USS George Washington (CVN-73) in 2001.
Even years before its launch, the U.S. Navy’s new class of ships — the aircraft carrier — was dismissed by some critics as an exorbitantly expensive folly that was already obsolete due to advances in modern warfare.
Although this argument has often been levied at USS Gerald R Ford (CVN-78) currently under construction, it was also said about the nation’s first purpose-built carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) in the early 1930s. In the century since the Navy first started experimenting with shipboard takeoffs and landings, analysts have debated the merits versus the weaknesses of aircraft carriers.
Detractors maintain that carriers are too costly and too vulnerable, while proponents have held that the big flattops have consistently proven their worth and will remain the key to sea power well into the future. This battle over carriers has been raging in the pages of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine for decades: Read More
Kilo class submarine Yunes
Vietnam will takes possession of two Kilo-class diesel attack submarines (SSKs) by the end of the year, according to several press reports. Read More
The Navy’s experimental Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo launches from the fantail of USS George HW Bush (CVN-77) in May, 2013. US Navy Photo
The Navy has taken its first steps to develop a weapon designed to intercept and destroy guided enemy torpedoes immune to U.S. countermeasures, Naval Sea Systems Command officials told USNI News on Wednesday.
The Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) program under development to protect high dollar surface warships — like the Navy’s Nimitz-class (CVN-68) nuclear aircraft carriers — from Soviet developed torpedoes specifically designed to attack large ships like aircraft carriers and large civilian oil tankers. Read More
Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of US Pacific Command in 2012. US Navy Photo
The head of U.S. Pacific Command said the U.S. would oppose the use of force in resolving disputes over territory in the South China Sea, according to a Wednesday report from the Associated Press. Read More
The canceled Distinguished Warfare Medal annouced in February at the Pentagon. DoD Photo
The Pentagon is cancelling a controversial medal designed to recognize contributions of unmanned aerial vehicle pilots and cyber troops, according to a Monday memorandum signed by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel obtained by USNI News. Read More
Jack Jacobs, retired U.S. Army colonel and Medal of Honor recipient, adresses forward deployed troops at a USO event in 2005. US Air Force Photo
The creation of the new medal honoring unmanned vehicle pilots and cyber troops, “is a telling and sad commentary on the judgment of those who are responsible for the creation and approval of this award,” Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam veteran, told USNI News on Wednesday. Read More
China is rejecting the U.N. Law of the Sea treaty. Xinhua Photo
On Jan. 22, Ma Keqing, the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, was summoned to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila and handed a note verbale informing her that the Philippines was initiating a legal challenge to bring China before an arbitral ribunal under the terms of the U.N. Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Read More
Type 056 Jiangdao class frigate under construction. Xinhua News Agency.
The first 056 class No. 582 was officially handed over to PLAN on Feb. 25 as Wu Shengli, Commander of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) personally came to inspect the ship. While it is referred to as light frigate by Chinese news, the ship should be classified as a corvette or offshore patrol vessel (OPV) based on its size and displacements. This class is expected to be the next mass produced PLAN shipping class. Read More
Senator Chuck Hagel speaks at the Forum on the Law of the Sea Convention held at the Willard Intercontinental Washington Hotel, Washington D.C, May 9, 2012. DoD Photo
Chuck Hagel’s going over at the hands of Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday was more than an argument over political and policy differences; it was another spasm in the efforts of neoconservatives to define U.S. security policy in their own image.
Hagel, a Republican former two-term senator from Nebraska, had once been considered one of the neoconservatives’ own, at least for a while. After joining the Senate in 1997, he quickly became one of Republican Sen. John McCain’s more avid wingmen. He helped run the Arizonan’s 2000 campaign for the party’s presidential nomination. Hagel also voted for the 2002 resolution to authorize U.S. action against Iraq, the precursor to the March 2003 invasion.
China is building tandem maritime forces, blurring the line between military and civilian maritime missions.
The new People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) aircraft carrier, Liaoning, further expansion of the nuclear submarine force, and new warships such as the 052D Luyang III-class destroyer, are all indicators of China’s emphasis on maritime modernization. However, China’s maritime strategy consists of more than just PLAN modernization efforts: It’s building two maritime forces with more than 700 surface ships by 2020. China’s Maritime Surveillance (CMS) agency, under direction from the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), serves a critical role in further developing China’s maritime strategy.
The CMS is unlike any civilian government entity in the United States. CMS falls under the SOA for resource allocations and management purposes. If compared with the United States, the SOA would probably be similar to combining the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard and a host of intelligence agencies. While the U.S. equivalents are controlled by three different cabinet level positions (Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence); SOA is controlled by only one cabinet-level equivalent, the Ministry of Land and Resources.
Adm. Wu Shengli, PLAN Commander (Left) and Liu Cigui, SOA Director (Right) in Feburary, SOA photo
Though the SOA has several missions and controls more than 20 different agencies, it has two primary functions: protection of national sovereignty and as political component of the Party. CMS over the past several years has been tasked with the protection of national sovereignty issues throughout the South China and East China Seas. There are several examples of that including the 2009 USNS Impeccable incident, the planting of a Chinese flag on the seabed floor by a submersible in 2010, CMS ships cutting the cables of Vietnamese ships conducting exploration and seismic surveys in 2011, and the recent dispute in the Scarborough Shoals between China and Vietnam. In addition, CMS ships also have the primary role in patrolling the waters near the Senkaku or Daioyu Islands. These activities suggest China has developed a “first use policy” where CMS ships serve as the front line of protection and the PLAN may serve as the defender of national sovereignty.