All posts by Jimmy Drennan

Vote Now: CFAR 2021 Finalist Voting Now Open

By Jimmy Drennan

We need your help deciding which authors and topics will be featured at this year’s CIMSEC Forum for Authors and ReadersCFAR 2021!

Your nominations have yielded an outstanding slate of authors and articles for consideration. In this final round of voting, the authors of the top vote-getting articles will be invited to speak at our fall event on the article topic. Consider the topics and articles you would like updates on, or what author you’d like to pose questions to. Voting will close at the end of September 9. 

All CIMSEC members are eligible to vote for four nominated authors at the bottom of this page. If you’re not a CIMSEC member yet, it’s free and easy to sign up here

As always, thank you to CNA and our contributors for their generous support and for helping us bring you this event. And special congratulations to the author nominees, who are listed below in no particular order.

Evolution of the Fleet: A Closer Look at the Chinese Fishing Vessels off the Galapagos,” by Dr. Tabitha Mallory and Dr. Ian Ralby
Don’t Overlook the Medical Fleet in Distributed Maritime Operations,” by Misty Wilkins
Crippled Capacity: How Weak Maritime Enforcement Emboldened Ansar Al-Sunna,” by Kelly Moss
Lifting the Veil on the Lightly Manned Surface Combatant,” by Ben DiDonato
Intel Owns Red: How Red Teaming Can Prepare the Fleet for the Fight Ahead,” by Lieutenant Commander Christopher Blake and Lieutenant Grace Jones
No Ordinary Boats: Cracking the Code on China’s Spratly Maritime Militias,” by Ryan Martinson
The Navy Should Stop Talking About the Future and Start Building It,” by Frank Goertner
Winning the War on Distraction: Military Leaders Need Quiet Minds in the Digital Age,” by Bill Bray
Leviathan Wakes: China’s Growing Fleet of Autonomous Undersea Vehicles,” by Ryan Fedasiuk
The U.S. Needs an Official Sixth Fleet History, and the Europeans Do Too,” by Sebastian Bruns
The Glutted Mariner Shortfall,” by LCDR Adena Grundy

Vote Now

Jimmy Drennan is the President of CIMSEC. Contact him at

Announcing the 2021 CIMSEC Forum for Authors and Readers: Nominations Now Open

By Jimmy Drennan

In Fall 2021 CIMSEC will host the seventh annual CIMSEC Forum for Authors and Readers (CFAR), an event where our readers and the public get to select the top CIMSEC authors of the preceding year, and engage with them on their work and topics of interest. The evening will provide a chance to engage your favorite CIMSEC contributors, hear their thoughts on how their pieces have held up, and explore their predictions.

Thanks to the generous partnership of the Center for Naval Analyses we are pleased to offer a professional conference on a range of maritime security issues. We will also hold CFAR virtually via Zoom, so you can join in the discussion no matter where in the world you are!

Event Details

August 25–September 1: Nominations open
September 6-9: Voting on finalists
September 15: Winners and speakers lineup announced

How will the speakers be chosen? All CIMSEC readers are welcome to submit nominations for articles with the only criteria that the article nominated must have published on CIMSEC on or after June 8th, 2020. After nominations close, CIMSEC members will vote on the selected pieces and the finalists will receive invites to speak at CFAR. Not yet a member? Consider joining CIMSEC for free!

Submit your nominations using the form below.

We hope you can join us for an exciting event where authors chosen by CIMSEC readers will present on their writing and research. See you in the fall!

Jimmy Drennan is the President of CIMSEC. Contact him at

Project Trident Call for Articles: Emerging Technology

Submissions Due: July 26, 2021
Topic Week Dates: August 16-20, 2021
Article Length: 1,000-3,000 words
Submit to:

By Jimmy Drennan

CIMSEC is proud to partner with Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School’s Naval Warfare Studies Institute on the final topic of Project Trident: Emerging Technologies. Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company responsible for many Defense Department programs of record. The Naval Warfare Studies Institute (NWSI) coordinates NPS inter-disciplinary research and education to accelerate and enhance the development of capabilities and warfighting concepts.

The modern world is shaped by few forces as powerful as rapid technological change. As the world becomes ever more advanced, technological change cuts across and interconnects areas as diverse as healthcare, public infrastructure, and security policy. With respect to national security, new technology is presenting opportunities for novel warfighting capabilities, ever more powerful iterations of familiar weapons systems, and unexpected avenues for threats. The maritime community must attentively explore how new and emerging technologies will impact maritime security and naval capabilities.

Computing power, connectivity, data analytics, and machine learning are poised to undergo exponential growth in ways once consigned to the realms of science fiction. What implications do specific technologies like augmented reality, artificial intelligence, or 5G have for maritime security and navies? Which emerging technologies have potential for significant security impacts yet remain underrated? How can a government, a navy, or a shipping company keep pace with global information flows that update in near-real time? How do maritime actors stay abreast of these changes while leveraging them for competitive advantage and avoiding the risks of over-reliance? The spectrum of civil and military emerging technologies have salient overlaps that will present complex challenges to maritime security.

Authors are encouraged to address these questions and more as we contemplate the promise and pitfalls of emerging technologies on maritime security. Send all submissions to

Jimmy Drennan is the President of CIMSEC. Contact him at

Featured Image: A Sailor assigned to USS Mustin stands watch in ship’s combat information center during Exercise Valiant Shield 2014. (U.S. Navy/Declan Barnes)

Project Trident Call for Articles: Maritime Infrastructure and Trade

Submissions Due: April 19, 2021
Week Dates: May 3-7, 2021
Article Length: 1000-3000 words
Submit to:

By Jimmy Drennan

CIMSEC is partnering with Maersk Line, Limited to launch the Project Trident call for articles on maritime infrastructure and trade! Maersk Line, Limited provides end-to-end transportation solutions to support the unique requirements of the U.S. government. As the largest owner and operator of U.S. flag vessels trading internationally and the largest participant in the VISA/MSP programs, these network ensures reliable and regular connection to all corners of the globe.

Security and prosperity go hand-in-hand, and as the complexity of the global economy grows, so too does its dependence on the maritime domain. The increasing connectedness of national and regional economies, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, have highlighted the importance of infrastructure and trade in maritime security.

Last year, shipping carriers rejected U.S. agricultural exports worth hundreds of millions of dollars in favor of returning empty containers to China, which faces a container shortage due to a surge in consumer goods. Government stimulus packages and shifting consumer trends resulting from the pandemic have put a strain on global container capacity, and China is making it more profitable for shippers to bring back empty containers than American agricultural exports. Meanwhile, containers full of American goods stack up in slammed ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach. The growing intricacies of the global supply chain demonstrate the need for a coordinated maritime strategy.

Port capacity and accessibility is rapidly changing as the developing world increasingly becomes more urbanized and developed, thereby increasing their demand of the global maritime commons. The volume of commercial maritime traffic is ever increasing, and the ability of ports to keep pace is in flux. Ports have significant geopolitical value as well, especially as China is securing long-term leases on port infrastructure beyond its borders.

The global shipbuilding industrial base remains heavily concentrated in China, Japan, and South Korea, which account for around 90 percent of all ships launched in recent years. In 2018, the world’s global merchant fleet totaled 50,000 vessels with a combined value of $851 billion, and a total deadweight tonnage of 1 billion. The shipbuilding industrial base in the United States is dominated primarily by military shipbuilding contracts while large-scale commercial shipbuilding capacity has largely gone overseas. The shipbuilding industrial base of China, both commercial and military capacity combined, is overshadowing that of the United States, raising questions about their respective abilities to mobilize industry in a time of conflict.

Often overlooked is the critical, but often opaque world of shipping finance and insurance. For example, China is rapidly becoming the preferred option for ship financing as western banks exit the market space. U.S. Military Sealift Command contracts with foreign tanker companies to charter ships for some overseas operations. These ships are sometimes leased to tanker companies from Chinese banks, with little to no awareness by the U.S. government.

Data is the new lifeblood of global commerce and the shipping industry is in the midst of a digital revolution. The industry is looking to seize opportunities posed by emerging technologies and networks, but must be considerate of the associated cybersecurity concerns and the risks of failing to keep pace with change.

CIMSEC wants your ideas on how infrastructure and trade will impact the future of international maritime security. What could be the maritime security impacts of Sino-American economic interdependence, changing infrastructure capacity, rapid port development, decarbonization, digital revolution, and other trends and facets of global maritime infrastructure?

Authors are invited to answer these questions and more as we consider the future of maritime infrastructure and trade. Send all submissions to

Jimmy Drennan is the President of CIMSEC. Contact him at

Featured Image: A container terminal (bellergy via Pixabay)