Category Archives: Long Form

Essay: When it Comes to Ship Survivability, Prayer Isn’t Enough

Essay: When it Comes to Ship Survivability, Prayer Isn’t Enough

Officials survey the damage of USS Tripoli while the ship was in drydock in Bahrain following a mine attack. US Navy Photo

Officials survey the damage of USS Tripoli while the ship was in drydock in Bahrain following a mine attack. US Navy Photo

In the early morning of Feb. 18, 1991, the U.S. amphibious warship USS Tripoli (LPH-10) struck an Iraqi contact mine in the northern Persian Gulf, ripping a 25-foot by 23-foot hole in her starboard side below the waterline. Read More

A Decade of San Antonio

A Decade of San Antonio

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, sponsor of LPD-17 the San Antonio, christens the Navy's the in New Orleans in 2003. US Navy Photo

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, sponsor of LPD-17 the San Antonio, christens the Navy’s the in New Orleans in 2003. US Navy Photo

Ten years ago, on Jan. 14, 2006, lead ship USS San Antonio (LPD-17) was commissioned as a Navy warship. But the immediate future looked bleak for the amphibious transport dock program. Read More

Essay: Building a Mediterranean Arc of Stability for America's Long War

Essay: Building a Mediterranean Arc of Stability for America’s Long War

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The United States is truly involved in a Long War. While the Army and Marine Corps have enjoyed long periods between combat operations, the Air Force and naval aviation have been continuously deployed for combat since the just after the Iraqis invaded Kuwait in August of 1990. Continuous combat operations have now stretched for twenty-five years, making our commitment to the Middle East the longest war involving a major Western power since the Thirty Years’ War, which ended in 1648. Read More

Essay: How Offering Tomahawks for Foreign Military Sales Will Strengthen Allies and Deter Adversaries

Essay: How Offering Tomahawks for Foreign Military Sales Will Strengthen Allies and Deter Adversaries

USS Barry (DDG=52) fires Tomahawk cruise missiles in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn on March 11, 2011. US Navy Photo

USS Barry (DDG=52) fires Tomahawk cruise missiles in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn on March 11, 2011. US Navy Photo

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) has long been a mainstay of the U.S. strike weapon inventory. Launching from ranges out to 1,000 miles and armed with a 1,000-pound warhead, it is the Navy’s “Kick Down the Door” weapon, attacking well-defended high-value land targets. The BLK IV missile is the latest variant in a steady progression of capability, incorporating mission planning, navigation and guidance, and command and control upgrades designed to improve responsiveness and target flexibility. Combat-proven and operationally reliable, Tomahawk remains a weapon of choice for planners and commanders alike. The FY 2016 budget maintains production and inventory levels, reflecting a continued high demand signal. Read More

Essay: Mistakes Are Not War Crimes

Essay: Mistakes Are Not War Crimes

In this photograph released by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on October 3, 2015, fires burn in part of the MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz after it was hit by an air strike. MSF Photo

In this photograph released by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on October 3, 2015, fires burn in part of the MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz after it was hit by an air strike. MSF Photo

Let’s get one thing straight: Accidents are not war crimes. Unintentional or collateral damage does not constitute a war crime, even when there are noncombatant deaths. The advent of precision weapons has fostered an unrealistic expectation regarding the applications of military force, which is substantially at odds with the reality of combat. Read More

Essay: Strategies That Matter — One Size Fits None

Essay: Strategies That Matter — One Size Fits None

Lockheed Martin F-117 Nighthawk over Iraq. US Air Force Photo

Lockheed Martin F-117 Nighthawk over Iraq. US Air Force Photo

Airpower advocates exited the Gulf War trumpeting an unambiguous victory for airpower—and they were right. The air campaign against Iraq was well planned, brilliantly tailored to the adversary, and superbly executed. But it was also a clear example where the enemy was outclassed from the very beginning. Coalition forces were allowed an unfettered buildup, and had clear advantages in numbers, training, equipment and a doctrine designed to defeat massed Soviet and Soviet-client forces under adverse conditions. They faced a surrounded enemy who allowed the Coalition force to seize the initiative (despite ample warning) and keep it throughout the conflict. The Iraqi military at the time was postured to lose, and lose big. Read More

Essay:  Strategies That Matter – Why Targets That Matter,  Don’t

Essay: Strategies That Matter – Why Targets That Matter, Don’t

A B-2 Stealth Bomber from Whiteman AFB in Missouri leads an aerial flight formation with F-18 Hornets from the during exercise Valiant Shield 2006. US Navy Photo

A B-2 Stealth Bomber from Whiteman AFB in Missouri leads an aerial flight formation with F-18 Hornets from the during exercise Valiant Shield 2006. US Navy Photo

In 1954, U.S. Representative W. Sterling Cole, chairman of the Joint Atomic Energy Committee, announced what had been suspected: that the U.S. Air Force could deliver an H-bomb anywhere in the world. Hardly a revelation, this boast since has been echoed for more than half a century. Indeed, Air Force talking points regularly repeat a version of this theme: We can hold any target at risk anywhere in the world in any time, any place. This idea is deeply embedded in the Air Force’s transformation efforts, as an aspirational statement became a “requirement” and thereby a justification for airpower capabilities. “Any target, any time, any place” is a centerpiece of service dogma, offered in place of coherent airpower strategy. Unfortunately, that means very little for the nation’s air, space and cyber power entrusted to the Air Force. A capability is not a strategy, and can’t be substituted for one. It’s strategy that matters. Read More

Essay: Inside the Design of China’s Yuan-class Submarine

Essay: Inside the Design of China’s Yuan-class Submarine

People's Liberation Army's Navy (PLAN) Yuan-class submarine.

People’s Liberation Army’s Navy (PLAN) Yuan-class submarine.

China’s evolving submarine force is a topic worthy of sober examination and debate. However, for the discussion to be useful in informing both national policy-makers and citizenry alike, the content must be based on accurate data and sound analysis. Unfortunately, both are often found wanting when it comes to English-language reporting on the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Read More

Essay: Understanding Japan's Shifting Defense Policy

Essay: Understanding Japan’s Shifting Defense Policy

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviews members of Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) Oct. 26, 2014. Reuters Photo

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviews members of Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) Oct. 26, 2014. Reuters Photo

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed major changes in Japan’s defense policy, with strong implications for the United States and U.S. armed forces in the Pacific. The changes, designed to shift Japan away from an isolated, pacifistic defense posture to a more dynamic one based on bilateral and even multilateral relationships, are controversial but not uncommon to most nations. Read More