Can the US Navy make lemonade out of LCS lemons?

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy’s littoral combat ship program endured another round of budget cuts this year to its mission modules, but all is not gloom for the Navy’s small surface combatants. The service has made progress on fielding new ship killing capabilities, demonstrated the ability to autonomously detect then destroy a mine, and has accepted delivery of key components of the anti-submarine warfare package. And, perhaps most importantly, the ships have begun to deploy again, and they are making a contribution to the over-taxed Pacific Fleet. In November, the…

How America Could Catch China Preparing for a War

The U.S. Navy needs better surveillance and reconnaissance systems if it’s to have any chance of detecting a Chinese build-up in the Western Pacific in the weeks or days preceding a possible major war. That’s the thrust of a new report that seapower experts Seth Cropsey and Bryan McGrath wrote for the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. “There is a current lack of appreciation for the critical role of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting (ISR/T) capabilities in naval combat success,” Cropsey and McGrath wrote. “This operational blind spot has concrete…

Palace sees stronger PH-China ties­

Three years after President Rodrigo Duterte boldly promised that he would ride a jet ski to stick the Philippine flag in the Spratly Islands and assert the country’s sovereignty amid China’s encroachment, what did he achieve to protect the country’s interest in the maritime dispute? His strongman’s pledge during the 2016 presidential campaign was in stark contrast to his pronouncements now that he is occupying the government’s top post. In fact, Malacañang has expressed optimism that the relationship between the Philippines and China would strengthen in the remaining years of…

Vietnam calls for restraint in South China Sea 

140410-N-CC789-034 PASCAGOULA, Miss. (April 10, 2014) More than 900 Sailors and Marines assigned to the amphibious assault ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) America (LHA 6) march to the ship to take custody of it. The U.S. Navy officially accepted delivery of the amphibious assault ship from Huntington Ingalls Industries during a custody transfer ceremony in Pascagoula, Miss. America is the first ship of its class, replacing the Tarawa-class of amphibious assault ships and is scheduled to be commissioned in late 2014 in San Francisco. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist…

China in the 2020 Campaign: Missing in Action

It has long been a truism in American politics that elections focus almost entirely on issues of domestic policy while foreign policy is barely mentioned.  As a result, we elect presidents with hardly a clue as to how they will handle their international portfolio.  It is remarkable when you think about it because the US has long had the largest influence, the heaviest responsibilities (and costs), and the most complex policy agenda of any country in the world.  There is an obvious risk associated with putting an unknown quantity in…

Beijing censures Malaysia over fresh South China Sea claim

View of the East China Sea from Yeliou, Taiwan. (Jacob Jose via CC BY-SA 3.0) KUALA LUMPUR/BEIJING — Beijing said on Tuesday it had protested against Kuala Lumpur filing a submission with the United Nations last week seeking to establish the limits of Malaysia’s continental shelf in the northern part of the disputed South China Sea. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, any country can claim an exclusive economic zone up to 200 nautical miles from its shoreline. However, China claims most of the South China Sea, across which more than $3.4 trillion worth of…

Vietnam, as next ASEAN chair, urges China to behave in S. China Sea

A Japan Coast Guard helicopter orders a fishing vessel to stop in waters off Danang, central Vietnam, in a joint drill with the Vietnam Coast Guard on June 16, 2017. Hanoi plans to enhance its ability to control its waters with Japan’s support, aiming to prevent China from further advancing in the disputed South China Sea. (Kyodo) SINGAPORE (Kyodo) — Vietnam on Tuesday called on China to refrain from conducting provocative activities that could threaten security in the South China Sea next year when…

Russia’s growing interests in the South China Sea

In October, during his second official visit to Russia, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte invited Moscow-based energy company Rosneft to conduct oil and gas exploration in waters the Philippines claims in the South China Sea. The offer was reciprocated by the Russian ambassador to the Philippines, Igor Khovaev, who invited Philippine companies to also ‘explore oil and gas in Russia together with Russian companies’. A team from Rosneft went to Manila later that month to discuss the possibility of joint offshore oil exploration with the Philippines Department of Energy. Rosneft, which is…

China Warplanes Drill For ‘Unexpected Confrontations’

Preparing for what it termed “unexpected confrontations”, China’s military is intensifying exercises in the South China Sea, according to last Sunday’s PLA Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The report said that one drill was held in mid-November and involved two groups of aircraft where information passed from the first group to a second group was used by the latter group to search for and gather intelligence from targets located someplace offshore. Yan Lang, a division commander, said, “Different from the exercises conducted last year on…