USNI News polled its writers, naval analysts and service members on what they consider the most important military and maritime stories in 2017.
The following is part of a series. Please also see Top Stories 2017: Navy Acquisition, International Acquisition, Navy Operations, Marine Corps Operations, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Acquisition and New Administration.
Estonian army scouts from 1st Battalion practicing their defensive maneuvers during Exercise SIIL/Steadfast Javelin in 2015. NATO Photo
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are three important U.S. allies who present a tempting target to the Kremlin to distract from Russia’s ongoing involvement in Ukraine, a panel of experts said Tuesday. Read More
Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Steven Montgomery, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, directs an amphibious assault vehicle during exercise BALTOPS 17 in Putlos, Germany. US Navy Photo
ABOARD AMPHIBIOUS WARSHIP USS ARLINGTON — BALTOPS 2017, now in its 45th year as an annual naval exercise, took place during the first two weeks of June in a Baltic Sea region that continues to be tense with Russia’s continued assertiveness, which became apparent with the violent annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Read More
U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines deployed from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, land their amphibious assault vehicles ashore at Uto, Sweden, on June 10, 2016, during BALTOPS 2016. The 2016 exercise focused on challenging amphibious landings in the northern part of the Baltic Sea, whereas this year will focus on air integration and will primarily take place in the southern part of the Baltic Sea. US Navy photo.
THE PENTAGON — Fifty ships set sail in the Baltic Sea this week for the annual NATO exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS), with this year’s event including a larger aviation component and a larger adversary “red force” in the hopes of creating a realistic scenario for high-end warfare in Europe, the Navy’s 6th Fleet commander told reporters today. Read More
Estonian soldiers wade ashore during a combined U.S. and Estonia amphibious assault training exercise during Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2010. US Navy Photo
NATO’s challenge in deterring Russian aggression goes well beyond standing up four multinational battalions in the Baltic nations and Poland; it needs to have the capability to move reinforcements across a contested North Atlantic and Europe, three experts said in assessing the alliance’s recent Warsaw summit. Read More
Russian submarine Severodvinsk
While Russian submarine activity in the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas and the North Atlantic are at their highest levels since the end of the Cold War, its navy has only started to be resourced and its undersea fleet, while “a pocket of competence,” remains small. Read More
US Marines with the Black Sea Rotational Force, fires TOW anti-tank missile on July 8 in Bulgaria. US Marine Corps Photo
By quadrupling spending to counter a mounting threat from Moscow, the United States’ military emphasis in Europe has shifted from reassuring allies and partners to deterring Russia from “exercising malign influence [and using] coercion” to bully countries on its western and southern borders, witnesses told a key House panel Wednesday. Read More
U.S. Marines from India Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment participate in an amphibious landing exercise in Ustka, Poland, during the NATO exercise BALTOPS 2016. US Navy photo.
NATO members must increase the alliance’s military capabilities, position additional forces in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, establish a maritime force in the Black Sea and bolster its presence in the Arctic, all to counter Russia’s growing military strength and increasingly belligerent behavior toward its neighbors, the Atlantic Council said in a new report. Read More
U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines deployed from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, land their amphibious assault vehicles ashore in Uto, Sweden, during BALTOPS 2016, June 10. US Navy photo.
Seventeen NATO members and partners are wrapping up this year’s BALTOPS exercise, which provided more and more complex training opportunities in amphibious and anti-submarine warfare compared to previous years. Read More
Then-Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert is piped ashore after touring the Swedish submarine HMS Uppland at Karlskrona Naval Base on July 14, 2015. US Navy photo.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter signed a Statement of Intent with Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist that aims to increase military capability and interoperability between the two nations. Read More