30 June 2014

AUS: Missile upgrade will boost Navy protection

Evolved Seasparrow Missile (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

Royal Australian Navy warships will be better protected against the threat of anti-ship missiles following a decision that opens the way to equip the ships with an upgraded version of the Evolved Seasparrow missile system, the Minister for Defence, Senator David Johnston, announced today.

Australia has elected to continue its participation in the NATO Seasparrow Consortium Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) program that commenced in 1990.

Senator Johnston said the First Pass Approval for the upgraded ‘Block 2’ version of the Evolved Seasparrow missile would lead to a significant boost in Australia’s ability to defend its fleet against the next generation of anti-ship missile threats by delivering a more sophisticated ship self-defence missile to the Navy. The Block 2 upgrade will primarily focus on developing improvements to the missile’s guidance system.

USA: Multinational Pacific Partnership Medical Team Helps Thousands in Cambodia

By Lt. Cmdr. Kim E. Dixon, Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (NNS) -- Medical and dental practitioners from seven countries provided clinical services to more than 4,000 Cambodians over six days as part of the Pacific Partnership 2014 engagement concluding June 27. 

Approximately 116 doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, and medical assistants from the U.S., Japan, Australia, Republic of Korea, Chile, and Malaysia worked with counterparts from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), holding two three-day clinics at sites in Takeo and Sikanoukville. 

The medical practitioners worked in integrated teams, with each team consisting of at least one Pacific Partnership member nation and an RCAF member, providing basic medical care for adults and children, eyeglasses, dental extractions, nutrition advice, and prescription medications. While having the effect of providing practical services to the people of the area, the greater Pacific Partnership mission was key behind the personnel manning.

News Story: PLA constructing more Type 054A frigates

The Yueyang, a Type 054A guided-missile frigate of the People's Liberation Army Navy, is participating in the ongoing RIMPAC 2014 joint naval exercise held in Hawaii, and the country is already underway constructing more frigates of the same class, reports the state-run China News Service.

The Yueyang is in fact the 14th vessel among its other sister ships. With 575 as its hull number, the vessel was launched on May 10, 2012, and began its sea trials in September of that year before eventually entering the PLA Navy in March, 2013. The Yueyang, like other ships of its class, is designed to provide fleet air defense and can also coordinate with other vessels and naval aircraft in battle against enemy warships and submarines, CNS said.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: North Korea Fires Missiles Ahead of Xi's Seoul Visit

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — North Korea Sunday fired two ballistic missiles into the sea, Seoul’s military said, in an apparent show of force ahead of a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the South.

The North fired the missiles into the East Sea (Sea of Japan) Sunday morning, a defense ministry official told AFP.

“Both landed in international waters beyond its sea border,” the official said.

He did not elaborate on the type of the missile. But Yonhap news agency, citing a military official, said they were short-range Scud missiles with a range of about 500 kilometers (300 miles).

The launch came three days after Pyongyang fired what were believed to be three short-range missiles into the sea on Thursday.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: China Lets Its Oil Rigs Do the Talking

By Luke Hunt

A meeting with ASEAN has made little progress on resolving maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

It passed with barely a word. A two-day meet in Bali this week was supposed to improve relations between China and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It was touted widely in the Chinese-friendly press but in the end not even the sycophantic scribes of Beijing had much to say.
Senior officials were meeting on the Indonesian island as part of a joint working group to thrash out  a common approach to resolving maritime disputes in the South China Sea – known as the East Sea in Vietnam and the West Philippine Sea in Manila.
But Beijing’s stance ahead of the meeting probably did not help the 11th ASEAN/China meet, which was meant to make some inroads on the much-vaunted Code of Conduct (CoC), first raised in 2002, and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DoC) in the South China Sea. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: History Lessons for China and Japan

By Paula Harrell

Both countries have shown the ability to accommodate and cooperate in the past. Can they do so again?

This year has seen a spate of retrospective analyses of the horrific war in Europe that began July 28 a century ago, so named the Great War for its unprecedented scale, death count, and destabilizing aftershocks reverberating as far as Asia. How this could have happened, should Britain have entered the war at all, and what was the ultimate meaning of the war are still the stuff of intense controversy and debate. The Britain-Japan-China part of the story, a sidelight to the war engulfing Europe, has gotten less attention. Yet it, too, begs for further explanation of policy choices and cascading consequences that led to a disastrous turn in East Asian politics in the decades to follow.
Britain and Japan in 1914 were linked by treaty obligations under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902-1923), the first-ever reciprocal agreement between a Western and an Asian power. The relationship was already showing signs of strain, chiefly over access to the vast China market, but growing distrust took second place to immediate political calculations: for Britain, the promise of Japanese assistance to counter German naval power in the Pacific, on Japan’s part, assurances of British support in the takeover of German-leased territory in China. On these terms, Japan declared war on Germany just a few weeks after Britain decided to intervene on the side of France and Russia in early August. The payoff to Britain from its Asian ally came not in the Pacific but in the Mediterranean, where in 1917 Japanese destroyers provided protection to British merchant shipping. Japan reaped its reward in 1919 when the dealmakers at the Versailles Peace Conference recognized Japan’s claims to former German holdings in China, news that triggered widespread Chinese protests in early May. Indeed, in China May 7 became popularly known as “National Humiliation Day.” 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Surface Warfare Must Take the Offensive

By RADM Thomas S. Rowden

In an A2/AD world, Surface Warfare must “go on the offensive” to enable future power projection.

The single most important warfighting advantage that the U.S. Navy brings to the joint force is the ability to project significant amounts of combat power from the sea, thousands of miles from our own shores on relatively short notice and with few geopolitical restraints.  No one else can do this, and for the better part of two decades, our ability to do so was unchallenged.  Without this challenge, our mastery of the fundamentals of sea control—searching for and killing submarines, over the horizon engagement of enemy fleets, and long range air and missile defense—diminished, even as the world figured out that the best way to neutralize this power projection advantage was to deny us the very seas in which we operate.
Surface Warfare must “go on the offensive” in order to enable future power projection operations.  I call this “offensive sea control” and it takes into consideration that in future conflict, we may have to fight to get forward, fight through our own lines, and then fight to stay forward.  Pieces of ocean, will come to be seen as strategic, like islands and ports, and we will offensively “seize” these maritime operating areas to enable further offensive operations.  Put another way, no one viewed the amphibious landings in the Pacific in WWII as “defensive;” there was broad understanding that their seizure was offensive and tied to further offensive objectives.  It is now so with the manner in which we will exercise sea control.
What does this mean to fleet Sailors?  It means that we have to hit the books, dust off old TACMEMOS and begin to think deeply again about what it means to own the inner screen against submarines, to hunt down and destroy adversary surface vessels over the horizon, and to tightly control the outer air battle.  We need to study the new threats and devise innovative tactics to counter them.  We need to master the technology that is coming to the fleet—Navy Integrated Fire Control (Counter Air), or NIFC-CA; the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR); the SQQ-89 A(V)15 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Combat System; the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) ASW Mission Module; the introduction of the Griffin missile in the PC class; new classes of Standard Missiles; Rail Gun; and Directed Energy. We will need to learn these systems and then do what Sailors always do—figure out ways to employ them that the designers never considered. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: South Korea and the Trilateral Dilemma

By Se Young Jang

Can Seoul overcome domestic sentiment on Japan and agree to trilateral cooperation on military intelligence sharing?

The United States, South Korea (ROK), and Japan are currently negotiating a memorandum of understanding on sharing military intelligence. Until recently, South Korea has been reluctant to engage in any such discussions given the politically sensitive nature of its relationship with Japan. The agreement could still fail for a number of reasons: domestic politics in Korea, the potential repercussions of such cooperation on China’s attitude, or disagreements over the scope of future military cooperation. If the negotiations succeed, however, the agreement would be a significant first step in political and military cooperation among these countries.
President Barack Obama’s Asia tour in April demonstrated his intention to soothe the troubled relations between the close U.S. allies in Northeast Asia. The spats between South Korea and Japan over historical and territorial issues are an obstacle to Washington’s rebalancing plans. Obama sought to please each government during stopovers in Seoul and Tokyo, while pushing forward with plans to strengthen trilateral military cooperation.
While in Japan, Obama gave Shinzo Abe what the Japanese prime minister wanted: acknowledgement that the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands are Japanese territory. “Our treaty commitment to Japan’s security is absolute, and Article 5 covers all territories under Japan’s administration, including the Senkaku Islands,” said the president at a joint press conference with Abe on April 24. It is notable that Obama is the first incumbent U.S. president to have “overtly stated that the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands fall within the purview of the U.S.-Japan security treaty.”
Nor did Obama disappoint South Korean President Park Geun-hye. At a joint press conference with Park, Obama said that “what happened to the comfort women here in South Korea” was “a terrible, egregious violation of human rights.” The two leaders also agreed to consider delaying the handover of the wartime operational control (OPCON) to South Korea, originally scheduled for December 2015. The U.S. government had pushed for Seoul to stick to the original target date for the OPCON transfer, but finally decided to accept South Korea’s request to delay it. 
Read the full story at The Diplomat

28 June 2014

NZ: World’s largest maritime exercise is underway

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says HMNZS Canterbury has arrived in Hawaii this morning as Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) gets underway.

“HMNZS Canterbury’s docking at Pearl Harbor marks the first time in 30 years since a New Zealand ship berthed at a US Naval Base for RIMPAC. It is a tangible sign of the warmth of our relationship with the US,” says Dr Coleman.

“RIMPAC is a unique opportunity for the NZDF to strengthen relationships and interoperability with a wide range of partners. For the next month, 23 countries will exercise a range of capabilities including disaster relief, maritime security operations, and complex warfighting.

“RIMPAC helps to develop co-operative approaches to regional security and maritime conduct. As a trading nation New Zealand appreciates the importance of maritime security.


CANTERBURY passing the USS ARIZONA Memorial

The Navy’s amphibious sealift ship HMNZS CANTERBURY this morning berthed in Hawaii, ready to join forces with ships, aircraft and personnel from around the world.

The crew of 123 sailors and officers will spend some time alongside for shore briefings, before proceeding to sea with over 40 surface ships and submarines involved in the largest international maritime exercise in the world, Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

It's great to have CANTERBURY representing Navy and the NZ Defence Force, says the Commanding Officer, Commander David Turner. 

“We’re training and working with our allies and friends. All these different nations coming together in a collaborative way is fantastic to be a part of; it offers a great learning opportunity for my ship’s company.”

“CANTERBURY can offer a lot to this exercise, she is very suitable for humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR), so working with other nations and sharing information and tactics means we can be there to help effectively when we’re needed.”

HMNZS CANTERBURY departed Devonport on 3 June sailing to Hawaii via Townsville to offload NZ Army personnel and equipment for an Australian land forces exercise. 

In the spirit of international cooperation for which Ex RIMPAC is renowned, CANTERBURY embarked 117 Australian Army infantry soldiers and their field equipment for their 18-day passage across the Pacific from Townsville. 

USA: Pacific Partnership Concludes in Cambodia

By MC2 Karolina A. Oseguera

<< Adm. Tea Vinh, commander of the Royal Cambodian Navy, delivers remarks at the Pacific Partnership Cambodia closing ceremony. (U.S. Navy/MCC Greg Badger)

SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia - Pacific Partnership 2014 in Cambodia came to a close June 27 with a ceremony held on the pier alongside the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Kunisaki (LST 4003).

“It has been a privilege to be here in Cambodia,” said Rear Adm. Russell Allen, deputy commander of U.S. 7th Fleet. “This has been a wonderful experience for learning that has brought forth so many great accomplishments."

Allen was joined at the podium by U.S. Embassy in Cambodia Charge d’Affaires Jeff Daigle, Sihanouk province Deputy Governor Her Excellency Prak Chan Sokha, and Cambodian navy Adm. Tea Vinh.

USA: Midshipmen Get Hands On Experience During Multinational Exercise

USS Peleliu (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Farrington, USS Peleliu Public Affairs

USS Peleliu, At Sea (NNS) -- Midshipmen who chose to do their summer cruise aboard USS Peleliu (LHA 5) received the added bonus of participating in exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014, the world's largest multinational naval exercise.

Their summer cruise training began, June 17, and continues through, August 1.

"It's incredible that we get to be a part of RIMPAC," said Midshipman Chloe Pina. "We get to spend time with Sailors from other countries and learn from them as well as the officers in the wardroom."

The Midshipmen stood conning officer watch on the bridge during replenishments-at-sea, attended navigation briefs and department head meetings. They also learned celestial navigation, experienced helicopter operations, participated in damage control training and a variety of other shipboard evolutions and watches.

USA: Marine Corps Returns to its Amphibious ‘Wheelhouse’

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2014 – After more than a decade of land-based combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Marine Corps’ new Expeditionary Force 21 doctrine is returning the service to its amphibious roots, a senior Marine Corps official said yesterday.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck Jr., deputy commandant for Combat Development and Integration and the commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command told reporters the new doctrine provides “the right force in the right place at the right time.”

The 45-page plan charts a course over the next 10 years to deploy Marine units up to expeditionary brigade-size for combat or humanitarian missions.

News Report: North Korea Hails 'Cutting-Edge' New Rocket

North Korea has announced the successful test of what state media are calling "cutting-edge, ultra-precision tactical guided missiles."

National leader Kim Jong-Un is said to have witnessed the launch, but no other details were released.

Analysts suggested the announcement by Pyongyang may have been referring to the communist state's launch of three projectiles into the Sea of Japan on Thursday - first reported by South Korea, which said the objects traveled just under 200 kilometers before falling into the sea.

Western observers say North Korea is not known to possess tactical guided missiles.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department criticzed North Korea's military activity. Spokeswoman Marie Harf said, "Technically, obviously, any launch of anything is problematic, is escalatory in nature, is threatening."

Both Koreas regularly carry out military drills near their disputed maritime border.

Earlier this year North Korea fired multiple rockets, including medium-range missiles, during a large-scale military exercise by American and South Korean troops.

This story first appeared on Voice of America & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: US-Philippines War Games Open in Disputed Waters

Simone Orendain

SUBIC BAY — This week the United States and Philippines launched military joint exercises in the South China Sea.  With a newly signed military agreement between the treaty allies, the Philippines, which is locked in a dispute with China over territorial claims in the sea, is now heavily focused on beefing up its maritime capabilities.

This year’s exercises include the Philippines’ two newest and biggest warships. Philippines fleet commander Rear Admiral Jaime Bernardino said the country is dealing with various “threats” at a time that its “modest” military upgrade is taking shape.

Bernardino said the Philippine troops need to train hard and get their ships ready.  He said the decades-old former U.S. coast guard cutters are “purposely being put to the test” now that they have been converted into frigates.

“You see these ships? Their capability [is] to detect aircraft, to detect submarines, to detect surface assets and [to] try to board and search,” he explained.

News Story: US-Japanese force would defeat PLA in Diaoyutai clash

Japanese media outlets continue to report that the People's Liberation Army would be defeated if the United States fought alongside Japan in a conflict over the disputed Diaoyutai islands (Senkaku to Japan, Diaoyu to China) in the East China Sea, according to Huanqiu, the website of China's nationalistic tabloid Global Times.

Under Tokyo's new National Defense Program Guidelines, an amphibious fighting unit consisting of 3,000 soldiers will be created to defend the contested islands, currently under Japan's administration, from a potential Chinese invasion.

Tokyo has also purchased 52 AAV7 amphibious assault vehicles as well as the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft from the United States for the amphibious fighting unit. However, Japan alone is not enough to defeat China if conflict were to break out.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: PLA's RIMPAC debut a 'leap of trust' - Asia expert

China's debut in the world's largest naval exercise is a "leap of trust" as it teams with the United States and US allies at a time of heightened regional tension over territorial disputes, a leading Australian Asia expert said on Friday.

Michael Wesley, professor of National Security at the Australian National University, told the ABC that China's inclusion in RIMPAC 2014 is highly significant.

"It's important to include China in these sorts of coalition exercises in order to offset what is probably a growing belief in China that it is being encircled by tightening alliances and partnerships among its neighbors, and the United States.

"I think that it's also a reasonable leap of trust by the Chinese that they will take part in these US-led exercises that will be heavily participated in by US allies as well."

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: Indonesia takes first delivery of 26 German-made Leopard 2A6 tanks and 26 Marder 1A2 AIFV

Leopard Tank (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

A total of 52 combat vehicles, consisting of 26 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks and 26 medium-sized Marder 1A2 infantry fighting vehicles, will be shipped from the city of Unterluss following a brief ceremony early this week, which will be attended by Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, Indonesia’s deputy defense minister, and Gen. Pramono Edhie Wibowo, retired Army chief of staff.

The former general declined to give the exact expected delivery date for the first batch of combat vehicles, but mentioned they would be arrive in time to be displayed in Jakarta for the Indonesian Military’s (TNI) anniversary on Oct. 5.

Read the full story at Army Recognition

News Story: French Minister's Visit to India To Feature Talks on Rafale Sale


NEW DELHI — Discussions to resolve contract differences on India’s planned purchase of Dassault Rafale fighters for its $12 billion Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program are likely to top the agenda when French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius begins a two-day visit to New Delhi on June 30.

A diplomat in the French Embassy said they hope for an early conclusion of the contract for the Rafale, which has been negotiated for more than two years. India’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Dassault officials have held dozens of meetings to iron out issues relating to transfer of technology, production processes and cost of the Rafale to be produced in India.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: China’s Media Endorses RIMPAC (Well, Sort Of)

By Zachary Keck

A Global Times editorial endorses RIMPAC and Sino-U.S. military cooperation, but it isn’t happy about it.

An editorial in the Global Times “endorses” China’s participation in RIMAC in a way that only Chinese state media — and the Global Times in particular — could.
The piece of course begins by pointing out that the “U.S.-led RIMPAC is a remnant of the Cold War. It was originally directed against the Soviet Union, but nowadays the target is deliberately made vague [my emphasis].” As Ankit pointed out over at Flashpoints, China’s media has typically characterized RIMPAC as an effort at containing China. It’s interesting to note that China’s participation in RIMPAC hasn’t changed this position — but Chinese media now expresses this view slightly less explicitly.
After noting that the Sino-U.S. relationship has generally improved recently — or, as the article puts it, they have built a “new type of great power relations” as Xi Jinping claimed they would — GT points out that “radical figures from both countries think the joint military exercise is nothing but a ‘vanity project’ which does not help improve bilateral ties.” Where does GT come down on this issue? It believes strongly that “Such views are not necessarily true [my emphasis].” Why aren’t they necessarily true? Why because “Even superficial friendly moves are important” of course!
That being said, GT notes that there are “key discrepancies” between the two sides that do need to be “clarified.” What are these? Well, for one, the U.S. believes that “China’s sovereignty protection acts in the East China Sea and the South China Sea” are emblematic of its larger ambitions to push the U.S. out of the region. GT does the public service of clarifying this key discrepancy between the two sides by explaining that “U.S. views are dominated by a hegemonic mentality.” It’s unclear whether all U.S. views suffer from this ailment or just U.S. views on “China’s sovereignty protection acts.” Whatever the case, it’s worth pointing out that when it comes to China’s sovereignty protection acts in the China Seas, the entire region besides China seems to have come down with the same hegemonic mentality. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China Is a Different Kind of Global Power

By Dingding Chen

Don’t expect China to become another United States. It’s a good thing that China is just being China.

Renowned China scholar David Shambaugh published an article inThe National Interest, asking a very important question: is China a global power? His conclusion is that China is not a global power, at least not yet. His main argument is that China is still very limited in five important dimensions of global power, i.e., international diplomacy, military capabilities, cultural presence, economic power, and domestic system.
They are many good points in Shambaugh’s argument. For example, he points out that China has been rather reactive and passive in global affairs. This has been true for the last three decades, since China embarked on the “reform and opening” movement in 1978. Deng Xiaoping’s famous doctrine “Keep a low profile” has essentially become China’s grand strategy since then. At times, China’s diplomacy appears clumsy and difficult to make sense of. China is still learning how to present herself in a sophisticated way on the global stage. Shambaugh is particularly right when he says, “China does not lead. It does not shape international diplomacy, drive other nations’ policies, forge global consensus, put together coalitions or solve problems.”
However, his main argument that China is not a global power is flawed for three important reasons. First, in Shambaugh’s article the definition of global power is not always clear. Clearly Shambaugh is using the U.S. as model of global power. But the U.S. is not just a global power, it is a global hegemon in many ways. Indeed, the influence of the U.S. on other states is unprecedented in human history thus rendering it unfair to compare China or any other global power to the United States. In addition, the U.S. was lucky in some sense because World War I and World War II basically destroyed other great powers, thereby simply handing superpower status to the United States. It is impossible for China to become another U.S. for a variety of historical, cultural, and social reasons. In this sense, whether or not China is a global power must be judged upon China’s relationships with many other equal states. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: The Closing of the Chinese Mind

By James R. Holmes

China’s new ideological control measures are a major strategic blunder.

Groupthink makes you stupid. That’s a simple insight that eludes authoritarians everywhere. And when the authoritarians get hold of a country, watch out. Yep, the Naval Diplomat is looking at you, China.
Surrounding yourself with sycophants while crushing freethinkers who might oppose your rule leaves you wearing Saddam Hussein’s shoes — stunned when presented with economic figures contradicting the sunny forecasts issued by yes-men. Or, the great Marshal Zhukov narrowly escaped Josef Stalin’s purges. Nor was Mao Zedong a slouch in the paranoia department. Having talent and ambition was hazardous in the extreme in Maoist China. Peng Dehuai, the great Red Army general, found himself purged. Peng died in prison after suffering through struggle sessions and torture. Countless Chinese shared his fate during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.
Dumb. Saddam, Stalin, and Mao were no models of statesmanship. By constricting the range of acceptable thought, they made their nations needlessly backward and stupid. Until recent years, though, it appeared as though China might kick its authoritarian habit. Yes, there was the Great Firewall of China. But some of the shackles came off. Debates over Chinese power and purposes in Asia and the world, for example, were remarkably spirited and freewheeling. But it seems thought reform is back with a vengeance under Xi Jinping. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: US Marines Plan Insurgent Amphibious Assaults

By Zachary Keck

A senior officer said the Marines will not undertake amphibious assaults in the mold of Iwo Jima in the future.

The U.S. Marine Corps does not plan on launching traditional amphibious assaults anymore, a senior officer told reporters on Thursday.
With the end of the post-9/11 wars, and the new rebalance to Asia, the U.S. Marines have been touting a return to their amphibious roots. However, the future will not look entirely the past, according to Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck, the commander of Marine Corps Combat Development Command.
Stars & Stripes reports that Glueck told journalists on Thursday that the Marines do not intend to carry out traditional assaults on enemy-controlled territory in the mold of Inchon, Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima during WWII. AS Glueck explained, “We’re not going to take [our assault ships and landing craft] right into the teeth of the enemy. We’re going to take it around to find the gaps and the seams around the flanks or even further.”
In a nutshell, the Marines “want to put strength against weakness…. We’re going to go … where they’re weak.” As part of this approach, Glueck said that the Marines will conduct most amphibious assaults at night.
The reasoning behind this shift is not difficult to ascertain. As I wrote on the occasion of the D-Day anniversary earlier this month, modern defense technologies have made amphibious assaults — always one of the most complicated military operations — exceedingly difficult. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

27 June 2014

Think Tank: What Australia should do in the South China Sea

By Benjamin Schreer

China continues to try changing the status quo in the South China Sea (SCS) through bullying its smaller neighbours and creating more facts on the ground. After moving an oil rig into an area contested by both China and Vietnam last month, Beijing is apparently planning to send a second one into the area. Meanwhile, it’s apparently constructing an airstrip and sea port on Fiery Cross Reef, a move which could see the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) strengthen its military reach into the SCS through the deployment of shorter-range tactical aircraft. That comes amidst ongoing tensions between China and the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal, as well as growing concerns in Malaysia and Indonesia about China’s territorial ambitions.

Let’s face it: China’s determined to push Southeast Asian countries into accepting what it perceives as its rightful territorial claims within the ‘nine dash line’. Scott Snyder isn’t alone in concluding that under President Xi Jinping’s leadership ‘China’s ability to exert its own sphere of influence in Asia is regarded as an expected benefit that will naturally accrue, regardless of the impact on the neighbourhood.’ The New York Times editorial board has also expressed concern about China’s ‘power grab’ in the SCS.

AUS: Australian company wins LHD sustainment contract

NUSHIP Canberra arriving in Sydney (File Photo)

Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston today announced an Australian company had been awarded a multi‑million dollar contract to sustain Australia’s new Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships.

Kellogg, Brown & Root Pty Ltd (KBR) has been awarded the key contract to provide Capability Support Coordinator (CSC) services for the LHDs over the next five years.

“KBR will bring their world-class asset management expertise to the sustainment of Australia’s new LHDs,” Senator Johnston said.

“This will ensure the vessels are always ready to meet their operational commitments, and maximise the availability of the ships throughout their 40-year lives.”

Senator Johnston said the two LHDs were the largest vessels constructed for Navy and the first, NUSHIP Canberra, was scheduled to be commissioned later this year.

Senator Johnston said the CSC contract contained a mix of fixed and tasked services budgeted at a price of more than $52 million over the five-year term of the contract.

“Importantly this contract has the potential to generate up to 50 new jobs in Sydney supporting the LHDs.”

Senator Johnston said the Government was committed to supporting the local ship building industry for a safe and secure Australia.

AUS: HMAS Arunta returns to sea (after ASMD upgrade)

A significant milestone has been achieved in the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) Upgrade Programme with HMAS Arunta setting sail for her sea acceptance trials this week.

Chief Executive Officer, Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) Mr. Warren King and the Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC, RAN, together congratulated all those involved in the programme.

Mr. King said the ASMD Project will deliver a capability providing an improved level of self defence against modern anti-ship missiles for the Royal Australian Navy’s ANZAC Class frigates. Arunta was the second of the eight ANZAC Frigates to complete the upgrade.

“This has been achieved by successfully integrating the Australian designed CEA Phased Array Radar with an upgraded SAAB Combat Management System,” Mr. King said.

USA: 20th Annual CARAT Philippines Exercise Begins in Subic Bay

From Commander, Task Force 73 Public Affairs

<< USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) arrives in Subic Bay June 26 for exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines 2014. (U.S Navy/MC1 Jay C. Pugh)

SUBIC Bay, Philippines - A U.S. Navy task group comprised of ships, aircraft, Sailors and Marines arrived in the Philippines to commence the 20th annual exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), June 26.

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and the dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) arrived in Subic Bay, while the diving and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) arrived in Sangley Point. An opening ceremony was held on board the Philippine navy ship, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF 16), one of two former Hamilton-class Coast Guard Cutters transferred to the Philippines navy in recent years.

CARAT Philippines is part of a broader bilateral exercise series the U.S. Navy conducts with nine partner navies in South and Southeast Asia to address shared maritime security priorities, strengthen maritime partnerships and enhance interoperability among participating forces. The Philippines has participated since the series began in 1995, and the past two decades CARAT are a clear example of the longstanding and close U.S.-Philippines navy-to-navy relationship.

USA: Largest International Maritime Exercises Beginning in Hawaii

By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt
American Forces Press Service

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii, June 26, 2014 – RIMPAC, the world’s largest international maritime exercise consisting of 20 plus nations and hundreds of aircraft, ships and submarines begins today in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

The exercise will provide a unique training opportunity for fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th such exercise since 1971 and for the first time will include Brunei and China.

Ships taking part in an international group sail to Hawaii ahead of the exercise included USS Chosin and USS Howard; along with KDB Darulaman and KDB Darussalam of the Royal Brunei navy; PLA(N) Haikou , PLA(N) Yueyang, PLA(N) Qiandaohu, and PLA(N) Peace Ark from the Chinese navy; and Singapore’s RSS Intrepid. Each of the ships, with the exception of Howard, will participate in RIMPAC.

The 2014 RIMPAC exercise will focus on developing maritime safety and security capabilities. The event is scheduled to take place in the Hawaiian Operating Area and off-shore ranges including: Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Bellows Air Force Station, Pohakulao Training Area and Schofield Barracks. Some training events are also scheduled to occur off the coast of southern California.

Sri Lanka: SLN welcomes Second Patrol Boat gifted by Australia

P-351: Second Patrol Boat gifted to Sri Lanka by Australia

The second patrol boat gifted by Australia to the Sri Lanka Navy arrived at the Port of Colombo on 25th June 2014. It was ceremonially welcomed in accordance with naval traditions on arrival. Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Chief of Staff of the Navy, Rear Admiral Jayantha Perera and Commander Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe were among the high ranking naval officers that were present at the ceremonial reception.

The Commander of the Navy in his address stated that this was another historic day for the Sri Lanka Navy. He commended the Commanding Officer and the crew for bringing the patrol boat safely from Cairns, Australia to the Port of Colombo and thanked the two officials of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service for the assistance given during the long voyage. The Commander of the Navy also stated that SLN was looking forward to formerly deploy the two gifted vessels very soon after their commissioning.

News Story: DF-41 missile can wipe out 3 US cities in one attack

China's DF-41 solid-fueled road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile is capable of wiping out three American cities in just one attack, according to the Kanwa Defense Review, operated by Canadian military analyst Andrei Chang, also known as Pinkov.

With an attack range of between 11,500-12,000 kilometers, the article said that the DF-41 missile is capable of reaching any target within the continental United States.

From the missile base in northwestern China's Gansu province, the distance to Washington is 11,856 km, to New York is 11,667 km and to Los Angeles is 11,127 km. From Henan in central China, the distance a missile would travel to reach Washington would be 11,982 km, to New York would be 11,815 km and to Los Angeles would be 10,911 km.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: North Korea Fires Short-Range Projectiles Into Sea

North Korea Fires Short-Range Projectiles Into Sea

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — North Korea fired three short-range projectiles into the sea Thursday in an apparent show of force ahead of an expected visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to South Korea.

The projectiles were launched from the North’s eastern port of Wonsan and flew 190 kilometers (115 miles) into the Sea of Japan (East Sea), the South’s defense ministry said.

“We are looking into exactly what type of projectiles were fired,” a ministry spokesman told AFP, adding they could be missiles or rockets.

Read the full story at DefenseNews


North Korea Hails Test of 'Breakthrough' Guided Missile

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un observed the test-firing of a newly developed, high-precision tactical guided missile, the North’s official KCNA news agency said Friday, hailing a “breakthrough” in the country’s defensive capabilities.

The agency said the test of the new weapon, which was developed under Kim’s personal guidance, was wholly successful.

North Korea is not known to have a tactical guided missile capability, but analysis of a recent propaganda film suggested it may have acquired a variant of a Russian cruise missile, the KH-35.

Read the full story at DefenseNews 

News Story: US Scales Down Anti-Terror Taskforce in Philippines

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The United States is scaling down a taskforce that has been training Philippine troops to hunt down local al-Qaida extremists, Manila’s defense chief said Thursday.

The group of 500 to 600 American service personnel rotating through the strife-torn southern Philippines was cut back to 200 starting this year, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told reporters.

“They were never permanent. They just teach, they train our people and they are satisfied with what we have learned so they are reducing their numbers,” he said.

The US-Philippine cooperation had weakened local Islamic extremists “to the point where they have largely devolved into disorganized groups resorting to criminal undertakings to sustain their activities,” a US government statement said.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: On the Sidelines - Latin America's Pacific Security Interests

By Robert Farley

What’s happening on the other side of the Pacific?

Despite enjoying a long Pacific coastline, the Latin American navies have historically projected power into the Pacific only with great reluctance. While the Brazilian Navy actively participated in both World Wars on the Allied side, its operations were largely limited to the Atlantic.
The naval commitments of the eastern Pacific states vary considerably. The Mexican Navy, for example, punches dramatically under its weight.  Mexican GDP is higher, PPP adjusted, than Malaysia, South Korea, or Thailand, but Mexican defense spending is remarkably low. The Mexican Navy has only two World War II vintage destroyers and six Cold War vintage frigates, with no submarines and minimal naval air.
The situation gets better in South America; Ecuador operates two frigates and two submarines, Colombia four of each, and Peru six of each. Most of the submarines are Type 209 or similar diesel-electrics, the frigates 1970s-era European transfers.
The Chilean Navy has long held pride of place among the Latin American navies on the Pacific coast. As early as the late 19th century, Chile determined to embark on competition with Brazil and Argentina for naval supremacy in South America. Shortly prior to World War I, Chile contracted for the construction of a pair of modern battleships in the United Kingdom. At the outbreak of war both were seized by the Royal Navy, becoming the super-dreadnought HMS Canada and (eventually) the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. HMS Canada, after serving at Jutland, was eventually returned to Chile to become Almirante Latorre. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat