Last week Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outlined American military options in Syria, in response to a threatened hold on his reconfirmation by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and a letter signed by McCain and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.). Both senators are proponents of American intervention in Syria, and both are frustrated by what they believe is the administration’s slow and limited decision to intervene in Syria’s conflict. The traditions of American civil-military relations make uniformed discussions of military options in politically charged issues—especially in a public forum—a delicate issue. Nevertheless, in order to secure a second term as JCS chairman, and in response to a formal request, Dempsey presented an unclassified assessment of five options for American military involvement in Syria. Read More
Canada’s Victoria-class submarine fleet has been controversial since its inception. Most recently, a report by Michael Byers and Stewart Webb argues that the time has come to either phase out the program or commit to a robust discussion of how to replace the fleet. Critics cite a disappointing history of expensive repairs, time lost, and a catastrophic fire. Supporters insist that the boats provide important capabilities. And navy planners have sought to get the ball rolling on acquiring new subs sometime after 2020. Debate over the current fleet and its potential replacement should include all of those elements, but focus on how they align with one another, on whether submarines provide the right capabilities at the right price to serve Canada’s national interests. Read More
A long-awaited report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says “a pause is needed,” in the Navy’s acquisition of both variants of the littoral combat ship (LCS) until the service proves it has overcome the myriad difficulties it has had fielding the ships and their three proposed mission packages, which allow the ships to act as either minesweepers, sub-hunters, or close-to-shore combatants. Read More
A mine hunting ship will be deployed to find four bombs dropped by two U.S. Marine AV-8B Harriers last week in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia, according to local press reports published on Tuesday.
The vessel would either come from U.S. 7th Fleet’s homeport in Japan or Australia’s Fleet Base East in Sydney, according to the report. Read More
Ahead of a busy week for Littoral Combat Ship policy makers, the Navy has released the executive summary of the Office of Chief of Operations Report (OPNAV) Review of the Littoral Combat Ship led by Rear Adm. Samuel Perez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Plans, Programs, and Operations in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and former commander of Carrier Strike Group 1.
In January of 2012, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson directed Perez to evaluate, “ the Navy’s readiness to receive deploy, employ and deploy the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) vessel,” according to the review’s executive summary. Read More
How far the United States should go in supporting the Syrian opposition, and just what the role of the Chairman (and Vice Chairman) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in formulating that strategy should be, dominated the sometimes testy re-confirmation hearing of Gen. Martin Dempsey and Adm. James Winnefeld on 18 July.
Dempsey’s re-confirmation is not assured. A key member of the panel—Arizona Republican John McCain—was so upset by Dempsey’s answers on Syria that he threatened to put a hold on the nomination. The chairman of the committee offered a possible compromise to get the nomination for a second Dempsey term back on track. Winnefeld did not come under that kind of scrutiny. Read More
The Navy has issued its new plan to combat sexual assaults in the service that include limiting alcohol sales on Navy installations and increasing personnel trained to handle sexual assault cases, according to documents provided to USNI News on Thursday.
The changes in the Navy’s policy to handle sexual assault cases and prevention comes while some in Congress are pushing a bill that would limit commander’s discretion to prosecute alleged offenders under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Read More
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a vocal advocate for more U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict, is right about at least one thing—a victory for President Bashar al-Assad is a victory for his allies in Iran.
McCain is wrong on many other accounts, most notably the assumption that a more favorable outcome can be achieved if the United States plays a more heavy-handed role in the conflict: history shows that to be false. Read More
The following is an excerpt from the introduction of Vice Adm. Eugene Parks Wilkinson’s oral history for the U.S. Naval Institute. Parks died on July 11 in Del Mar, Calif. at the age of 94.
Eugene Parks Wilkinson was born in Long Beach, California, on 10 August 1918, the son of Dennis William and Daisy Parks Wilkinson. He attended Holtville, California, High School and San Diego State College. He graduated from the latter in 1938 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in chemistry. He taught chemistry there for a year. He also filled in and taught a course in mathematics. During this year he attended the University of Southern California. The next year he had a teaching fellowship in chemistry at USC. During those two years he completed all of the course work for a doctor’s degree but never did a thesis or received any graduate degree. Commissioned ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 12 December 1940, he was transferred to the regular U.S. Navy on 28 August 1946. Read More