “Sacred Cows Week.”

By Grant Greenwell

SSBNXIn May 2009, President Obama disclosed the inventory of America’s strategic nuclear arsenal: 5,113 weapons. This was done in an attempt to 1) bring attention to smaller states with developing nuclear agendas and 2) pressure Russia to disclose its own nuclear numbers.  While the first objective is not quantifiable, and the second is partially complete (such as Russia cooperating with a recent Bulletin of Atomic Scientists study documenting worldwide nuclear arsenals), the startling revelation by President Obama brought to light one widely-known fact: the U.S. possesses a massive nuclear arsenal deployed in missile silos, bombers, and submarines around the world.

In the fiscally constrained environment the U.S. currently resides, many institutions are questioning the efficiency of not only the quantity of nuclear weapons, but also the delivery methods of such an arsenal. A recent Cato Institute white paper argued that the U.S. nuclear arsenal if deployed only in nuclear strategic ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) would save the US $20b annually. The argument is predicated on a rivalry between the services in the early days of the Cold War to develop dominance in the field of nuclear weapon delivery (not unlike the Ballistic Missile Defense competition). Each service developed its own delivery method that was robust, survivable, and flexible to deliver a second-strike capability.  Of the three delivery methods of the Nuclear Triad, the SSBN is the most advantageous when it comes to survivability and mobility.

While some parties contend that disassembling the triad into a dyad or even monad eliminates the amplitude of U.S. deterrent strategy, all agree that the SSBN is the cornerstone of that strategy. That being said, the U.S. SSBN fleet is tired, with the first of 14 due to be decommissioned in 2027. A replacement fleet needs to be designed, approved, constructed, and tested in the next 14 years if the strategic deterrence ability of the SSBN fleet is to be continued.

Mr. Maxwell Cooper’s recent Proceedings article “The Future of Deterrence?  Ballistic Missile Defense” correctly cites that the current SSBN replacement (SSBN(X)) estimates are staggering when compared with the rest of the Navy’s shipbuilding budget – roughly $5b per SSBN(X) while the entire budget is roughly $21b/year over the next 30 years. Mr. Cooper further speculates (perhaps correctly) that the cost alone calls for the truncation – if not complete elimination – of the SSBN(X) in favor of vast increases in the BMD realm built around the existing Arleigh Burke platform.  He could not make a more dangerous assertion.

SSBN(X) remains a vital portion of our national maritime strategy as well as our nuclear deterrence strategy. If the SSBN force were to retire without replacement, the U.S. nuclear arsenal would be down nearly 1600 warheads that cannot be easily translated to the other portions of the triad. Additionally, the leg of the triad that is most survivable and mobile would be arrested, forcing our strategic resources to rely solely on fixed sites and aging bombers. Neither of these prospects are ideal, nor appealing. The argument is akin to whether US naval forces should rely on hard-kill (kinetic munitions) or soft-kill (electronic warfare (i.e., chaff decoys, jamming)) for defense. The answer is both, as should be the nuclear deterrent forces.

The U.S. Navy has signaled it agrees with this argument in the form of its FY14 budget.  In an effort to keep forward movement for the Ohio Replacement Program (ORP – formally SSBN(X)), the Navy requested $1.1b for additional research and development with the end goal of procuring a replacement fleet of 12 SSBNs. The Navy has also reasserted its commitment to the SSBN force in a surprising tactic: compromise. As Mr. Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists pointed out, the U.S. SSBN force is doing more with less. While the number of boats has remained the same for years, the deployment numbers are less, yet the nuclear deterrence mission has remained unchanged. In a nod to this trend, the Navy – with guidance from STRATCOM – has agreed to a decrease of the current 24-tube count to a 16-tube count for the future SSBN.

In addition to U.S. commitment to the next-generation SSBN force, their closest ally Britain has also started procuring its next ballistic boat, aptly named Successor that will carry its deterrent capability well into the 2040s.

The need to continues the SSBN fleet is evident and has been appropriately addressed by institutes, politicians, the U.S. Navy, and allies alike. The replacement plan has been programmed for and is projected to be completed in time to start the on-time retirement of the venerable Ohio class. It continues to remain the strongest platform in the US strategic deterrence strategy and as such is privileged to remain a “sacred cow.”

Grant Greenwell is the Director of Operations for CIMSEC since May of 2013. He is also a Surface Warfare Officer for the U.S. Navy and an active participant in American Mensa, the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, and the Surface Navy Association. His opinions do not represent the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, nor his aforementioned affiliates.

Featured Image: POULSBO, Wash. (Jan. 14, 2015) The ballistic-missile submarine USS Nevada (SSBN 733) transits the Puget Sound on its way to its homeport, Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ahron Arendes)

Events 07-13NOV13

Events Week of 07 – 13 November 2013

 A roundup of events we think our readers may find interesting. Inclusion does not equal calendarendorsement, all descriptions are the events’ own. Think of one we should include? Email Grant at operations@cimsec.org.

07 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Hudson Center for American Sea Power – “Sea Power: Is the Sun Setting in the West or Rising in East?”.  The Royal Navy today is a shrinking shadow of its former self.  Nineteen surface ships currently exist in the entire Royal Navy where more than three times that number made up the surface fleet during the Falklands War of 1982.  The U.S. fleet has also experienced large decreases, although not on the same scale.  Where the U.S. Navy had almost 600 ships in the mid-1980s, it is down to 284 today with the likelihood of additional large reductions in the future even if sequestration is lifted.  Admiral Christopher Parry, Royal Navy, (ret.) will look at what reductions in naval power on both sides of the Atlantic mean for the U.S. and the U.K., as well as for NATO and the West generally.  He will examine what the simultaneous rise in Asian naval strength means for Western naval strategy, and more important, the West’s role as defender of the international order.

07 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies“Putting the Asia-Pacific Pivot in Perspective”.

11 November 2013 – London – King’s College“New Nuclear Initiatives in Arms Control and Nonproliferation – Likelihood of Success?”.  President Obama’s renewed commitment to ‘a world without nuclear weapons’ along with ongoing challenges over Iran, North Korea, and within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, have given rise to numerous new initiatives in arms control and nonproliferation. A panel will discuss four such initiatives, including the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons initiative, the ‘P5 process’ with the five NPT-recognized Nuclear Weapon States, US-Russia arms control, and developments in Chinese nuclear policy.

12 November 2013 – Washington, DC – The Atlantic Council“NATO’s Deterrence and Collective Defense”.  This event is part of the Atlantic Council and IFS project on NATO in an Era of Global Competition. This eighteen-month project examines new ways of thinking strategically about NATO’s future role in the context of emerging security challenges, global power shifts, and disruptive technologies. The first conference in this series, NATO in a New Security Landscape, which took place in June, covered emerging trends in the global security environment and identified key challenges that NATO must confront to maintain strategic relevance in the future.

13 November 2013 – Washington, DC – 10th Annual Disruptive Thinkers Technologies Conference

Longer-Term

14 November 2013 – India – The Diplomat“International Conference on Future Challenges in Earth Sciences for Energy and Mineral Resources”.

14 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Foundation for Innovation and Discovery “Implementing Innovation”.

14 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Brookings Institute“Israel’s Economy and Security in a Changing Middle East”.

14 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Carnegie“China’s Views on Prompt Global Strike”.

16 November 2013 – India – The Diplomat“Global Maritime International Conference”.

18 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Hudson Institute“Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding”.

20 November 2013 – Washington DC – CIMSEC’s DC Chapter Monthly Informal Meet-up

25 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Cato Institute“Rethinking U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy”.

25 November 2013 – London – King’s College“Russia and the Caspian Sea: Projecting Power or Competing for Influence?”

10 December 2013 – Washington, DC – USNI2013 Defense Forum Washington: Shaping the New Maritime Strategy and Navigating the Budget Gap Reality.

17-18 December 2013 – Washington, DC – Center for Strategic and International StudiesPONI Series: The PONI Conference Series, now in its tenth year, offers an opportunity for rising experts in the field to present findings from their research in order to advance the broader discussion on nuclear weapons issues. It also seeks to provide a venue for interaction among people from different sectors and for mid-career and senior members of the community to mentor their junior counterparts.

14-16 January 2014 – Washington, DC – Maritime Administration“National Maritime Strategy Symposium: Cargo Opportunities and Sealift Capacity”.

Events: Week of 28 October

Events Week of 28 October – 02 November 2013

29 October 2013 – Washington, DC – Disruptive Thinkers.  Execution is the new innovation.  All of our innovative ideas won’t amount to much if we can’t find a way to implement them.  And this month we get a chance to hear from Rob Holzer, someone who knows how to do just that.

29 October 2013 – Washington, DC – Heritage Foundation“Examining US – Burma Military-to-Military Relations”.  The Obama Administration has frequently expressed interest in closer military-to-military relations with Burma – despite the Burmese army’s horrendous record of human rights abuses and close relationship with rogue regime North Korea. The Administration appears reluctant, however, to share its plans publicly. Join as we try to understand the state of American military engagement with Burma and the implications for broader foreign policy objectives.

29 October 2013 – Washington, DC – Atlantic Council“Regional Cooperation: An Imperative for Transatlantic Defense”.  Please join the Atlantic Council for an address by, and discussion with, Finnish Minister of Defense Carl Haglund, who will detail the importance of regional cooperation for transatlantic security.

Building on the successes of Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO), Minister Haglund will make a case for NATO member and partner countries to follow a similar framework to sustain present-day interoperability levels and enhance military capabilities. NORDEFCO’s five members states—Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden—use regional networking to increase their interoperability via cross-border cooperation, build-up and maintain necessary military capabilities, and provide cost-effective contributions to international efforts.

29 October 2013 – Washington, DC – AEI – “American Strategy in the Asia-Pacific: Rep. Randy Forbes on the Need for a Congressional Rebalance”.  Despite White House assurances to the contrary, the rhetoric of the Asia pivot is increasingly overshadowed by grim budgetary realities in Washington. Looming sequestration cuts over the next decade have already forced the Obama administration to scale back its economic, diplomatic, and military investments in the Asia-Pacific, exacerbating fears of disrupted trade and rising tensions in the region.

Representative Randy Forbes (R-VA) is spearheading a bipartisan House Armed Services Committee effort to educate congressional members and the public about the important shifting security dynamics in the region and to identify resource and readiness shortfalls. Join us at AEI to hear Rep. Forbes elaborate on the congressional responsibility to define a US role in Asia that convinces US allies that the pivot is more than empty sloganeering.

30 October 2013 – Washington, DC – CIMSECMonthly Gathering.  CIMSEC’s DC chapter will be heading to Maddy’s Bar and Grille, near the Dupont Circle Metro stop, for our informal October meet-up next Wednesday the 30th.  We hope you’ll join us to meet some interesting people and discuss all things maritime.

30 October 2013 – London – King’s College“Geographic Information Systems and the Geographies of War”.

30 October 2013 – Washington, DC – Foreign Policy Association“Georgetown Conference: Iran and the South Caucasus”.

31 October 2013 – London – King’s College“Terror Attacks on Energy Infrastructure – A Growing Threat?”.  The European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) cordially invites you to the fifth and final roundtable discussion in a series on Resilient Energy Infrastructure co-hosted by acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, Germany and the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in London, in partnership with KPMG.

31 October 2013 – Carlisle, PA – CNA“Asia’s Looming Hotspot”.  Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt, U.S. Navy (Ret.) will discuss the increasingly contentious dispute between China and Japan concerning sovereignty over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea and the implications this dispute has for U.S. foreign policy. This talk is one of a series on “Hidden Dangers: Emerging Global Issues of the 21st Century” sponsored with the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. – See more at: http://www.cna.org/news/events/2013-10-31#sthash.cBXbR5bq.dpuf

01 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Atlantic Council“Tackling India’s Cyber Threat”.  India is becoming the second-largest victim of cyberattacks after the United States and earlier this year released its first national Cyber Security Policy. The purpose of this framework document is to ensure a secure and resilient cyberspace for citizens, businesses, and the government.

In particular, the policy aims to strengthen the role of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in coordination with crisis management efforts and awareness-raising activities on cybersecurity. Alongside protecting the country’s cyber infrastructure, the policy strengthens the significant role IT has played in transforming India’s image to that of a global player in providing IT solutions of the highest standards.

Long-Term

11 November 2013 – London – King’s College“New Nuclear Initiatives in Arms Control and Nonproliferation – Likelihood of Success?”.  President Obama’s renewed commitment to ‘a world without nuclear weapons’ along with ongoing challenges over Iran, North Korea, and within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, have given rise to numerous new initiatives in arms control and nonproliferation. A panel will discuss four such initiatives, including the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons initiative, the ‘P5 process’ with the five NPT-recognized Nuclear Weapon States, US-Russia arms control, and developments in Chinese nuclear policy.

12 November 2013 – Washington, DC – The Atlantic Council“NATO’s Deterrence and Collective Defense”.  This event is part of the Atlantic Council and IFS project on NATO in an Era of Global Competition. This eighteen-month project examines new ways of thinking strategically about NATO’s future role in the context of emerging security challenges, global power shifts, and disruptive technologies. The first conference in this series, NATO in a New Security Landscape, which took place in June, covered emerging trends in the global security environment and identified key challenges that NATO must confront to maintain strategic relevance in the future.

13 November 2013 – Washington, DC – 10th Annual Disruptive Thinkers Technologies Conference

14 November 2013 – India – The Diplomat“International Conference on Future Challenges in Earth Sciences for Energy and Mineral Resources”.

14 November 2013 – Washington, DC – Foundation for Innovation and Discovery “Implementing Innovation”.  This is the inaugural event for the Foundation for Innovation and Discovery (FINND), a non-profit whose center of gravity is the connection between mission users in the USG and innovators, technologists, industry providers and academics who follow those communities.

The event will showcase a FINND Talk and Mission Forum (see invite). It will also describe the Discovery Summits that the FINND will hold for the USG in 2014 and explain how the IT backbone of the FINND will serve as a resource for the USG and the FINND’s members.

Registration is required and space is limited, so please sign up per the invite (and feel free to forward this invitation to those you believe may have an interest). 

16 November 2013 – India – The Diplomat“Global Maritime International Conference”.

10 December 2013 – Washington, DC – USNI2013 Defense Forum Washington: Shaping the New Maritime Strategy and Navigating the Budget Gap Reality.

17-18 December 2013 – Washington, DC – Center for Strategic and International Studies – PONI Series: The PONI Conference Series, now in its tenth year, offers an opportunity for rising experts in the field to present findings from their research in order to advance the broader discussion on nuclear weapons issues. It also seeks to provide a venue for interaction among people from different sectors and for mid-career and senior members of the community to mentor their junior counterparts.