All posts by Nam Nguyen

Nam is a Maritime Warfare Officer in the Royal Australian Navy. He holds a Bachelor of Business and is currently completing a Master of Philosophy at the University of New South Wales.

Members’ Roundup Part 19

Welcome back to another edition of the member roundup. We have a variety of topics covered by CIMSECians across the globe this week, ranging from the US Rebalance to the future of US air combat superiority.

On the US Naval Institute’s blog, Roger Misso writes a response to Anna Grenville’s blogpost at Task and Purpose. Titled ‘4 Reasons I Am Resigning My Commission As A Naval Officer,’ she provides some insight as to why her, and others, decide to leave the profession. Miss agrees on many points raised in the original article but offers a counter-narrative: junior officers can build the service we want. This, of course, is only facilitated if the junior officer corps reaches critical mass and carries their views through the ranks. You can access Roger’s post here.

Over at The National Interest, Dave Majumdar provides a roundup of the top five lethal American weapons of war. From the Gatling gun to stealth bombers, he analyses why these weapon systems make it onto the list. The second article questions whether the next generation of fighters will be capable of dominating the skies. The F-35 program has come under intense scrutiny over the years, ranging from project delays to criticisms over its air combat capability.

uss-indiana-revoloing-cannon-508

Dean of the Fletcher Law School, James Stavridis, returns in this week’s edition with two articles. The first titled ‘The Arab NATO’ appeared in Foreign Policy, and assesses the development of the 40,000-strong Arab League response force. It is clearly poised to counter Iran’s potential rise post-negotiations. In the second article, featured in The Hill, Stavridis explains why we need a ‘consumer protection act’ for the cyber threat data market. Given that cyber threats span public, private and non-profit sectors, it is time to adopt more appropriate measures for dealing with this commodity in less regressive terms. You can access both articles here and here, respectively.

Zachary Keck returns in this edition with two articles in the past week. The first explores the future of US Air Combat superiority. Based on a new Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment report, Keck cites several dissenting claims against the findings of the report. The second article reports that China’s anti-satellite capabilities are well on track to be able to destroy satellites beyond low orbit.

Lauren Dickey guest blogs with Janine Davidson over at the Council on Foreign Relations, this week, exploring the current state of the US Rebalance. There is a tendency in Washington circles to draw sweeping policy judgments with few facts to back them up. The actual numbers, however, indicate that the policy shift remains on track. You can access Lauren’s article here.

The U.S.-Australia Force Posture Agreement ensures both that 2,500 Marines rotate annually through Darwin for the next twenty-five years and that U.S. military and intelligence representation at Australian facilities continues.
The U.S.-Australia Force Posture Agreement, part of the Rebalance, ensures both that 2,500 Marines rotate annually through Darwin for the next twenty-five years and that U.S. military and intelligence representation at Australian facilities continues.

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

Members’ Roundup Part 18

Welcome back to another edition of the Roundup! After a brief hiatus we are back to share with you more of our members’ works. There are plenty of articles to share, ranging from maritime infrastructure development to thoughts on the new maritime strategy.

Back in February Miha Hribernik wrote a piece for The Diplomat regarding piracy in Southeast Asia. Although this presents a significant and worrying problem, it is manageable. Miha presents some suggestions for regional States on how to resolve this issue. You can access the article here. 

To surpass China in Sri Lanka, India needs to pursue proactive and dynamic diplomacy. Nilanthi Samaranayake explains, over at The Diplomat, that the key to reaffirming India’s presence in the region is through infrastructure investment. More specifically, the focus should be on public-private partnership and government to government investment in the maritime domain. You can access Nilanthi’s article here.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 1.53.03 pmJerry Hendrix, from the Center for a New American Security, published a report in February called ‘Avoiding Trivia: A Strategy for Sustainment and Fiscal Security’. In it, he argues that the United States has strayed from its historic and cultural approach to the world, leaving behind its traditional maritime-focused, technologically innovative, free-trade based strategy. The solution to this, according to Hendrix, is a more clear eyed strategy that seeks to avoid trivia and address the US’ current weaknesses in order to shore up its long term strategic position.

Over at War on the Rocks David Wise shares with us an article titled ‘Blowback as National Policy.’ Many of the current security threats that the Western world faces today are a result of those decisions made in years past. Before making the foray into the geostrategic game, which is more than just a big game of Risk, first have a look at David’s cogent words on what we face today.

Mira Rapp-Hooper writes on the Lawfare Institute’s blog a post examining the impact of China’s increased military spending (and the US’ relative decline in spending) on neighbouring countries. You can access her post here.

Following the trend of AMTI posts, Bryan McGrath shares his analysis on how China might view the United States’ revised Maritime Strategy. Given that Bryan was heavily involved in the development of the 2007 strategy, you will certainly find his views on the matter very insightful. You can access his piece here.

Vice Admiral Robert Thomas, commander of the US 7th Fleet, proposed the creation of joint maritime patrols in the South China Sea by ASEAN member nations – this was quickly met with mix reactions. Scott Cheney-Peters provides some solutions to challenge the arguments presented by the ‘nay-sayers’ and suggests that the presence of the “white hulls” of the U.S. Coast Guard could mitigate many of the perceived drawbacks. You can find out more by accessing his article on the AMTI’s website, here.

Harry Kazianis, on The National Interest, shares an analysis of the core reasons behind China’s ‘massive’ military buildup. He explains the historical roots of the Chinese military psyche due to subjugation at the hands of external powers. The solution to this is to employ an asymmetrical strategy  to defeat, in battle, forces that are superior to its own. You can access his article here.

Long range anti-ship missiles contribute to an essential element of China's deterrence.
Anti-Ship Missiles contribute to an essential element of China’s deterrence.

On the National Defense Magazine’s online blog, Sandra Erwin reports that the current pace of shipbuilding and funding will not be able to meet the future demands of the Navy. Given that is an annual obligation of the Navy to tell Congress how many ships it will need and how much they will cost, it should certainly raise some alarm bells for decision-makers in Washington. For more on this, you can access Sandra’s post here.

U.S. Navy Cyclone-class coastal patrol ships assigned to Patrol Coastal Squadron 1 (PCRON 1), USS Hurricane (PC-3), USS Chinook (PC-9) and USS Typhoon (PC-5), transit in formation during a divisional tactics exercise in the Persian Gulf.
U.S. Navy Cyclone-class coastal patrol ships assigned to Patrol Coastal Squadron 1 (PCRON 1), USS Hurricane (PC-3), USS Chinook (PC-9) and USS Typhoon (PC-5), transit in formation during a divisional tactics exercise in the Persian Gulf.

Bringing the theme of this Roundup to the naval profession, Matthew Hipple in a joint article with Dan Follet and James Davenport, remind us the important role of patrol coastal ships in securing the seas. In this edition of Proceedings, the authors suggest that patrol coastal ships are an “incredible platform for both mission execution and cultivating war fighting.” To read more about why this is the case, you can access their article here.

Over at War on the Rocks, CIMSECian Emil Maine (and company) provide some critique of Congressman Mac Thornberry’s ‘Defense Acquisition Reform’ initiative. Defence acquisition is a necessity, but the question is whether political momentum can be sustained long enough to overcome the usual barriers to wholesale reform. More on this topic here.

Finally we conclude this edition with a shameless plug for my own work. The first is an article featured in the March-April edition of the Australian Defence Force Journal. Titled ‘Evolution of the Battlefield’, I examine existing strategic and legal challenges to developing an effective cyber warfare policy for military planners. My second piece is a brief analysis of the Australian Department of Defence’s new First Priniciples Reviewthis will hopefully provide an insight into some of the organisational challenges faced by the ADF and Department of Defence. Perhaps some of the US readers can find some similarities and provide suggestions for the Australian context. You can access each of the above articles here and here.

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

Members’ Roundup Part 17

Welcome back to another edition of the Members’ Roundup, where we share with the rest of the CIMSEC readership the great work that our members have produced elsewhere. From the geopolitical situation in the Indian Ocean region to military science-fiction, there will definitely be an article for every interest.

Automation has long colonised jobs that were once performed through manual labour; changes to military operations will be no less profound. In an article for a joint War on the rocks – Center for a New American Security on military robotics and autonomous weapons, Paul Scharre reminds us that beneath all of the technological developments is the human element driving the military application. Nations and militaries that are able to better understand the policy, strategic and operational challenges will be better placed to succeed on the battlefield. You can access his article here.

Over at Real Clear Defense, Emil Maine presents a stark assessment of the state of the  United States’ munition stockpile. According to Maine: ‘unless policy makers act to raise discretionary caps on defense in the upcoming fiscal year, the severity of weapon shortfalls will only intensify.’ Given that the preference by coalition partners is to avoid committing boots on the ground, there will be a future need for a consistent supply of munitions in order to sustain the current rate of operations.

193636993
Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 crews prepare for another mission against ISIS.

This week we have two contributions from Vijay Sakhuja. The first is an article for the National Maritime Foundation, based in India, and it analyses the bilateral relationship between India and the Seychelles.  President James Michel’s Blue Economy project presents many opportunities for cooperation, but how this will be implemented is the challenge. The second article features in the Nikkei Asian Review; Vijay discusses the nature of Chinese infrastructure development in the Indian Ocean region and the ‘maritime silk road.’ In spite of growing tensions, many Asian countries continue to invite Chinese investment, leading to a win-win situation.

CIMSEC’s very own Scott Cheney-Peters features in this week’s edition of the Roundup with his short story “Red Light Challenge” published on the Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare website. The story is about a start-up team’s journey, with undertones of a hacker counterculture amongst the members, as they begin designing a flight-capable exoskeleton for the military. Throughout the piece, however, we see the human side during the project development; each character has their own traits and reasons for participating in the challenge. You can read Scott’s story here, as well as a follow-up interview about it here.

Sea ChangeThe Indo-Pacific region is rapidly emerging as a key focus of maritime geopolitics. In June last year, the Stimson Center and the Observer Research Foundation co-hosted a three-day conference titled Sea Change: Evolving Maritime Geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific Region. Two CIMSECians were invited to speak at the event; Scott Cheney Peters presented a paper on U.S. security relationships in the region and Nilanthi Samaranayake presented on the strategic importance of island states in a region of great powers. A copy of the publication can be accessed through the Stimson Center’s website.

In the latest Proceedings MagazineJohn Morton explains that the Third Offset Strategy needs more Mahanian thinking than meets the eye. Mahanian doctrine holds that a properly conceived national interest reflects the foundational sinews and national establishment of the era and must inform implicit long-term grand strategy. Today, the information age and globalised economy are what is important for long-term prosperity. You can read more of John’s article here.

Over at The National Interest there are three CIMSECians whose work I wish to draw attention to for this week’s edition of the Roundup. Zachary Keck reports that most Chinese citizens believe the PLA could seize islands in the East and South China Seas, even if the U.S. military were to intervene in the conflict. Earlier in the week, Keck cited a Heritage Foundation report that assessed America only had ‘marginal’ capacity to defend vital interests in the current threat environment. You can access that post here. Harry Kazianis continues the theme with an assessment of sequestration’s affect on America’s military readiness. Across the board, munitions levels are considerably low and it risks putting lives in danger. It is not, however, all doom and gloom. You can read more of Harry’s article to find out why. Kyle Mizokami presents his own roundup of the Top 5 most deadly anti-ship missiles of all time.

Finally, a quick and shameless spruik for my own work over at Young Australians in International Affairs. Earlier this week I wrote a blog post posing the question of what Australia’s military would look like if there was an opportunity to start with a blank canvas. Many of us in the military understand that force structure and procurement are constrained by fiscal and structural realities, but sometimes it is important to break down the fundamental requirements of national defence to truly understand what is needed to achieve the task.

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

Members’ Roundup Part 16

 Welcome back to another edition of the Members’ Roundup where we disseminate to you, the great work that CIMSECians have had published elsewhere. We have a variety of topics presented this week, ranging from the Eurozone financial crisis to Russia’s new aircraft carrier. Of note for this week’s edition we would like to welcome one of CIMSEC’s newest members: Milosz Reterski.
In an article for Jane’s, Milosz discusses the vulnerabilities of geonavigation systems such as GPS and GLONASS. Miniaturization and affordability of high-end electronics are putting GNSS  disruption capabilities into the hands of non-state actors—organized criminal groups and insurgents. Despite the introduction of new systems such as eLoran and atomic clocks to harden GNSS, future attacks will be mobile and deniable, and will “swarm” to create frequent degradations in systems that may then lead to permanent damage. Jane’s full content is through subscription only. Otherwise you can request for an instruction through this link.
Kuznetsov
The Russian Navy currently has only one aircraft carrier – the Admiral Kuznetsov. Launched in 1985 under the USSR, it features a ski ramp for aircraft launch. It is believed that Russia’s new carrier will utilise a catapult system.

In the news this week it was reported that Russia is looking at building a new aircraft carrier. Zachary Keck, of The National Interest,  writes this has been confirmed by the head of the Russian Navy. Currently, the Russian Navy only operates a single carrier (pictured below) that was launched in 1985 under the Soviet Union. In the past decade Russia has undertaken a massive program of military modernisation and this announcement will certainly assist in achieving this goal. You can read more on Zachary’s article here.

Over at War is Boring, Kyle Mizokami writes that North Korea may have a significantly high number of nuclear weapons – far more than was previously believed. This report is based on information provided by a former State Department official and it always difficult to accurately assess the true state of the Hermit Kingdom’s nuclear arsenal. At the very minimum, the report represents a road map to what North Korea wants and, if true, has dire consequences for the strategic balance in the region. You can access Kyle’s article here.

Annapolis-based CIMSECian, David Wise, shares with us an article featured on the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies’ website. It deals primarily with the financial and debt crisis in the Eurozone. For the maritime security junkies amongst our readership, David does conclude with how  this could have an effect on the positioning of the Russian fleet. You can access his article here.

On The National Interest’s website, Robert Farley provides a 5-step guide to building a world-class navy. Requirements of a blue-water have come a long way from the days of establishing coal stations on the far side of the world, but much of the logic remains the same. The basic requirements, according to Farley, are: undersea warfare, logistics, air assets, strike capability, and experience.

Over at Signal Magazine, James Stavridis of the Fletcher Law School, shares some thoughts on the Navy’s newest ‘innovation’ department. Under the official title of ‘Task Force Innovation’, Stavridis raises some poignant questions about who should fill the billets. Should it be personnel already screened for promotion? He also suggests that whoever is involved should fight to be heard by the Secretary. You can access the article here.

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