- Commentary – As the civil war in Syria enters its third year, there is much discussion of the regime’s chemical weapons and whether Syria’s Bashar al-Assad will unleash them against Syrian rebels, or whether a power vacuum after Assad’s fall might make those horrific tools available to the highest bidder. The conversation centers on Syria’s chemical weaponry, not on something vastly more serious: its nuclear weaponry. It well might have. This is the inside story of why it does not.
- Time – Very interesting essay by Chuck Spinney on the complexity of the terrorism situation in Africa, and how the US underestimates it…to our strategic disadvantage.
- BBC – It is an overcast day, and the skies are brooding over the Virginia coast, where two great grey US Navy ships are in dock.
- BBC – China’s navy has taken delivery of the first of a new kind of stealth frigate, as tension continues with neighbouring countries over maritime borders.
- Daily Telegraph – Spending on the successor to Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent will take up to a third of the defence budget within the next decade, defence experts are warning.
- US Naval Institute Proceedings – While naval strike capacity has grown since the Cold War, it’s come at a cost to the amphibious capabilities vital to U.S. power projection.
- US Naval Institute Proceedings – An interview with Sean J. Stackley – The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition.
- Aviation Week – You would have to cast a net far, wide and deep to find anyone of U.S. Navy rank who doubts sequestration will happen. Instead of dealing with “what-if” scenarios, the brass is talking more about “this will happen when … “ And the first big thing that will happen is that the Navy will find itself in quite a quandary.
- Washington Times – The Navy plans to shut down four of its active aircraft carriers in one of the worst-case scenarios presented to Congress by the service since the debate on budget cuts heated up this winter.
- Xinhua – The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions. The fleet comprises three ships — the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu — carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop.
- The Guardian – Undeclared arms race among European defence contractors to re-equip Libya’s armed forces causes concern among locals.
- Wall Street Journal – Many troops have lost a close friend in combat. Travis Williams lost them all. Marine Lance Cpl. Williams is the sole survivor of his 12-man squad. His comrades were wiped out by a roadside bomb in Iraq, leaving him physically unharmed but with psychological wounds that remain unhealed seven years later…Cases like that of Lance Cpl. Williams might constitute a different kind of mental injury from war, some clinicians are concluding, one that falls into less-understood categories of “traumatic loss” and “moral injury.”
- Washington Post – Bitter maritime disputes between China and its neighbors have recently sent fighter jets scrambling, ignited violent protests, and seen angry fishermen thrown in jail. But beneath all the bellicose rhetoric and threatening posture, China also has been waging a quiet campaign, using ancient documents, academic research, maps and technical data to bolster its territorial claims.
- San Diego Union Tribune – While the Pentagon complains about massive budget cuts, the U.S. Coast Guard — the smallest and sometimes overlooked arm of the armed forces — has been faring fairly well, moneywise.
- Wired – The Navy is dealing with the military’s impending budget fiasco by putting its premier hardware — aircraft carriers — on the firing line. It’s unexpected, but it might actually be a smart move — if Congress cancels the deepest budget cuts. But if Congress keeps the cuts, then the Navy’s readiness to handle the security threats of the next several years will seriously decline — in many ways because of how the Navy buys stuff.
- Aviation Week – U.S. Navy Undersecretary Robert Work created some waves with the recent posting of his draft U.S. Naval War College white paper, “The Littoral Combat Ship: How We Got Here, and Why.”
The archive for all of 2012 is now available at 2012 Archive
World Naval Operational News Highlights
The ten most significant naval news stories / themes this year included:
- The drawdown of troops from Afghanistan. What exactly was accomplished by the surge?
- The continued tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and the US Navy presence in the Persian Gulf. What will Israel do?
- The increasing Chinese sabre rattling and belligerency over the Spratley Islands with the Philippines and the Senkaku Islands with Japan. Will this lead to open conflict? Will it lead to stronger alliances with the US?
- The first flight operations on the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning. When will we see it go on an operational cruise?
- The possibility of Scotland declaring independence. If this happens – thus depriving the Royal Navy’s ballistic missile submarines of their home port – will this effectively lead to the nuclear disarmament of the United Kingdom?
- The decrease in the size of the US fleet coupled with no change in operational commitments leading to decreasing morale and increasing deferred maintainence. How long until the force becomes hollow?
- The quiet continued development of Unmanned Maritime Vehicles (UMVs) / Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) / Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs). When will we see them reach operational use?
- The US Navy’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program continues to move forward at a glacial pace. When will we see this program get off the ground?
- The continuing soap operatic saga of the Littoral Combat Ship. How can a program so old still be adrift in so many ways?
- The decreasing rate of piracy world-wide. How can we still not know what to do with captured pirates?
In 2012, there were news stories linked to on 364 / 365 days – that is on 99% of the days.
In 2012, NOSI linked to 400 news stories.
In 2012, 170 of these stories (43%) were related to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, or U.S. Military Sealift Command.
In 2012, 83 of these stories (21%) were background stories.
The remaining 145 news stories (36%) covered the operational activities of 19 nation’s navies, coast guards, and marine corps:
Australia, China, Denmark, France, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Phillipines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Vietnam
In 2012, 146,514 pages read (page hits) from 103,142 users (visitors). There were 280 followers of the RSS feed. There were 29,536 unique users (reach) and 389 fans (members) on the NOSI Facebook page.
- San Diego Union Tribune – The U.S. military spent the last decade fighting entrenched insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. What will the next war be like? Will it involve desert, mountains or jungle? An enemy who speaks Farsi or Korean? A national army fighting with tanks, or guerillas planting homemade bombs? It is impossible to know. While future wars remain unseen over the horizon and budget woes squeeze the military budget, the Marine Corps is resetting its combat training to get back to the basics and play to its strengths.
- Time – If Chinese warships escalate from locking-on radars to actually pulling the trigger in the East China Sea, they’ll have lots to shoot at – and it won’t be just the Japanese.