CIMSEC Wishes You a Happy Memorial Day

By Jimmy Drennan

On this Memorial Day, CIMSEC remembers those that have died in defense of the United States of America and her democratic ideals. While it is an American holiday, our brothers and sisters around the world stand with us to remember. CIMSEC’s Italian Chapter sent us this video of the Italian Navy Band performing “Il Silenzio” by Nini Rosso. Most of you will recognize this tune as the American military anthem “Taps.” In fact, many countries around the world use variations of the tune to celebrate the end of the day or honor their fallen servicemembers, including Italy, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Spain, Great Britain, and Australia.

While there are many legends surrounding the origin of “Taps,” it is generally accepted that Union General Daniel Butterfield derived the tune from the “Scott Tattoo” written by Major General Winfield Scott, which took the Dutch tradition of sounding a bugle call to notify soldiers to cease the evening’s drinking and return their garrisons. In fact, the term “tattoo” comes from “doe den tap toe” – Dutch for “turn off the taps.”

We at CIMSEC hope that you can spend this Memorial Day enjoying the company of friends and family, and remembering those that sacrificed their lives for freedom and democracy, until it is time to “turn off the taps.”

Jimmy Drennan is the President of CIMSEC. Contact him at

Featured Image:  WATERS SOUTH OF JAPAN (Nov. 28, 2015) Yeoman Seaman Recruit Michael S. Williams, from Riverdale, Ga., center left, performs taps on a bugle during a burial-at-sea ceremony aboard the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan McFarlane/Released)

Reviewing Charles Glasers’ “China-U.S. Grand Bargain”

Guest post for Chinese Military Strategy Week by Peter Marino

In May of this year, the PLA released its most expansive defense White Paper ever. Having now firmly left in the past the original missions of the PLA simply to defend the Chinese mainland, the paper imagines a solidly regional, and even global, role for its armed forces to protect Chinese vital interests in economics and politics. This has understandably put additional pressure on US and Western defense planners to review their own strategic postures towards China and reassess how they intend to position themselves against it, as the post-First Cold War international architecture breaks down and a Second Cold War seems to be coming into focus. Squarely in the middle of any reassessment of U.S. strategic posture towards China would undoubtedly be Taiwan policy. Should the US hold to its commitments under the 1979 Taiwan Relations act? Should it strengthen these commitments? Or should it abandon them altogether? China specialists across the spectrum are weighing in. Today, I take a moment to review one such proposal, by Professor Charles Glaser of the Elliott School.1

[1] Charles L. Glaser. “A U.S.-China Grand Bargain? The Hard Choice between Military Competition and Accommodation.” International Relations 39, No. 4, Spring 2015, 49-90.

Peter Marino holds an MSc in Global Politics from The London School of Economics and is a graduate of Norwich University. He lived in Shanghai from 2003 to 2008 and served as head of China development for London-based Aurigon, Ltd. He founded and sold Quaternion, a political risk startup, and is currently establishing a new Think Tank for International Affairs aimed at promoting engagement with the “Millennial Generation.” He also produces Globalogues, a video blog with commentary on global politics and economics. The views expressed in this article are his own.

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CIMSEC’s Weekend Longreads – March 21st, 2014

Welcome to the Inaugural edition of CIMSEC’s Weekend Longreads, bringing you the three most impactful pieces from the past week, as voted by CIMSEC’s members.

Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine


Simon Ostrovsky – VICE News – 2 hours 10 minutes (16 dispatches)

Simon Ostrovsky chronicles the crisis in Crimea as it unfolds, highlighting the ambiguity, tensions, and absurdities enveloping the peninsula with VICE’s characteristic blend of improbable interviews and unrivaled access. Coverage remains ongoing.

Keep a Weather Eye on the Horizon: A Navy Officer Retention Study

Commander Guy M. Snodgrass, U.S. Navy – 53 min (10k words)

Commander Snodgrass offers an insightful look into the Navy’s looming retention crisis, drawing on historical examples, Fortune 500  firms’ talent retention efforts, and decades of experience to deliver a set of compelling and actionable recommendations, with relevance well beyond the USN.

Silicon Valley’s Youth Problem

Yiren Lu – New York Times – 35 minutes (7k words)

Yiren Lu explores the implications of the divide between young and old in Silicon Valley. Serves as an interesting corollary to the proliferation of JO lead innovation efforts within DoD, and highlights the need to integrate a range of experience to bring meaingful innovation to both infrastructure, and end-user processes. 


Austin Price is an Army Cadet studying at George Mason University, with a healthy interest in East Asia and an unhealthy appetite for Sichuan Hotpot.