Thursday, July 28, 2016

Former Cutter Boutwell christened as Philippine frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio

July 21, 2016 - A ceremony today in Coast Guard Base Alameda authorized the transfer of a third decommissioned Coast Guard cutter to the Philippine Navy as part of the Excess Defense Articles program.

Rear Adm. Joseph M. Vojvodich, the Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Acquisition and Chief Acquisition Officer, the presiding official, and Rear Adm. Bayani Gaerlan, Commander Philippine Fleet, both signed the transfer documents that officially released the Coast Guard cutter to the Philippine government.
The former San-Diego based Cutter Boutwell was christened into Philippine frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio prior to the ceremonial crew swap.

"The Coast Guard is saddened that this cutter is no longer with our fleet, but we are also proud to send it on a new mission in the service of a great nation, under the capable watch of professional sailors and close friends,” said Vojvodich.  “This storied ship will continue to execute vital maritime missions for the Republic of the Philippines; an important ally, as a trading partner, and as a compatriot in the struggle to preserve freedom of the seas to protect life at sea, and to combat global terror.”
Today’s ceremony marked the third delivery of a high-endurance Coast Guard cutter to the Philippine government. The two other decommissioned cutters were the San Diego-based Hamilton and Charleston, South Carolina-based Dallas.
Under the EDA program, assets no longer needed and declared excess by the U.S. Armed Forces may be offered at reduced or no cost to eligible foreign recipients on an “as is, where is” basis in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives, under authorities established in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Arms Export Control Act.  Typically, EDA is transferred to support U. S. allies in their modernization efforts and to assist Latin American and Caribbean nations in their counter-narcotics programs.

In Boutwell’s case, the cutter is an $8 million grant, but the Philippine Navy is investing $16 million to modernize and outfit the cutter in the U.S. as part of the transfer program.  The U.S. Coast Guard also benefits from the transfer by saving over $12 million in ship disposal costs.  Both nations benefit by improving maritime safety and security mission capacity in the international waters surrounding the Republic of the Philippines.
Boutwell was decommissioned March 16 at San Diego after 48 years of service to the nation. Boutwell is the third and longest-serving cutter named after the former Secretary of the Treasury, George Sewall Boutwell.

Photos official US Coast Guard.

MOD selects nuclear storage site as Submarine Dismantling Project progresses

Barrow Submariners Assn
July 7, 2016 - The MOD has today announced where the intermediate level radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines will be stored prior to disposal.
From five shortlisted sites, and following a thorough public consultation process, Capenhurst Nuclear Services in Capenhurst in Cheshire has been selected as the MOD’s recommendation, with AWE Aldermaston in Berkshire chosen as a fall back.
Like all the sites shortlisted, operators Capenhurst Nuclear Services, already manage radioactive materials, and was found to meet the Submarine Dismantling Project’s (SDP) requirements best, including offering value for money.
The site at Capenhurst will be responsible for storing the Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPVs), classified as Intermediate Level radioactive Waste (ILW) from decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines. Reactor Pressure Vessels are thick steel containers that held nuclear fuel when the reactors operated. The site will store these on an interim basis until permanent disposal in a UK Geological Disposal Facility (GDF), led by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, sometime after 2040.
There are two options at CNS, Capenhurst to store submarine RPVs; the option that MOD will be taking forward, is to use an existing facility, with a second on-site contingency option of constructing a new store also available.
Defence Minister Philip Dunne said, "When submarines in the Royal Navy fleet reach the end of their lives, we need to dispose of them in a way that is safe, secure and environmentally sound.
"We have worked closely with the local communities around potential sites to listen carefully to their views, and the opinions and feedback we received has played an important part in formulating our final decision.
"With Capenhurst as our recommended site, we know that the radioactive waste from our decommissioned submarines will be dealt with properly and responsibly."
The MOD has 19 former Royal Navy nuclear submarines currently stored afloat in Devonport and Rosyth, but the submarines can only be completely dismantled once the radioactive material and components have been safely removed. A further eight submarines that are currently still in service will also be dismantled under the Submarine Dismantling Project when they reach the end of their service lives, with the initial dismantling process supporting up to 60 skilled jobs.
All the shortlisted sites were considered fairly and equally, with the MOD looking at the factors including environmental and value for money, alongside the feedback gathered as part of the public consultation. When all this was taken into account, CNS, Capenhurst was found to meet the Project’s requirements best overall.

UK decides to renew continuous at sea deterrent

Trident-class nuclear submarine Vanguard
July 19, 2016 - Defence Secretary Michael Fallon welcomes decision to renew the UK's continuous at sea deterrent.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, "MPs on all sides have voted by an overwhelming margin, to renew our nuclear deterrent - the ultimate guarantee of our national security.
"We have voted to protect our nation from the most serious threats we may face in the 2030s, 2040s and 2050s.
"The British Parliament has sent a powerful message to our allies that Britain is stepping up its international commitments, not stepping back from them.
"We will now get on with building the next generation of nuclear submarines to help keep the nation, and our allies, safe for decades to come.

Hyundai Heavy beats out Daewoo Shipbuilding to win $493m contract for ice-capable RNNZ tanker

July 19, 2016 - Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s biggest shipbuilder, has beaten out its largest rival for the contract to build a $493 million ice-capable naval tanker for the New Zealand Defence Force which is part of an increased emphasis on the country’s strategic interests in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
Hyundai and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, both listed on the Korean stock exchange, were shortlisted last year for the contract to replace the 30-year-old tanker HMNZS Endeavour, which is due to retire in 2018, leaving a two-year gap before the new vessel is delivered in 2020.
The Hyundai-built tanker is a step up for the Navy in terms of size and will be capable of refueling two ships at a time while underway. It will have a range of 6,400 nautical miles, less than the Endeavour’s 10,000-mile range, but with a faster speed of 16 knots versus 14 knots.
The vessel will be capable of supporting two Mini Typhoon cannons and a Phalanx CIWS system for defence against anti-ship missiles. It will also have a helicopter deck and space for at least 12 TEU shipping containers.
The Defence White Paper 2016 identifies Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and New Zealand’s territorial waters as strategic challenges looking out to 2040, noting “a rising sophistication, range and number of actors operating within New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, Southern Ocean and the South Pacific”.
The tanker will be able to work alongside an ice-strengthened offshore patrol vessel, allowing the Defence Force to conduct patrols in the Southern Ocean following the introduction of new international Polar Code regulations in 2018, according to the paper.
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the tanker’s ice-strengthening and “winterization” features will allow it to deliver fuel and other goods to support Scott Base and McMurdo Station, during summer months once an icebreaker has cleared a path. And it will demonstrate New Zealand’s long-term commitment to the Antarctic Joint Logistics Pool with the US, he said.

NZ Defence Force Tests Amphibious Capability

The NZDF Amphibious Task Force conducts the first iteration of Exercise Joint Waka in the Canterbury area earlier this year.

July 22, 2016 - The NZ Defence Force has continued the Exercise Joint Waka series of Amphibious Task Force (ATF) training this week with a tabletop exercise at the Devonport Naval Base based on a simulated stability and support operational situation. 
The ATF is an integrated Navy, Army and Air Force team that brings together single Service assets and expertise in a joint effort that can move personnel, humanitarian aid supplies and vehicles from ship to shore where there is no port or airfield available, or where disaster or the security situation has rendered a port or airfield unusable.
This second exercise in the Joint Waka series uses a fictional situation requiring a military and diplomatic coalition response in the south-west Pacific, with ATF personnel having to determine how they would respond to the crisis when the port and airfield are unusable. This scenario involves the ATF conducting a complex landing across a beach so that land forces, with helicopter support, can secure the port and airfield for follow-on forces.
With the Defence Force regularly called upon to assist in disaster relief or humanitarian assistance efforts in the Pacific, exercise director Lieutenant Colonel Martin Dransfield says it is crucial that personnel have the right doctrine, training, tactics and procedures in place, and experience with the appropriate equipment.
“Every ship-to-shore movement is different and is influenced by the tides, the weather, the gradient of the beach, and the supplies and equipment that need to be moved. The ATF requires a high level of training to be able to operate in any situation. They’ve been put to the test during our recent responses to Tropical Cyclones Winston and  Pam and they will continue to be tested, both in exercises and during operational deployments, to ensure we’re able to assist our Pacific neighbours when called upon.”
Exercise Joint Waka has three iterations for 2016, following on from the training opportunities identified for the ATF during Exercise Southern Katipo 2015.  The final exercise for the year will be a field training exercise involving HMNZS Canterbury. Exercise Southern Katipo 2017 will further test the NZDF’s amphibious capability.

NZDF's Joint Pacific Fisheries Patrols Continue Run of Success


July 14, 2016 - Fisheries patrols conducted by the New Zealand Defence Force together with the Ministry for Primary Industries and Pacific Islands countries have continued their run of success, with 34 commercial fishing vessels boarded in the south-west Pacific since June. The operation is sponsored by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Fisheries patrols conducted by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) together with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Pacific Islands countries have continued their run of success, with 34 commercial fishing vessels boarded and 36 breaches detected during the inspections in the south-west Pacific since the operation began in June.
The operation, sponsored by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, saw boarding teams – comprised of crew from the Royal New Zealand Navy’s offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Otago and compliance officers from MPI and Pacific Islands countries – conducting 34 inspections during patrols in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of Fiji, Niue, Tokelau and Tuvalu.
“The patrols highlighted the excellent collaboration between the crew of Otago and representatives from Pacific Islands countries and MPI. This was vital as we worked together in often challenging conditions,” said Lieutenant Commander (LTCDR) Andrew Sorensen, Commanding Officer of HMNZS Otago.
LCDR Sorensen said the boarding teams detected 36 breaches during the inspections. These breaches included unmarked fishing gear, licensing issues and the discarding of rubbish, and will be fully investigated by each Pacific Islands country and supported by New Zealand if requested.
“The operation is significant in terms of raising compliance levels within the Pacific region and also for the direct support that the Pacific nations receive. Although the number of breaches detected was disappointingly high, it showed the importance of ‘at sea’ boarding and inspection as a tool for raising compliance levels and of implementing measures that ultimately support the effective management of Pacific tuna fisheries,” MPI Chief Operations Officer Andrew Coleman said.
HMNZS Otago left New Zealand on 5 June to conduct fisheries patrols in the south-west Pacific over the next two months. Port visits to several Pacific Islands countries were also scheduled as part of defence diplomacy activities.
MFAT’s Pacific Security Fund supported the participation of compliance officers from MPI and Pacific Islands countries. The patrols were also supported by NZDF and MPI personnel in New Zealand who worked hard to ensure that HMNZS Otago had all the information she needed to plan and carry out the operation.
“For several years now, the NZDF has been deploying its ships and aircraft to conduct maritime patrols to assist south Pacific Islands countries in protecting their fishery resources,” said Captain (CAPT) Dave McEwan, the Acting Maritime Component Commander.

CAPT McEwan said offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington will sail to the south Pacific on 18 July to conduct further fisheries patrols.

Testing NZDF Combat Capability at RIMPAC

July 21, 2016 - Ships and aircraft of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) have joined forces to hunt down an “enemy” submarine and attack it with torpedoes.
The live firing test took place this week off Hawaii during RIMPAC 2016 – the world’s biggest international maritime exercise.
The Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha, her Seasprite helicopter and two P-3K2 Orions from the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) No 5 Squadron each fired a torpedo at the target, a remote underwater vehicle playing the part of a submarine.
Anti-submarine warfare is a key part of the NZDF’s maritime combat capability and the exercise provided an intense test of the combined skills of the ship, helicopter and the two Orions.
Orion pilot Flight Lieutenant Jonathan Pound said: “Sonar buoys have to be laid in a particular pattern to hunt a submarine. For us, this involved precision flying from 2000 feet to as low as 200 feet above the sea.
“It also included steep turns – a 60 degree angle of bank – which meant the Orion was essentially on its side and the crew was experiencing 2G, twice the force of gravity.”
The Commanding Officer of No 5 Squadron, Wing Commander (WGCDR) Daniel Hunt, said the torpedo drop was the first by an RNZAF aircraft in over five years.
“The range here in Hawaii has the ability to provide almost instantaneous feedback to the crew about how accurate the drop was. This allows us to externally validate our processes and procedures and ensure we have an effective combat capability.
“In New Zealand we do not have a range with this sort of fidelity and the cost of owning one would be prohibitive, which is why attendance at RIMPAC is such a major event for the team.”
He said the technology involved was crucial to the exercise.
“It provides valuable opportunities for us to train and learn with our multi-national partners.

“It was a real team effort from loading the torpedoes to locating, tracking and attacking the target below the surface. It’s a great demonstration of our warfare capability.”

Russia is developing a sonar system for the protection of the Arctic

Google Translation

July 20, 2016 (RIA Novosti) - Russian defense enterprises develop sonar system for the protection of the territorial waters of the Russian Federation in the Arctic, it can detect the "enemy" ships and submarines at a distance of hundreds of kilometers, the newspaper "Izvestia" referring to the representative of the Defense Ministry, familiar with the situation.
"Now there is a study of the project of the new system. The works should be completed in the next year, and after approval by the Ministry of Defence will start its deployment ", - quotes the interlocutor edition.
It is reported that due to the secrecy of the source declined to name the exact timing of system availability and the place where it will be deployed, but explained that the fully deployed system is able to cover the area of ??hundreds of kilometers.
According to the newspaper, the head developer acts recently included in the composition of the group of aerospace defense "Almaz-Antei" Corporation Space Systems Special "Comet", in cooperation with which the project is attended several dozen enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.
"The task is quite complicated. It is necessary to create three contour: marine, space and ground. Marine - a sonar buoys and underwater sensors, to eliminate the atmosphere and transmit the data to the space satellites circuit. Ground loop - a management system that already will analyze the information received and provide its users ", - said the representative of the Ministry of Defense.

Joint declaration by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

July 8, 2016 - We believe that the time has come to give new impetus and new substance to the NATO-EU strategic partnership.
In consultation with the EU Member States and the NATO Allies, working with, and for the benefit of all, this partnership will take place in the spirit of full mutual openness and in compliance with the decision-making autonomy and procedures of our respective organizations and without prejudice to the specific character of the security and defence policy of any of our members.
Today, the Euro-Atlantic community is facing unprecedented challenges emanating from the South and East. Our citizens demand that we use all ways and means available to address these challenges so as to enhance their security.
All Allies and Member States, as well as the EU and NATO per se, are already making significant contributions to Euro-Atlantic security. The substantial cooperation between NATO and the EU, unique and essential partners, established more than 15 years ago, also contributes to this end.
In light of the common challenges we are now confronting, we have to step-up our efforts: we need new ways of working together and a new level of ambition; because our security is interconnected; because together we can mobilize a broad range of tools to respond to the challenges we face; and because we have to make the most efficient use of resources. A stronger NATO and a stronger EU are mutually reinforcing. Together they can better provide security in Europe and beyond. 
We are convinced that enhancing our neighbors and partners stability in accordance with our values, as enshrined in the UN Charter, contributes to our security and to sustainable peace and prosperity. So that our neighbors and partners are better able to address the numerous challenges they currently face, we will continue to support their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, as well as their reform efforts.
In fulfilling the objectives above, we believe there is an urgent need to:
Boost our ability to counter hybrid threats, including by bolstering resilience, working together on analysis, prevention, and early detection, through timely information sharing and, to the extent possible, intelligence sharing between staffs; and cooperating on strategic communication and response. The development of coordinated procedures through our respective playbooks will substantially contribute to implementing our efforts.
Broaden and adapt our operational cooperation including at sea, and on migration, through increased sharing of maritime situational awareness as well as better coordination and mutual reinforcement of our activities in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.
Expand our coordination on cyber security and defence including in the context of our missions and operations, exercises and on education and training.
Develop coherent, complementary and interoperable defence capabilities of EU Member States and NATO Allies, as well as multilateral projects.
Facilitate a stronger defence industry and greater defence research and industrial cooperation within Europe and across the Atlantic.
Step up our coordination on exercises, including on hybrid, by developing as the first step parallel and coordinated exercises for 2017 and 2018.
Build the defence and security capacity and foster the resilience of our partners in the East and South in a complementary way through specific projects in a variety of areas for individual recipient countries, including by strengthening maritime capacity.
Cooperation in these areas is a strategic priority. Speedy implementation is essential. The European External Action Service and the NATO International Staff, together with Commission services as appropriate, will develop concrete options for implementation, including appropriate staff coordination mechanisms, to be presented to us and our respective Councils by December 2016. On the EU side, the High Representative/Vice President of the Commission will steer and coordinate this endeavor.
We will review progress on a regular basis.
We call on both organizations to invest the necessary political capital and resources to make this reinforced partnership a success.
Signed at Warsaw on 8 July 2016 in triplicate.
Donald Tusk - President of the European Council
Jean-Claude Juncker - President of the European Commission

Jens Stoltenberg - Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Saab Receives First Order Under Australian Warship Agreement

July 3, 2016 - Defence and security company Saab has received an order from the Australian Government regarding sustainment of the combat system on Australia's ANZAC class frigates. The order value amounts to AUD 37 million (approximately SEK 248 million) and covers services from July 2016 until December 2017.
This is Saab Australia’s first order under the recently signed Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA). WAMA is an asset management organization which is responsible for the overall performance and delivery of seaworthy ANZAC class warships and support infrastructure to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Under the long-term asset management agreement, Saab Australia, which is part of Saab business area Surveillance, will provide on-going engineering support services in both Western Australia and South Australia.
“The agreement and this order reflect our highly successful and long term commitment to the ANZAC frigate and the Royal Australian Navy” says Dean Rosenfield, Managing Director for Saab Australia.
“The ANZAC frigates are the trusted workhorse of the navy and Saab has played a major role in evolving the fighting capability of the ships over the last 20 years. We look forward to continue working with our local partners to ensure the ANZACs continue to fulfill Navy’s needs," says Rosenfield.
Saab is part of the WAMA team charged with ensuring that the ANZAC Class ships remain at a high level of availability and capability for the Royal Australian Navy.
For three decades, Saab has successfully delivered naval combat systems to the Royal Australian Navy. Together with CEA Technologies, Saab’s Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) system has delivered one the most advanced naval frigate combat capabilities in the world.
The next generation of Saab’s Combat Management System is building on this pedigree. Commitment to innovation, continuous improvement, local production and support makes Saab the lead contender to provide the combat system for Australia’s future frigate program.

That's the shot: Navy photographer retires after 48 years

Warrant Officer Image Specialist John O’Brien as a young sailor developing his own photographs.

July 12, 2016 - When 17-year-old John O'Brien decided to see the world he did not expect a 48-year career in the Royal Australian Navy.
Growing up in regional Western Australia, John decided to escape Northam by following in his cousin's footsteps and join the service.
Signing up in 1968, Warrant Officer O'Brien started the basic communicators' course before he transferred to the Navy photographic course at HMAS Albatross in 1969.
"We were taught on black and white film and paper, and used 35mm, 120mm, 5 x 4 inch film and 16mm movie cameras. Over the years the technology and function has evolved, so it has been an interesting career," he said.
While Warrant Officer O'Brien never deployed operationally - being too junior of rank for the Vietnam War and too senior for the Gulf War - he enjoyed plenty of opportunities that kept him committed to Navy.
He said being a Navy photographer had given him access to people that most could only dream of meeting.
"I have photographed the Queen and Prince Philip, Prime Ministers and shaken hands with Prince Charles," he said.
Reflecting on almost half a century of service, Warrant Office O'Brien said he was proud of what he had achieved.
"I joined the Navy to do something different and that's exactly what I have done. I have put a frame around the world."
He said while technology and the organization had changed since he joined, Navy still remained a place full of opportunities, and had this advice for junior sailors.
"Do your promotion courses as soon as you can if you are going to make Navy your career. Buy some bricks and mortar and take up the opportunities as they come. Treat your career as one adventure after another," he said.
Warrant Officer O'Brien retired from the Navy last month.

He served in the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne and HMA Ships Stalwart, Queenborough, Vampire and Stuart.

China’s Blueprint for Sea Power

China’s Blueprint for Sea Power

Publication: China Brief Volume: 16 Issue: 11
July 6, 2016 01:22 PM Age: 16 days
By: Andrew S. Erickson

Powered by the world’s second largest economy and defense budget, China has implemented a consistent, incremental strategy of upholding its outstanding territorial and maritime claims in the Near Seas (Yellow, East, and South China Seas), while more gradually developing an outer layer of less-intensive capabilities to further its interests and influence farther afield. In March, China further enshrined its turn toward maritime power in the 13th Five-Year Plan.
Although China is often frustratingly opaque to outside analysts with respect to specific military hardware capabilities, the military strategy that informs the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) organization and use of its forces is often far more transparent in its broader objectives and dimensions. Demonstrably authoritative PLA texts that discuss these topics, such as the Academy of Military Science’s (AMS) multiple versions of Science of Military Strategy (战略学, or SMS), are increasingly joined by official Defense White Papers (DWP) as well as a wide range of other publications and data. [1] Considering this material together offers a fairly clear picture of where China stands militarily and its intended course for the future.
Maritime security development is at the geographic and operational forefront of Chinese military development. The aforementioned sources accurately portray the PLA Navy (PLAN) as undergoing a strategic sea change in recent years. Similarly transforming to support comprehensive efforts at sea are China’s maritime law enforcement (MLE) forces and its maritime militia. The PLAN, soon to be the world’s second largest blue water navy, retains a lead role in the Near Seas. The world’s largest blue water coast guard and largest maritime militia share important responsibilities—typically in coordination with the PLAN. Beijing is pursuing a clear hierarchy of priorities whose importance and realization diminishes sharply with their distance from mainland Chinese territorial and maritime claims, while engaging in a comprehensive modernization and outward geographic radiation of its forces. This is part of a layered pattern dating to the earliest days of the Party and its Army, even before it established the People’s Republic in 1949. Having consolidated all its more-pressing inner geographic rings of interests in ensuing decades, Beijing can finally focus on furthering its unresolved claims in the Near Seas, and promoting its broader interests beyond them.
China’s Hierarchy of Security Priorities
1. Party Leadership
2. Party-State Administration
3. Governance of Core Han Homeland
4. Stability in Ethno-Religious Minority Borderlands
5. Integrity of Land Borders
6. Upholding and Furthering Near Seas Claims
7. Addressing Far Seas Interests
This ongoing sea change is encapsulated particularly clearly in the 2013 and previous editions of SMS, as well as China’s 2015 DWP. This first-ever defense white paper on strategy offers the latest high-level doctrinal and strategic expression of Beijing’s military development efforts—and indicates more specifically how SMS (2013) is being refined, amplified, and implemented in practice. In particular, it suggests that China’s leadership is embracing new realities and displaying new sophistication in prioritizing and envisioning maritime force development, integration, and utilization across a wide range of peacetime and wartime contingencies. It charges the PLA with safeguarding China’s increasingly complex, far-ranging interests through an ideally seamless comprehensive approach combining peacetime presence and pressure with combat readiness. There is unprecedented emphasis on maritime interests and operations to uphold them—imposing new challenges and opportunities on China’s maritime forces, with the PLAN at their core. The DWP goes so far as to state that the “traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned… great importance has to be attached to managing the seas and oceans and protecting maritime rights and interests.” It underscores determination to strengthen Chinese “strategic management of the sea” and “build a combined, multi-functional and efficient marine combat force structure.”
These official publications build logically on predecessor documents and are echoed rather consistently in other contemporary documents. Reflective of China’s increasing naval and maritime developments at home and growing interests and activities abroad, they embody no less than an ongoing Chinese transformation from a land power into a hybrid land-sea power. This reality is underscored by the unprecedentedly robust maritime content in the 13th Five Year Plan (FYP) (2016–20) passed by the National People’s Congress and released on March 17, 2016. Operationalizing many of the concepts discussed in the aforementioned publications, this most authoritative and comprehensive of all national planning documents declares that China will:
1. Build itself into a “maritime power”
2. Strengthen the exploration and development of marine resources
3. Deepen historical and legal research on maritime issues
4. Create a highly effective system for protecting overseas interests and safeguard the legitimate overseas rights/interests of Chinese citizens and legal persons
5. Actively promote the construction of strategic strong points (战略支点) for the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”
6. Strengthen construction of reserve forces, especially maritime mobilization forces [2]
Given the strong demonstrable link between China’s official writings about military and naval strategy and its ongoing implementation of much of their content in practice, these vital texts offer signs of Beijing’s past, present, and future course and speed at sea.
Chinese Naval Strategy under Xi
Chinese doctrinal publications and the “facts on the water” that they inform are noteworthy for both their strategic consistency and their rapidity of physical implementation (in terms of hardware and personnel development and deployment, as operational employment). Whereas SMS 2001 was a sweeping intellectual treatise outlining both the general rationale for things that China was beginning in practice and many less tangible aspirations for further progress, the 2013 edition describes in more acute, compelling detail a significant step forward in maritime security development that is clearly unfolding in practice before the watchful eyes of foreign observers. The latest iteration of Science of Military Strategythus builds on its predecessors as part of a logical continuum. Several differences between the 2001 and 2013 editions merit emphasis:
· Shift from “Local War under High Tech Conditions” to “Local War under Informatized Conditions”
· Adoption of a two-layered strategy: “Near-Seas Defense, Far-Seas Operations” (近海防御、远海防卫)
· Enhancing “active defense” to distance potential enemy operations from China’s shores
· Expanding strategic space in keeping with national interests
· Unprecedented stressing of the need to engage in “strategic prepositioning”
· Increased emphasis on MOOTW and international maritime contributions
SMS 2013 argues that China must build geographically outward on its existing doctrine of “active defense” by “carrying out forward edge defense” and therefore extend the potential culminating point of any future conflict as far from the mainland as possible. In an era in which China’s national interests have “surpassed the traditional territorial, territorial sea, and territorial airspace scope to continuously expand toward the periphery and the world, continuously extending toward the ocean, space, and electromagnetic space,” and in which “the main war threat has switched from the traditional inland direction toward the ocean direction,” the PLA “must expand its military strategic view and provide strong and powerful strategic support within a greater spatial scope to maintain [China’s] national interests.” Under these conditions, Chinese strategists fear specifically that a “strong adversary” (a euphemistic reference to the United States, perhaps working with one or more allies) will project “its comprehensive distant combat superiority in the oceanic direction” to threaten China’s interests. Accordingly, “the difficulty of guarding the home territory from the home territory and guarding the near seas from the near seas will become greater and greater.” Therefore, the PLA must “externally push the strategic forward edge from the home territory to the periphery, from land to sea, from air to space, and from tangible spaces to intangible spaces.”
The concept of “forward edge defense” articulated in SMS 2013 has clear naval-maritime implications; it feeds the general call for strategic capabilities projection radiating coast-, sea-, and ocean-ward from China’s continental core, and specifically for the establishment of a Chinese “arc-shaped strategic zone that covers the Western Pacific Ocean and Northern Indian Ocean.” Should China lose the strategic initiative, this “protruding” arc can become a “strategic outer line” whose deterrence, absorption, and control is enabled by “operations with the mainland and the coastal waters as the strategic inner line.” This relates to a formulation appearing increasingly in this and other Chinese sources: “using the land to control the sea, and using the seas to control the oceans” (以陆制海, 以海制洋). In keeping with the outward expansion of Chinese defense parameters, the first half of this phrase (representing a continental approach to maritime security) has long been employed in Chinese writings, but the second half (befitting Beijing’s emerging hybrid land-sea power posture) is newer in its emphasis.
PLA strategists see the PLA Navy as now being in its third historical period, in which the previous period’s strategy of “near-seas defense” has been joined by an additional outer layer of “far-seas protection” (远海护卫). As the 2015 DWP elaborates, “The PLAN will continue to organize and perform regular combat readiness patrols and maintain a military presence in relevant sea areas” while also developing growing power projection capabilities as a limited blue water navy.
This is clear doctrinal enshrinement of the hierarchically prioritized, layered approach to Chinese maritime/military development and deployment that may be observed inductively from a plethora of data points and sources. It is precisely this current concept that the PLAN and its sister sea services are presently in the process of growing into and fulfilling.
Beginning in 2004 with Hu Jintao’s assigning “New Historic Missions” to the PLA and a corresponding new strategy to the PLAN, the third era in the service’s development “gradually extends the strategic front lines from the near-seas outward into the far-seas, where national survival and development interests [are also at stake].” Answering this call is requiring the PLAN to “deal with multivariate maritime threats” and “accomplish diverse maritime missions.”
As part of “preparation for military struggle” in order to safeguard China’s “expanding national interests,” the PLAN must “deal with informatized maritime local war.” The 2015 DWP further emphasizes “winning informatized local wars” (打赢信息化局部战争) as the new “basic point” of China’s latest “military strategic guideline.” In an indication of growing emphasis on furthering outstanding island and maritime claims in the Near Seas, the document stresses that “basic point for [Preparation for Military Struggle] will be placed on winning informatized local wars, highlighting maritime military struggle and maritime PMS.” Under these conditions, Science of Military Strategy (2013) assigns the PLAN eight “strategic missions”:
1. Participate in large-scale operations in the main strategic axis of operations.
2. Contain and resist sea-borne invasions.
3. Protect island sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.
4. Protect maritime transportation security.
5. Engage in protecting overseas interests and the rights/interests of Chinese nationals.
6. Engage in carrying out nuclear deterrence and counterattack.
7. Coordinate with the military struggle on land.
8. Protect the security of international sea space.
In order to fulfill its eight “strategic missions,” the PLAN must make five specific efforts:
1. Comprehensively strengthen the construction of maritime information systems.
2. Accelerate the navy’s development of next-generation main battle armaments.
3. Strive to develop sea-based strategic nuclear forces.
4. Adjust maritime force deployment and battlefield layout.
5. Concentrate on the features of future naval war to optimize force structure.
Finally, with respect to preparing for its potential strategic use in war in accordance with China’s overall maritime combat capabilities under informatized conditions, AMS strategists argue that the PLAN should “highlight” four aspects in its preparations for future naval operations: operational depth, offensive operations, Integrated Joint Operations, and asymmetric warfare.
These admonitions are grounded conceptually in the continuous, progressive geographic and conceptual expansion of China’s national security interests. In an operational sense, strategic space clearly helps create depth for the implementation of China’s active defense strategy and the amorphous lines and areas at sea wherein it would wage maritime combat, including maritime people’s war. However, a more complex question of interpretation remains concerning how precisely Xi is directing his military/maritime forces and related actors to address China’s expanding interests.
In this vein, SMS 2013 calls for “relying on one’s home territory while moderately expanding the strategic space” (依托本土适度拓展战略空间), a phrase with numerous possible interpretations. The crux of the matter is the term “本土,” which SMS 2013 employs frequently but does not define directly, and the physical locations to which it refers. Given China’s emphasis officially on the “indisputable” nature of its sweeping claims in the South China Sea in this document and elsewhere, this ambiguous yet potentially broadly inclusive term may refer not only to mainland China, but also all South China Sea islands, reefs, and other features claimed by Beijing. The “favorable conditions” and “laying a solid foundation” to which the authors allude could thus refer to increasing presence in claimed areas to demonstrate administration and enforcement, all the better to solidify the territorial foundation for forward-supported strategic expansion. China’s aforementioned “island building” and maritime fortification activities would follow directly from such an approach.
At a minimum, the authors envision a very significant further outward-expansion of China’s interests, capabilities, and forces. This involves a Chinese maritime theater concept not widely discussed in previous authoritative Chinese documents: the idea of a dual Indo-Pacific focus for China’s navy, as encapsulated in the aforementioned “arc-shaped strategic zone that covers the Western Pacific Ocean and Northern Indian Ocean.” This zone is now termed the “Two Oceans region/area” (两洋地区) in authoritative sources, and is described as “mainly” including “the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, as well as the littoral regions of neighboring Asia, Africa, Oceania, North America, South America, and Antarctica, etc., with a total area occupying over 50 percent of the globe; within which the Two Oceans have a total area of 254.6 million square meters, occupying 71 percent of the global ocean area.”
The authors of SMS 2013 describe the Two Oceans region as being extremely important to China and its security interests. It represents “a crucial area in influencing” China’s “strategic development and security in the future” as well as “the intermediate zone of our entrance into the Atlantic Ocean region, Mediterranean Sea region, and Arctic Ocean region.” In accordance with the globalizing nature of China’s activities, they declare, its “national interests will surpass in an extremely large manner the traditional territorial land, territorial sea, and territorial air scope, while the Two Oceans region will become the most important platform and medium.” On this basis, Chinese actors “will create conditions to establish ourselves in the Two Oceans region, participate in resource extraction and space utilization of the oceans, and boost development in the two polar regions.”
To be sure, the authors allow, new challenges and “security threats” of both a traditional and a non-traditional nature should be expected to accompany this sweeping geostrategic expansion, “especially [from] the oceanic direction.” These interrelated factors, in turn, offer an impetus for further security development, in a manner that is likely to offer continued rationale for concerted qualitative and quantitative development of the PLAN for years to come. Even amid continued hierarchical prioritization, Chinese strategists appear to have left the PLAN considerable geographic “room to grow” for even its most important operations: literally half the globe!
Conclusion: Sea Change Underway
Analyzed in juxtaposition over time, and compared against specific empirical manifestations of Beijing’s burgeoning efforts in the maritime domain, China’s major doctrinal publications and public statements reveal a sea change in strategic priorities and emerging capabilities to further them. China retains an incremental approach, in keeping with a disciplined hierarchy of national security priorities, but this layered development is already making major outward-radiating waves as the Middle Kingdom turns increasingly seaward as a hybrid land-sea great power.
Whether viewed deductively from strategic intentions, or inductively from development, operational, and tactical actions, China’s increasingly-modernized and -integrated maritime forces—centered on the PLAN—are pursuing a two-fold effort: intensive “near seas active defense” of outstanding island and maritime claims on China’s maritime periphery, coupled with “far seas protection” of more diffuse, diverse interests beyond.
Real-world developments, particularly ongoing Chinese activities vis-à-vis the South China Sea, suggest that the strategic thinking embodied in the various iterations of SMS, the DWP, and related official publications and statements is strongly indicative of actual PLA planning and action—both now and in the future. Analysts of China’s armed forces in general, and its navy in particular, should therefore continue to consider in-depth what some of Beijing’s latest conceptual thinking may mean increasingly in practice in coming years. In that regard, three concepts in particular should enjoy top priority for further explication: Chinese “home territory” and its role in force projection, the nature and expansion of Chinese “strategic space,” and activities and prioritization within the “Two Oceans” strategic zone envisioned for heightened naval operations.
Dr. Andrew S. Erickson is Professor of Strategy in, and a core founding member of, the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute. He serves on the Naval War College Review’s Editorial Board. Since 2008 he has been an Associate in Research at Harvard University’s John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Erickson received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Princeton University and studied Mandarin at Beijing Normal University’s College of Chinese Language and Culture. He can be reached through
1. Academy of Military Science Military Strategic Research Department [军事科学院军事战略研究部], The Science of Military Strategy [战略学] (Beijing: Military Science Press, 2013); “China’s Military Strategy” [中国的军事战略] (Beijing: State Council Information Office, PRC, May 2015),
2. Su Xiangdong [苏向东], Editor, China’s Five Year Plan for Social and Economic Development (Full Text) [中国国民经济和社会发展第十三个五年规划纲要 (全文)], Xinhua, March 17, 2016,,,, The author appreciates Ryan Martinson’s bringing these documents to his attention.

MCR Wins $8.1 Million NATO Contract

July 20, 2016 - MCR Global, LLC, a premier provider of integrated program management services to the U.S. government and Allied nations, has been awarded a four-year contract for approximately $8.1 million by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to provide key program management and technical support services to Supreme Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and Allied Command Operations (ACO).
MCR will be responsible for providing a program management capability for NATO’s Automated Information System and General Purpose Communications Systems. The capabilities include requirements management, engineering evaluation, change management, business change management and overall program governance.
The four-year contract includes a two-year base period and a two-year option. The support will be provided on-site at ACT Headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, and ACO Headquarters in Mons, Belgium.
NATO’s two strategic commands, ACT and ACO, are working jointly to develop, manage, and field a portfolio of projects under its Bi-Strategic Commands Automated Information System (BI-SC AIS) program. The principal aim of the program management office is to improve the quality, timelines, cost-effectiveness and interoperability of AIS services to the commands. Those services include IT modernization; the integration of logistics functions; the integration of Intel services; the provision of information assurance and cyber defense; data, voice and streaming media services; deployable communication; and a variety of command and control system integration critical to NATO missions.
“MCR is extremely proud of our work supporting NATO’s vital missions. For more than two decades, MCR has provided our unique program management, technical analysis, and enterprise transformation expertise to NATO Agencies. We are delighted to expand that support to NATO’s two strategic commands and look forward to assisting the alliance in delivering the next generation of AIS to our forces on-time, within cost, and with the promised capability,” said MCR Global’s President, Paul R. Marston.

Royal Navy Statement on HMS Ambush Collision

Royal Navy

July 20, 2016 - At approximately 1330 local time today, HMS Ambush, an Astute-class submarine, while submerged and conducting a training exercise was involved in a glancing collision with a merchant vessel off the coast of Gibraltar. We are in contact with the merchant vessel and initial indications are that it has not sustained damage.
The submarine suffered some external damage but there is absolutely no damage to her nuclear plant and no member of the ship’s company was injured in the incident.
An immediate investigation is being conducted.
The submarine will be entering Gibraltar later this evening for further checks. There are no safety concerns associated with HMS Ambush being alongside.

The history of "viper": boats stand up, and the money floated

Google Translation

July 7, 2016 - The major share of funding for the "all-round support of the Naval Forces of Ukraine" will go to the company, controlled by Petro Poroshenko, whereas they produced "raw" boat has not yet been incorporated into the fleet.

The history of "viper": boats stand up, and the money floated

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, speaking on Sunday July 3 in Odessa at the celebrations commemorating the Day of the Naval Forces, declared that "it is now a part of the Naval Forces of Ukraine will include two armored artillery boat".
The event is truly remarkable when you consider that the previous new warship corvette "Ternopil" Naval Forces of Ukraine was adopted over 10 years ago - 16 January 2006 , however, as often happened, the words of the president not all untrue, so he himself immediately I had to add that "the boat was transferred today to the battle-tested on setting into service." Thus, officially confirmed the information that has become publicly known in mid-November last year, when at least a festive atmosphere in the territory of PJSC "Plant" Lenin's smithy "These boats were lowered into the water. Then some media hurried to notify that they are "on their own went to the Black sea, which will be included in the Naval Forces of Ukraine". However, for the many yellow-blue balloon could not hide the lack of boats, not only the power plant, but also almost the entire set of equipment and weapons, including a navigation radar, integrated system communications and navigation, sensors detect the laser irradiation and optronic fire control system.

The history of "viper": boats stand up, and the money floated

Screenshot reportage from the ceremony of launching the first boat "Gurza-M" for the Naval Forces of Ukraine. November 11, 2015

It soon became clear that the recent Ukrainian marine applications yet to completion of the Odessa dockyard "Shipyard Ukraine" (the former shipyard named after the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Ukraine), which is part of the SE "Odessa Commercial Sea Port", after which she passing state tests will be admitted to the fleet. The implication was that this would happen to the Day of Naval Forces of Ukraine - July 3, 2016 Ukrainian military were so convinced that, pending the completion of the test, in April of this year, Deputy Minister of Defence, Lieutenant-General Igor Pavlovsky said that "the Defense Ministry ordered the factory has four similar small armored artillery boat, and within the next month will be laid two more boats of a different class, "in which experts identified amphibious assault ships of the project" Centaur ". However, after 8 months after the boats have left his native Kiev enterprise, it was reported that "during the test and the firing revealed numerous shortcomings in the armored structure, so the fleet can not take them into service in such a way. Now the test suspended to eliminate mistakes." As a result, at the festival with the participation of the President of Ukraine had to limit ourselves to the official assignment of the ships names -. "Berdyansk" and "Ackermann" that Poroshenko somehow considered "settlements, symbolizing our martial and national unity" Along the way, it turned out that, although in the February 2016 boats took to sea trials, they are still deprived of many essential components, and even some of the equipment during transportation in Odessa has been damaged or lost. The main problem was the failure of supplies naval electro-optical fire control system Artillery small and medium caliber "Owl" development and production of the State Enterprise "Research Institute" Quantum ", mainly specializing in maritime subjects, whose losses in the January 1, 2016 amounted to 3,761 mln., while wage arrears exceeded 15 million USD. Only in February and March to Odessa from Kiev were sent both sets of "owls" who do not even have passed factory testing, and in a very "raw" state. This, according to experts can "move" the timing of operation of the first two boats in the fall of this year, and even at the beginning of the next. Another problem became sensors detect laser light, which to "Crimean spring" supplied Feodosia official optical plant. in order to accelerate the replacement process order was also referred to the "Quantum", the technical requirements from the Ministry of Defense reduced, so the boat got sensors in the land, not the sea execution.

The history of "viper": boats stand up, and the money floated

Both boats mounted sensors detect laser (circled in red), and only one - ECO MSA "Owl" (circled in green), the radar of Furano (circled in blue). March 2016

Western radar Furano also been imported SE "Spetstehnoeksport" after the departure of boats to Odessa. How this "innovative" approach to bringing to mind the state of combat marine equipment affected the overall cost, judge does not take one, but the delay timing can easily be ascertained by comparison with the same small anti-submarine ship "Ternopil" that left "Lenin smithy" September 23, 2005 and completed the acceptance tests after 3.5 months, although it had a more complex structure than the ill-fated boat. Enough bad omen is the fact numerous claims for boats and equipment of similar types that come from exploiting them for several years, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Last negative point in the history of the Ukrainian "viper-M" is associated with the prospects of its application and, accordingly, the need for order. According to the technical project of the boat project designed to carry combat watch in the border waters of the shallow waters - rivers, lakes and coastal marine area, patrolling and protection of water lines, as well as to combat the small-sized ships and to facilitate landing and borderline groups. In general, it is a good boat to combat smugglers. This complex task is responsible weapons and local protection in the 4-6 mm of armor, which, however, it is not sufficient to counter the Russian Navy, which implies a new Ukrainian military doctrine. Evil tongues insist that "Gurza" went solely due to the fact that its manufacturer is "Lenin's smithy", the owner of which - the current President of Ukraine. At the same time they are reminded that both the test current boats should have been delivered Naval Forces of Ukraine at the end of 2013, but due to the poor quality of the plant works, "Lenin's smithy" in the December 2013 MOU terminated the contract, planning to transfer the construction of these boats to another company. Construction was resumed in the autumn of 2014 as "extraordinary military order", the need for which is highly questionable. At the same time the information on the payment of "Lenkuzney" penalties for missed deadlines and failure to comply with the first and second and no government contracts, though such sanctions necessarily provided as contracted. In fact, in November last year, in exchange for additional funding for the company were transferred to the military president unfinished housing, remaining from the previous unfulfilled state order. This is confirmed by the analysis of the main indicators of financial and economic activity for 2014 and 2015, which is quite a significant improvement. So the net loss was reduced by 28 million. UAH., And a workforce grew by 54 people and reached 378. At the same time 125 million. UAH. reduced current financial liabilities that miraculously coincided with the fact of launching unfinished boats. Is it any wonder that the same Poroshenko, speaking on July 3 in Odessa, was extremely dissatisfied "software Naval Forces of Ukraine needs," noting that "Measures taken by the Cabinet Ministers, Ministry of defense and the General staff, at present do not satisfy the needs of all-round support of the naval forces of Ukraine ". After all, the main share of funds will go to an entity controlled by him ...

Author Diana Mikhailova