About Philip Ewing


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Carrier Critics

Carrier Critics

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CFF1Dec12Why does the United States maintain a fleet of aircraft carriers?

The answer to that question could appear self-evident. Or, based on much of the discussion over the past few years, one might think the Navy’s carrier fleet is the most expensive, most vulnerable and most foolish extravagance in modern history. Read More

Analysis: Navy Doesn't Know What it Wants with LCS

Analysis: Navy Doesn’t Know What it Wants with LCS

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USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on March, 11 2013. US Navy Photo

USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on March, 11 2013. US Navy Photo

Christopher P. Cavas’ much-discussed March, 18 Defense News story about the recommendations of Vice Adm. Tom Copeman revealed that even one of the Navy’s top surface warriors has become something of a littoral combat ship (LCS) skeptic, given his reported willingness to recommend a major course correction for the program.
The Navy’s LCS never has had a shortage of skeptics, but for a long time they seemed to be a minority in the surface-warfare world, on the outside looking in. Until now. Read More

Pentagon Denies Russian Sub Patrolled in Gulf of Mexico

Pentagon Denies Russian Sub Patrolled in Gulf of Mexico

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Associated Press File Photo

Associated Press File Photo

The Pentagon and the Navy have denied it, but this month’s report that a Russian attack submarine prowled near the U.S. without being detected has turned attention back to the art and science of anti-submarine warfare.

The story, which appeared in the conservative “Washington Free Beacon,” reported that “U.S. officials” said the Akula-class sub loitered in the Caribbean for a month without being detected, and this “exposed deficiencies” in the Navy’s ASW capabilities.

The story did not contain enough detail to know what to make of that assessment – whether, for example, the Navy searched for the sub and didn’t find it, or whether it visited and left without a trace. The “Free Beacon” story said American commanders only learned of the sub’s patrol after the fact, but it did not explain how they could learn of it given that they hadn’t been able to detect it in the first place.

The incident is similar to 2009 reports in which the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) confirmed that two Akula boats patrolled off the Eastern U.S. seaboard.

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A New Way for Mine Warfare

A New Way for Mine Warfare

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“Any ship can be a minesweeper –- once,” goes the old naval joke, but top American commanders in the Middle East are not laughing. Amid the roller coaster of tensions with Iran and a new high-level order to confirm that it can “shoot straight,” the Navy is beefing up its mine warfare capabilities in the Persian Gulf.

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