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Thread: Is the US Navy Overrated?

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    Default Re: Is the US Navy Overrated?

    French delete evidence US carrier was 'sunk' by sub in drill off the coast of Florida

    Published time: March 06, 2015 05:19
    Edited time: March 06, 2015 09:35

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    USS Theodore Roosevelt (Reuters / Mark Wessels)

    Tags

    France, Navy, Security, USA

    A major vulnerability that allowed French submarine to “sink” aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and most of its escort during drills was apparently revealed by the French Navy and Defense Ministry in blogposts that were quickly wiped out.

    Both the French Defense Ministry and the Navy released and then quickly deleted a news post entitled “Le SNA Saphir en entraînement avec l’US Navy au large de la Floride” (“The SNA Sapphire in training with the US Navy off the coast of Florida”) that praised the 34-year-old French nuclear submarine’s success in “sinking” the American aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt along with best part of its escort.

    Marine nationale @MarineNationale Follow Le SNA #Saphir en entraînement avec l’@USNavy au large de la #Floride http://www.colsbleus.fr/articles/3945 #GalaxieColsBleus



    The news, before it was deleted was spotted by several outlets, including The Aviationist blog, which disclosed the information which the French authorities initially shared.

    The aim of the military games off the coast of Florida which began in mid-February were meant to test the newly upgraded carrier, which had undergone a four year, $2.6 billion overhaul, ahead of the Strike Group's deployment. The drills involved practicing scenarios of hostile ship boarding, submarine attacks, and enemy ships battles.

    Brian Dreyer @Bwdreyer Follow
    The service conducts “full-ship shock trials” the USS Roosevelt http://breakingdefense.com/2014/01/top-tester-tells-navy-to-test-carrier-destroyer-defenses-with-real-missiles-explosions/ …





    During the first phase of the 10 days naval exercises, the French Saphir sub was part of the so-called friendly force to support anti-submarine warfare.

    However, in the second phase of the games, the Saphir turned foe and was integrated with the imaginary enemy forces. Its mission become to locate Theodore Roosevelt and to prepare an attack on the strike group by guiding the ships.


    During that last stage of the drills, the French sub snuck up undetected on US Carrier Strike Group 12 by penetrating a US defensive screen.

    The Saphir has quietly slipped into the heart of the screen formed by the American frigates protecting the aircraft carrier, while avoiding detection against-pervasive air assets ,” the original release read as quoted by French Challenges blog. “On the morning of the last day, the order of fire was finally given, allowing the Saphir to fictitiously sink Theodore Roosevelt and most of its escort.”


    No other details are available about the outcome of the exercise. The strike group will be deployed later this year to provide an overseas forward presence and maintain US maritime security abroad.

    Marquis de Seignelay @FauteuilColbert Follow

    MT @MarineNationale #COMPTUEX du #CSG Theodore Roosevelt : Le #SNA #Saphir en chasse http://www.colsbleus.fr/articles/3834







    U.S. aircraft carrier and part of its escort “sunk” by French submarine during drills off Florida

    Mar 05 2015 - 57 Comments



    By David Cenciotti


    If you thought aircraft carriers were invincible you were wrong.


    On Mar. 4, the French Ministry of Defense released some interesting details, about the activity conducted by one of its nuclear-powered attack submarine (SNA) in the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

    According to French MoD website (that is no longer online, even if you can still find a cached version of the article titled “Le SNA Saphir en entraînement avec l’US Navy au large de la Floride”), the Saphir submarine has recently taken part in a major exercise with the U.S. Navy off Florida.

    The aim of the exercise was joint training with U.S. Carrier Strike Group 12 made by the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, several Ticonderoga cruisers or Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and a Los Angeles-class submarine, ahead of their operational deployment.

    The scenario of the drills saw some imaginary states assaulting American economic and territorial interests; threats faced by a naval force led by USS Theodore Roosevelt.

    During the first phase of the exercise, the Saphir was integrated into the friendly force to support anti-submarine warfare (ASW) by cooperating with U.S. P-3C Orion P-8A Poseidon MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft): its role was to share all the underwater contacts with the other ASW assets.

    In the second phase of the exercise, the Saphir was integrated with the enemy forces and its mission was to locate the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and its accompanying warships and prepare to attack the strike group.

    While the fictious political situation deteriorated, the Saphir quietly slipped in the heart of the multi-billion-dollar aircraft carrier’s defensive screen, while avoiding detection by ASW assets.

    On the morning of the last day, the order to attack was finally given, allowing the Saphir to pretend-sinking the USS Theodore Roosevelt and most of its escort.

    Although we don’t really know many more details about the attack and its outcome, the scripted exercise its RoE (Rules of Engagement), the simulated sinking of a U.S. supercarrier proves the flattop’s underwater defenses are not impenetrable.

    This is the reason why modern subs often train with aircraft carriers: they pose a significant threat to powerful Carrier Strike Groups.

    Obviously, this was not the first time a submarine scored a simulated carrier kill with torpedo attacks.

    For instance, in 2007 HMCS Corner Brook, a Canadian diesel-electric submarine “sunk” UK’s Illustrious during an exercise in the Atlantic.



    US supercarrier ‘sunk’ by French submarine in wargames


    • 11 days ago March 06, 2015 9:00AM



    Unexpected victor ... The 30-year-old French nucler powered attack submarine Saphir. Source: Wikipedia Source: Supplied

    WITH a good submarine, a navy can do amazing things. Ask the French. They’ve just managed to “sink” a nuclear-powered US super carrier — and half its battle group.

    The French Ministry of Defence has revealed one of its attack submarines pulled of an astounding upset during recent war-games in the North Atlantic.

    The Aviationist blog spotted an article on the French defence force’s website — quickly withdrawn — which told how one of their submarines, the “Saphir” tackled the might of the United States’ navy off the coast of Florida.


    Formidable force ... The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt with a protecive force of cruisers, destroyers and frigates. A recent exercise saw this expansive, and expensive, defence force bypassed by a French submarine. Source: USN Source: Supplied

    At the core of the surface force was the enormous aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its powerful strike wing of 90 combat aircraft and helicopters.

    Clustered protectively about it was several advanced cruisers and destroyers, and its own guardian submarine.

    In one element of the war games, the Saphir was tasked with the role of being the “bad guy”.

    It’s mission: To seek, locate and exterminate the US naval force.

    The exact details of how it achieved this embarrassing outcome is not known.


    Fallout ... The USS Theodore Roosevelt undergoing shock testing during sea trials in 1987. Source: USN Source: Supplied

    Somehow, the French submarine must have been able to slip between the defensive sensor patchwork of patrol aircraft, helicopters, warships and submarines to line up a shot on the $13 billion monstrosity.

    SUB CONTROVERSY: Navy boss sunk by Wikipedia

    There she lurked as a fictitious political crisis evolved in the world above.

    On the final day of the exercise, the order finaly came.

    Sink the Theodore Roosevelt.

    This 30-year-old Saphir proceeded to do. Along with most of the escorting warships.


    Silent killer ... The French nuclear-powered attack submarine Saphir. Source: Wikipedia Source: Supplied

    The outcome of such war-games are usually kept a close secret. Not only does a result such as the above have the potential to be politically embarrassing for the losing side, it also exposes the existence of weaknesses any future enemy may exploit.

    But rumours abound of similar significant victories by minor nations against the titanic icons of America’s naval might.

    Both aircraft carriers and submarines are facing increased scrutiny as to their role in future defence forces.

    Both are immensely expensive. Both project immense power.

    But their abilities to survive a modern hi-tech battlefield with ever increasing enhancements in sensors and weapons has been called to question in recent years.


    US Navy can be defeated by China, claims Global Times


    • Staff Reporter
    • 2015-03-15
    • 09:16 (GMT+8)




    The Liaoning, China's sole aircraft carrier which it purchased from Ukraine and refitted. (Photo/CNS)

    In response to a New York Times pieces by Gregg Easterbrook on March 9, China's nationalist tabloid Global Times wrote a commentary of its own, saying that China is capable of defeating the US Navy in the Western Pacific with anti-ship missiles built at low prices.

    In Easterbrook's article, he said that China currently possesses only one outdated, conventionally-powered aircraft carrier and is rumored to be constructing two others. However, neither of those two vessels are likely to be nuclear supercarriers, according to the author. Furthermore, Easterbrook questioned whether those two domestically built carriers have "blue water" or open ocean-going capabilities.

    Easterbrook said that the US Navy is more powerful than all other navies in the world combined in terms of its aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, naval aviation, surface firepower, assault ships, missiles and logistics. The author added that it is unnecessary for many US military experts to engage in fearmongering regarding China's naval capability since "their carriers are modest compared with America's; the submarines far less capable."

    The article also went on to say that there is no evidence that China has conducted realistic tests of its anti-ship missile. "China's neighbors are unhappy that the growing Chinese Navy may back Beijing's claims regarding the South China Sea," Easterbrook wrote. "But Chinese naval expansion does not pose any direct threat to the national security of the United States, or to its dominance of the oceans." He then stated that making the US Navy more powerful does not help to solve the dispute over the South China Sea peacefully.

    The Global Times was unhappy about Easterbrook's evaluation of Chinese naval power and said in its commentary that it is not necessary for China to build a strong and powerful navy to defeat the US in a regional conflict. With enough low cost anti-ship missiles, the People's Liberation Army Navy is capable of paralyzing the US Navy's freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the paper said. Enough damage can be done to morale and equipment even if only one missile out of 1,000 hits an aircraft carrier.

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    Default Re: Is the US Navy Overrated?


    The US Navy's Cruise Missile Nightmare

    February 20, 2015

    The U.S. Navy has a problem. Or rather, it has two intertwined problems, one material and one intellectual and cultural. To all appearances, thankfully, the sea service has resolved to attack both of them. As psychologists say, admitting you have a problem is the first step toward solving it. And, I would add, it’s the biggest and most consequential step. Once you reorient yourself, deciding and acting constitute the easy part—relatively speaking, anyway. Ergo…

    Huzzah!

    The first of the navy’s woes is material. By and large American fighting ships and shipborne aircraft remain second to none as platforms. They’re festooned with state-of-the-art sensors, fire-control systems, propulsion plants, you name it. But the weapons they pack have fallen behind increasingly competitive times. Not since the early 1990s, for instance, has the surface navy procured a new anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM), its chief weapon for fleet-on-fleet engagements.

    Time and technology moved on in the interim. Prospective competitors, notably China, have imported or manufactured missiles boasting greater reach, speed, and often times striking power than their U.S. counterparts. The U.S. Navy’s Harpoon missile, or standard ASCM, can strike at targets circa 76 miles distant. Impressive—except some Chinese ASCMs boast over triple that range, while the vast majority outrange the Harpoon by a sizable margin.

    Which leaves American surface warriors—among whom I count myself despite the lapse of, ahem, a few short years—inhabiting an awkward spot.

    Think about it in boxing terms. What happens when a short, stubby-armed boxer packing a crushing right squares off against a tall, rangy, equally musclebound opponent? It’s an unequal fight—never mind the apparent parity of strength. The long-armed pugilist jabs away from out of reach. He scores lots of points, and lands lots of blows. Sure, the brawny little guy may be a heavy hitter—but he takes a heckuva beating while closing the distance enough to counterpunch.

    That takes its toll. Worse, the short-armed boxer may never get within reach. He could suffer a knockout before ever getting close enough to unleash that right.

    Likewise, never getting within missile range while an enemy pounds away is a Bad Thing in sea combat. Which antagonist fields the better platforms matters little if one fleet gets in range to deploy its principal armament and the other doesn’t.

    Far better to lengthen your reach while amassing battle power—making yourself the tall, rangy, musclebound pugilist.

    Which is why recent news out of the defense-technology world warms the heart of any American sailor. Last month off the California coast, a Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile repurposed for anti-ship missions slammed into a moving target at sea. It was fired from destroyer USS Kidd and guided by position data relayed from a F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft overhead.

    The reconfigured Block IV constitutes a new, old capability—the sort of undead U.S. mariners like. The navy leadership ordered Tomahawk anti-ship cruise missiles (TASMs) withdrawn from the fleet during the 1990s, when U.S. maritime supremacy appeared beyond challenge and the sea service turned its attention to projecting power ashore. That took a very, very long-range weapon out of the surface (and subsurface) navy’s arsenal—a weapon that would outdistance most if not all of its competitors on the high seas today.

    Restoring that range advantage would restore the surface fleet’s fighting edge over competitors—matching superior platforms with superior combat power. Small wonder Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work touts the nouveau TASM as an inexpensive “game-changing capability.” The missile—the expensive component—exists. Fielding a new seeker to find and target shipping is relatively straightforward.

    Still to come: a test of the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), a “bird” under development since 2009 under the auspices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—the Pentagon’s analogue to Q, the high-tech wizard from the James Bond films. If test-fired successfully from the vertical-launch system carried aboard surface combatants, the LRASM will add another arrow to the navy’s quiver in the not-too-distant future. Faster, please.

    Neither bird is perfect. Both the Tomahawk and LRASM remain subsonic missiles, which means it takes them a long time to reach distant targets, which means the target may have moved by the time the missile reaches assigned coordinates, which means these weapons will presumably rely on airborne updates of the type used during last month’s test—even once perfected. Networking shooter with aircraft with missile opens up opportunities for mischief-making by adversaries who have every incentive to balk U.S. naval operations. Such is the reality of naval warfare.

    Still, these are encouraging developments all around. For an appraisal of the second problem besetting our navy…tune in next week!!!

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    Default Re: Is the US Navy Overrated?

    France 'Sunk' a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier Back in 2015

    October 31, 2018 Topic: Security Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: NavyMilitaryTechnologyWorldFranceSubmarine

    Here is the story.

    by Kyle Mizokami


    How did such a tiny submarine kill a ship almost fifty times larger than itself? First of all, we don’t know the rules of engagement of the exercise. Were the Roosevelt’s escorts using all of their anti-submarine warfare sensors? Was there any prohibition or curb on their use, or were any of them declared inoperative for the purposes of the exercise?


    In March 2015, one of the largest nuclear-powered warships in the world was “sunk” by one of the smallest.

    The Saphir, a French nuclear attack submarine, reportedly penetrated the defenses of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and scored simulated torpedo hits on her. The incident, originally reported by the French Navy, was later suppressed.

    (This first appeared several years ago.)

    On March 4th, 2015 the French Navy announced in a blog post that the submarine Saphir (“Sapphire”) had simulated stalking and killing the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt . Not only was the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier simulated sunk but an unknown number of her escorts. The post was later removed without comment from the blog.

    Here’s what the world knows: according to the French navy blog post ( saved and reproduced by the RP Defense blog ), the exercise between Saphir and the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group took place before an operational deployment. According to the French navy, the carrier strike group included several Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers and Arleigh Burke -class destroyers, and a Los Angeles -class nuclear attack submarine.

    According to U.S. Naval Institute News , Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG 12) departed Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Station Mayport on March 5th for a Middle East deployment. CSG12 included the carrier Roosevelt, the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Normandy and Arleigh Burke class destroyers Winston S. Churchill , Forrest Sherman , and Farragut from Destroyer Squadron 2 provided escort.

    The blog post explained that the pre-deployment exercise, which occurred off the coast of Florida, took place in two phases. The first phase involved the Saphir integrated with U.S. Navy forces to locate enemy submarines and pass data on to other friendly anti-submarine warfare assets. The “enemy submarine” in this case may have been the Los Angeles -class nuclear submarine attached to CSG 12.

    In the second phase of the exercise, the Saphir switched sides and became part of the enemy force. The French nuclear submarine was teamed up with U.S. Navy P-3C Orion and P-8 Poseidons. Saphir was to locate the Roosevelt and get into position to sink her. As the exercise scenario degenerated into a shooting war, Saphir was given permission to attack. The submarine reportedly “sank” Roosevelt and “most” of its escorts.

    After the exercise was over, Saphir’s commander met with Rear Admiral Richard Butler , Commanding Officer of Carrier Strike Group 4 and Vice Admiral Nora Tyson , Deputy Commander, US Fleet Forces Command.

    The French Navy’s blog post was announced on Twitter on March 4th, but was quickly deleted. Several defense outlets picked up on the deletion, and the state-sponsored RT (Russia Today) crowed that a “major vulnerability” had allowed Saphir to penetrate Roosevelt’s screen. That was pure speculation, as the original French Navy post does not mention any such vulnerability.

    Nevertheless, the incident appears to have actually happened. The most likely explanation for the deletion of the blog post was that it was simply embarrassing to a major French ally.

    Saphir is the second of six Rubis-class nuclear attack submarines built for the French Navy. Rubis is the first generation of French nuclear attack submarines—while the French Navy has had nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines since the mid-60s, French attack submarines were conventionally powered until the early 1980s. At 2,630 tons submerged and 241 feet long the Rubis class may also be the smallest nuclear combatants ever put to sea. Each submarine has a crew of just 70 and is driven by one K48 pressurized water reactor to a speed of 25 knots underwater. The Rubis subs each have four bow torpedo tubes equipped with F17 Mod 2 torpedoes and MM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles .

    How did such a tiny submarine kill a ship almost fifty times larger than itself? First of all, we don’t know the rules of engagement of the exercise. Were the Roosevelt’s escorts using all of their anti-submarine warfare sensors? Was there any prohibition or curb on their use, or were any of them declared inoperative for the purposes of the exercise?

    Second, it’s important to remember that “sunk” is in quotation marks for a reason. The French F17 torpedo has a 551 pound HBX-3 high explosive warhead. It can also only fire a salvo of four torpedoes at a time, due to having only four torpedo tubes. A 551 pound torpedo warhead would probably not sink a Ticonderoga or Burke-class escort, and though it would undoubtedly damage, it would definitely not sink a Nimitz-class supercarrier. Also, given a screen of four escort ships and Roosevelt’s onboard anti-submarine warfare helicopters, a single salvo of four torpedoes was all Saphir was going to get before it was forced to withdraw.

    Provided Saphir targeted Roosevelt and three of her escorts, it would have damaged four ships—not sunk them. Although the distinction is less important when it comes to the escorts, which might have been knocked out of action, with just one torpedo in her Roosevelt would have likely still been capable of air operations.

    The U.S. Navy’s anti-submarine warfare skills have deteriorated greatly since the end of the Cold War, and particularly since 9/11. The emphasis on land wars has directed the Navy’s energies—and budget—elsewhere. Still, as the Chinese Navy continues to grow and the Russian Navy is used more aggressively in the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas, improving ASW is becoming a well-deserved priority. The “sinking” of the Theodore Roosevelt may have been a blow to pride, but it was also an important wakeup call. The next time a foreign submarine stalks a U.S. Navy carrier with nearly six thousand people on board, it could be the real thing.

    Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

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    Default Re: Is the US Navy Overrated?

    Naval superpower race: China ‘to overtake US in 15 years’

    Unless the US greatly increases spending on its navy, Beijing is set to rule the waves in less than two decades, a new report finds

    By Peter J. Brown
    November 28, 2018 4:53 PM (UTC+8)
    Atimes

    In the near future, could the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Navy out-number and outgun the US Navy? According to informed sources, it is not only possible, it is likely within 15 years.

    An essay written by Boston College Political Science Professor Robert Ross, an expert on Chinese defense and security policy, appeared in the influential Lawfare blog on November 18. Entitled “The End of US Naval Dominance in Asia,” it warns that at current rates of spending, the days of the US Navy’s position as the world’s dominant sea force are numbered.

    PLA set to take the lead

    “The rapid rise of the Chinese Navy has challenged US maritime dominance throughout East Asian waters,” Ross writes. “The US, though, has not been able to fund a robust shipbuilding plan that could maintain the regional security order and compete effectively with China’s naval build-up.

    “The resulting transformation of the balance of power has led to fundamental changes in US acquisitions and defense strategy. Nonetheless, the US has yet to come to terms with its diminished influence in East Asia.”

    Ross provides ample evidence that China is well on its way to deploying a naval fleet that will not only be larger than that of the US, but increasingly more modern.

    From 2017 to 2018, for example, as China’s Navy grew from 328 to 350 ships, more than 70% were of the latest designs – up from 50% in 2010, based on a RAND Corp study.

    “China is the largest ship-producing country in the world and at current production rates could soon operate 400 (naval) ships. It commissions nearly three submarines each year, and in two years will have more than 70 in its fleet. The Chinese Navy also operates growing numbers of cruisers, destroyers, frigates and corvettes, all equipped with long-range anti-ship cruise missiles.

    “Between 2013 and 2016, China commissioned more than 30 modern corvettes. At current rates, China could have 430 surface ships and 100 submarines within the next 15 years,” Ross writes.

    Ross asserts that while the US Navy now retains maritime superiority throughout East Asia, “the trend is what matters and the trend is less rosy.” The numbers are stark: In 12 years, the active US naval fleet will decline to 237 ships and in six years, the US submarine fleet will decline to 48 boats, according to Ross’ data.

    “Both the navy and the White House have pushed to grow the US fleet, but budgets have not kept pace with their plans,” Ross writes. “In 2015, the navy planned to increase the fleet to 308 ships by 2022, and the Trump administration plans a 355-ship navy. To reach 308 ships, the navy will have to spend 36% more than the average shipbuilding budget over the past 30 years, requiring a one-third increase in its current budget.”

    If funding continues at the same average maintained for the last three decades, the US Navy will likely purchase 75 fewer ships than planned over the next three decades. To reach a fleet of 355 ships, the navy will need a budget 80% higher than the average shipbuilding budget over the past 30 years, and approximately 50% more than the average budget of the past six years, Ross found.

    “Reallocation of the federal budget to support ship construction is not likely,” he writes.

    Asian allies start to wobble

    Ross addresses the consequences of the US Navy’s increasing reluctance or inability to address the situation it faces, noting that a strain on relationships with traditional allies in East and Southeast Asia is becoming more apparent.

    “Developments in the maritime balance have weakened the confidence of East Asian countries in the ability of the United States to fulfill its security commitments and they are improving security cooperation with China,” says Ross.

    “South Korea recently reached an agreement with China to limit missile-defense cooperation with the US and security cooperation with the US-Japan alliance.”

    Seoul’s steps were taken in an effort to calm Beijing’s fury over the deployment of a Theater High-Altitude Terminal Air Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea.

    South Korea has also “moved ahead with cooperation with North Korea, with Chinese support and despite US opposition,” Ross writes.
    In the last month, it has become clear that while Seoul wants Washington to accelerate its pace of engagement with Pyongyang, Washington wants Seoul to slow down.

    Elsewhere, there have been signs of growing insecurity among America’s ASEAN partners.

    “The Philippines has reduced the scale of its defense cooperation with the United States and improved security ties with China. Beijing now constrains Vietnamese defense cooperation with the US, as well. And China and Malaysia have begun joint military exercises and Malaysia has not supported US policy on Chinese claims in the South China Sea,” writes Ross.

    “Most recently, China and ASEAN have conducted their first joint naval exercise. The US enjoys continued robust defense cooperation with all of these countries. But, as is the case with the maritime balance, it is the trend that matters and the trend is not good for US security.”

    In November 2018, “the [US] Navy carried out its largest-ever exercise with Japan,” Ross says, and goes on to add a cautionary note: “But increased up-tempo US naval presence in East Asia without the requisite underlying naval capabilities to contend with China’s rise will neither constrain China’s naval activism nor reassure US Allies.”

    Meanwhile, construction of China’s third aircraft carrier is underway, and unmanned radar and optical monitoring stations are beginning to appear at China-controlled sites in the South China Sea.

    China’s top-tier naval assets

    Amid opacity about PLA Naval assets and capabilities, concerned players are keeping an eye on using increasingly sophisticated platforms.

    For example, Catherine Dill of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, was recently interviewed by Defense One. In the interview, she noted the remarkably “high cadence” of Planet Labs satellite imagery, which provided her team with “244 days of exploitable imagery to monitor from July 2017 to November 2018” alone.

    Her comments surfaced as a broader debate gets underway concerning not only the actual number of Chinese nuclear submarines – both under development and operational – but the extent to which China now possesses “a credible sea-based deterrent.”

    Defense One concluded that only two – or half of – China’s fleet of four nuclear-armed SSBNs (Ship, Submersible, Ballistic, Nuclear) appear to be operational. This places Defense One and other like-minded organizations at odds with both the Defense Department’s 2018 China Military Report and CSIS’s China Power group, which stated that China had all four nuclear-armed submarines in operation.

    These disagreements are indicative of the lack of clarity over the capabilities of the Chinese Navy. Ross has combined what is now known about the PLA Navy with the challenges the US Navy will face in the near future. For advocates and dependents of US dominance over the world’s oceans, it may make for grim reading.





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    Default Re: Is the US Navy Overrated?

    The End of U.S. Naval Dominance in Asia

    By Robert Ross
    Lawfare
    Sunday, November 18, 2018, 10:00 AM

    Editor’s Note: Although the Trump administration has made much of China's rise when it comes to trade, the president should be focused more on the security implications. Robert Ross of Boston College points to the decline in U.S. naval strength in East Asia as a game-changer for the regional order. Ross argues that the Navy's forward presence is strained, while China's capabilities are growing steadily. U.S. allies are aware of this painful reality, and their willingness to trust America to protect them will decline.

    Daniel Byman

    ***

    The rapid rise of the Chinese Navy has challenged U.S. maritime dominance throughout East Asian waters. The United States, though, has not been able to fund a robust shipbuilding plan that could maintain the regional security order and compete effectively with China’s naval build-up. The resulting transformation of the balance of power has led to fundamental changes in U.S. acquisitions and defense strategy. Nonetheless, the United States has yet to come to terms with its diminished influence in East Asia.

    The New Balance of Power in East Asia

    In early 2017, the Chinese Navy had 328 ships. It now possesses nearly 350 ships and is already larger than the U.S. Navy. China is the largest ship-producing country in the world and at current production rates could soon operate 400 ships. It commissions nearly three submarines each year, and in two years will have more than 70 in its fleet. The Chinese Navy also operates growing numbers of cruisers, destroyers, frigates, and corvettes, all equipped with long-range anti-ship cruise missiles. Between 2013 and 2016, China commissioned more than 30 modern corvettes. At current rates, China could have 430 surface ships and 100 submarines within the next 15 years.

    According to the RAND Corporation, China’s fleet is also now more modern, based on contemporary standards of ship production. In 2010, less than 50 percent of Chinese ships were “modern;” in 2017, over 70 percent were modern. China’s diesel submarines are increasingly quiet and challenge U.S. anti-submarine capabilities. China’s ship-launched and air-launched anti-ship cruise missiles possess significant range and stealth and are guided by increasingly sophisticated targeting technologies. China’s Navy now poses a significant challenge to the U.S. surface fleet. Moreover, its DF21C and DF26 conventional intermediate-range ballistic missiles also pose a challenge to U.S. assets in the region, and can target U.S. maritime facilities in South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Guam.

    Despite the growth of the Chinese Navy, the United States retains maritime superiority throughout East Asia. But the trend is what matters and the trend is less rosy. In early 2018, the size of the active U.S. fleet was 280 ships. Going forward, according to the Congressional Budget Office, if the Navy’s budget is the average of its budget over the prior 30 years in real dollars and it maintains its aircraft carrier and ballistic submarine construction schedules, in 12 years the active naval fleet will decline to 237 ships. In six years, the U.S. submarine fleet will decline to 48 ships, and in eleven years the number of U.S. attack submarines will decline to 41 ships.

    Both the Navy and the White House have pushed to grow the U.S. fleet, but budgets have not kept pace with their plans. In 2015, the Navy planned to increase the fleet to 308 ships by 2022, and the Trump administration plans a 355-ship navy. To reach 308 ships, the Navy will have to spend 36 percent more than the average shipbuilding budget over the past 30 years, requiring a one-third increase in its current budget. If funding continues at the average over the past 30 years, the Navy will likely purchase 75 fewer ships than planned over the next three decades. To reach 355 ships, the Navy will need a budget 80 percent more than the average Navy shipbuilding budget over the past 30 years and about 50 percent more than the average budget of the past six years. Moreover, the Navy’s shipyards are understaffed and in poor condition, contributing to delays in maintenance and reduced ship-days at sea. It is also currently experiencing significant challenges in meeting personnel requirements, recruitment problems are increasing, and the U.S shipbuilding industry has been in decline over the past decade. Adequate staffing and construction of a larger fleet is by no means assured.

    Reallocation of the federal budget to support ship construction is not likely. Mandatory spending and interest payments on the federal debt constitute 68 percent of the federal budget, and in recent years Washington has increased spending on Medicare, Medicaid, transportation, and veterans. The Pentagon already receives over 55 percent of the discretionary budget. The United States will not raise taxes to increase funding for the Navy; instead, it reduced taxes earlier this year. Nor can the United States print more money and increase the federal deficit to increase naval spending; the harm to the economy would offset any benefit that a larger navy might contribute to U.S. security. To contend with the national debt, the White House has told the Pentagon to expect that defense spending will “flatten out” in the near future. Finally, although the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force receive approximately equal shares of the annual defense budget, there is little resolve in Washington to reallocate funding within the military.

    But even a 355-ship navy would be inadequate to contend with China’s capacity to continue and expand its naval build-up. As a share of GDP, the U.S. defense budget is nearly 75 percent larger than China’s defense budget. In contrast to the United States, China’s social welfare budget, including veterans’ benefits, is a minimal part of its national budget. China does not have a costly volunteer force, it can easily reallocate defense spending to support its navy, and it is not involved in distant wars that strain its military budget. It is better positioned that the United States for a maritime arms race.

    Developments in the maritime balance have weakened the confidence of East Asian countries in the ability of the United States to fulfill its security commitments and they are improving security cooperation with China. South Korea recently reached an agreement with China to limit missile-defense cooperation with the United States and security cooperation with the U.S.-Japan alliance, and it has moved ahead with cooperation with North Korea, with Chinese support and despite U.S. opposition. The Philippines has reduced the scale of its defense cooperation with the United States and improved security ties with China. Beijing now constrains Vietnamese defense cooperation with the United States, as well. And China and Malaysia have begun joint military exercises and Malaysia has not supported U.S. policy on Chinese claims in the South China Sea. Most recently, China and ASEAN have conducted their first joint naval exercise. The United States enjoys continued robust defense cooperation with all of these countries. But, as is the case with the maritime balance, it is the trend that matters and the trend is not good for U.S. security.

    The U.S. Navy Adjusts

    The combination of China’s rising naval capabilities, the PLA’s ability to target U.S. naval access to regional maritime facilities, and declining alliance cooperation has compelled the United States to adjust its security policy to contend with emerging Chinese war-fighting capabilities within East Asian seas—the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea.

    The U.S. Navy is relying on technology to compensate for declining ship numbers. It is developing longer-range anti-ship cruise missiles to contend with China’s anti-ship cruise missiles, and longer-range torpedoes to contend with China’s submarine fleet. It is developing “dispersed lethality” capabilities to contend with the quantity of Chinese ships and their ability to “swarm” against U.S. ships. It is also developing directed energy and long-range hypersonic railgun technologies. Most significant, the Navy is focused on developing large quantities of drones as its long-term solution to declining ship numbers. It is developing and testing undersea anti-submarine and anti-mine drones, miniature reconnaissance drones that can operate in large numbers to allow simultaneous targeting of multiple Chinese platforms, carrier-based attack drones and refueling drones, air-launched electronic warfare drones, and unmanned surface vessels for minesweeping operations and anti-submarine warfare.

    The United States now faces a future without assured access to the South China Sea and U.S. naval facilities in the region, and with reduced cooperation from its allies. To compensate, it is placing greater emphasis on its strategy for the “Indo-Pacific” region—a shift from its previous focus on the “Asia-Pacific.” This is more than just a name-change. Key to this Indo-Pacific strategy is greater access to Indian and Australian facilities that are secure from Chinese submarines and surface ships. These facilities will enable the U.S. Navy to contend with the Chinese Navy from outside the South China Sea and to deny the Chinese Navy access to the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. Recent U.S.-India agreements reflect U.S. efforts to expand its access to Indian naval facilities so that the U.S. Navy can operate in the Bay of Bengal and to the west of the Malaccan Strait. Similarly, expanding U.S.-Australian cooperation in Western Australia, including U.S. interest in Cocos Island, will enable the U.S. Navy to operate south of Indonesia to project power into the South China Sea. The Navy’s transition to operating from distant naval facilities and contending with China’s long-range capabilities has required it to develop extended ranges for its carrier-based F-18s and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare.

    But these developments in acquisitions and expanded out-of-region operations cannot solve the Navy’s problem of a smaller fleet contending with a rising naval power. U.S. technological advantages over China narrow every year and quantity can be just as important as quality in maritime security.

    Moreover, the increased tempo of the U.S. Navy’s operations in East Asia have led to inadequate ship maintenance, insufficient training of sailors, and over-extended tours at sea. Recent naval accidents in East Asia reflect the pressures of up-tempo presence operations on the Indo-Pacific Fleet.

    The Navy at Sea

    The U.S. Navy has responded predictably to its declining capabilities, eroding dependability of its allies, and reduced access to regional facilities. It is increasing its shows of military force to establish greater U.S. resolve to resist the rise of China, even as its relative capabilities decline. During the Trump administration, U.S. freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) near Chinese-claimed maritime features has increased to approximately one mission every two months, doubling the pace of the Obama administration’s FONOP operations. In June 2018, after China increased its deployments on disputed islands, the United States sailed two ships within 12 miles of Chinese-claimed Paracel Islands. China responded with a simultaneous naval transit near the islands, signaling heightened maritime tension and greater Chinese resolve to challenge U.S. naval presence in its coastal waters. In June and September 2018, the United States sent B-52 bombers near China’s artificial islands.

    The United States conducts FONOPs to challenge the maritime claims of many countries each year, but only in the South China Sea does the U.S. Navy carry out multiple highly-publicized missions. And only in the South China Sea does the U.S. Navy conduct overflights of disputed territories with coverage by U.S. journalists aboard the aircraft. These South China Sea operations aim to establish U.S. resolve to contend with China’s rising naval capabilities, not to establish a U.S. commitment to the principle of freedom of navigation.

    Despite the recent over-extension of the Pacific fleet and the resulting safety and training issues, the U.S. Navy has thus insisted that it will “confront” China and it has stressed the importance of its presence in East Asian waters and its plans to increase its regional operations. Secretary of Defense James Mattis reported that the United States will “demonstrate resolve through operational presence in the South China Sea.” In November 2018, the Navy carried out its largest exercise ever with Japan. But increased up-tempo U.S. naval presence in East Asia without the requisite underlying naval capabilities to contend with China’s rise will neither constrain China’s naval activism nor reassure U.S. allies. What it will do is further overextend the Navy and exacerbate the Navy’s existing maintenance and readiness problems, making U.S. ships more vulnerable to accidents at sea and cutting into the shipbuilding budget. This is especially the case as the Navy expands its operations on the Russian periphery.

    This tension in the U.S. Navy’s East Asian strategy reflects the expected quandary of a declining power. The United States resists ceding greater regional influence to a rising great-power competitor. But its efforts to compensate for its eroding relative capabilities by expanding the Navy’s regional presence may well undermine its long-term ability to adjust to and contend with rising China.

    https://www.lawfareblog.com/end-us-naval-dominance-asia





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    Default Re: Is the US Navy Overrated?


    Cracks In The Hull—Urgent Action Required To Ensure The U.S. Navy’s Role In Great-Power Competition

    August 6, 2020

    The past few years have been hard on the U.S. Navy. The never-ending “Fat Leonard” influence-peddling scandal, a series of serious collisions in 2017, and recent and frequent senior leadership changes in 2019 and 2020 have taken their toll on the Navy’s morale and effectiveness. Yet, the challenges confronting the nation from China and Russia are intensifying. If left unreformed, these are challenges that today’s Navy will struggle to meet.

    Compounding the Navy’s strategic and operational challenges is the loss of confidence that this bad run of events has seemingly caused. As of this writing, fires that started on July 12 were still burning on the USS Bonhomme Richard in San Diego. While a blemish on the Navy’s reputation, this fire highlights the ever-present danger and risk with which sailors live. Getting out of this rut is an imperative, both for the safety of the sailors and to reverse China’s and Russia’s successes in the competition playing out below the level of armed conflict, and which is changing conditions at sea and on land.

    Call for Action

    In order to regain its leading role, the U.S. Navy must:

    • Restore public confidence in its seamanship while better competing in the peacetime day-to-day contest over the principles of a maritime-rules-based order. This order gave rise to the post-Cold War explosion of freely moving capital across opening markets, underwriting the greatest growth of prosperity and reduction in poverty that the world had ever seen; and
    • Develop and build a fleet that can win wars and that can be reconstituted quickly in and in-between wars.

    To do both, the Navy needs to address various cracks in its institutional “hull” by invigorating its relationship with Congress and the electorate, rethinking its role in the wider government, and overhauling outdated operational and bureaucratic frameworks. The most pronounced of these cracks include:

    Lack of a Coherent and Sustained Vision. Most troubling has been the confusion that turmoil in the most senior ranks has caused, beginning with the last-minute withdrawal of prospective Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral William Moran in August 2019, then the firing of the Secretary of the Navy in November 2019, followed by the acting Secretary of the Navy’s departure in April 2020. In this environment, control of the Navy’s future fleet building plan—the Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment (INFSA)—was for the first time taken over by the Secretary of Defense. It has not been helpful that the Navy first argued in its 2016 Force Structure Assessment (FSA) that more than 653 warships would be needed to meet Combatant Command needs and then, in the same document, stated that 355 would be adequate. Such divergences strain credibility in the absence of an accessible articulation of how those smaller forces would be adequate.

    Questionable Resilience. The Navy’s demonstrated inability to return ships to service is unacceptable. After their collisions with commercial ships in 2017, it took the USS Fitzgerald over a year to depart its dry-dock and almost two years to return to sea; and the USS McCain spent nine months in dry-dock, to eventually return to sea in October 2019. With a small fleet, quick turnaround on battle damage repairs is vital.

    In sustaining forward operations, the availability of the necessary sealift to move critical material and personnel in crisis is doubtful. In September 2019, the Department of Defense conducted its largest no-notice sealift activation exercise—Turbo Activation 19-Plus, with 61 ships. Results were troubling but not surprising: The Commander of the Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) testified in December 2019 that the Ready Reserve Fleet, which provides sealift for the military, is facing challenges in being available for large-scale inter-theater force deployment without delays. At the time of the exercise, the Ready Reserve Fleet consisted of 61 vessels of which only 39 were ready for tasking. Of additional concern is the late 2018 admission by the Navy that it lacks capacity to escort sealift during combat, this as Russian and Chinese navies increasingly hold previously secure sealanes at risk. Lastly, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed systemic weaknesses: As at-risk workers stayed home, the Navy activated more than 1,600 reservists to maintain critical maintenance and production timelines, and sidelined the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt for weeks in the Western Pacific.

    Moderately Effective Demonstrations of Maritime Power. While overall, more forward presence is needed, there are some bright spots. Hugely positive was the July 2020 prolonged deployment of two U.S. carrier strike groups in the South China Sea. Its timing heightened its strategic impact, assuring regional partners amidst Chinese interference of Malaysia’s survey operations by the ultra-deep drill ship West Capella, large-scale Chinese naval exercises, prolonged cross-strait tensions over national elections in Taiwan, and months-long protests over the imposition of Chinese security laws in Hong Kong. This significant show of force has outwardly been effective, but changing Chinese and Russian threat perceptions and altering Chinese and Russian behavior requires that such operations be frequent and sustained.

    The U.S. Navy as it is now is unable to sustain the forward presence needed to pace the Chinese and Russian maritime challenges let alone shape them; the last time coordinated multiple carrier operations were conducted in the South China Sea was in 2012. This situation necessitates greater coordinated deployments with the Navy’s sister services to achieve the desired strategic impact. While such joint deployments cannot replace the Naval presence, emerging maritime capabilities, such as the Army’s ground-launched anti-ship cruise missiles, the Air Force’s long-range maritime patrol and anti-shipping missions, and the Marine Corps’ evolving expeditionary amphibious forces, can complicate Chinese and Russian calculus and contribute to effective deterrence. However, given the nature of great- power competition, deterrence can no longer be the only or primary objective of U.S. Naval presence.

    Core Proficiencies of Seamanship and Warfighting in Question. During the summer of 2017, the U.S. Navy experienced the worst peacetime accidents in more than 41 years when the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald collided with commercial vessels. These incidents claimed the lives of 17 sailors during two unrelated routine “independent steaming” operations in the Western Pacific. Subsequent Navy reviews identified several broad institutional recommendations, most notably: “The creation of combat ready forces must take equal footing with meeting the immediate demands of Combatant Commanders.” Despite the fact that the Navy implemented several maintenance and training reforms to improve fleet and aviation readiness, more is needed. As then-CNO Admiral John Richardson testified in April 2018, it will take several years of leadership oversight and stable funding to ensure the that the Navy’s sailors and platforms are returned to required states of readiness, at the earliest in 2021.

    The Navy’s goal remains being “ready to fight and win” a war. However, competitors like China and Russia have studied the U.S. military and developed approaches that challenge the Navy below the level of armed conflict, approaches that too often lack an effective response. Acknowledging today’s reality and closing this strategic and tactical gray zone has been a focus of the past several years, in a concept that Indo–Pacific Command’s Admiral Philip Davidson calls “Win Before Fighting.” In this concept, because of the maritime nature, the Navy figures prominently. However, securing the nation’s maritime interests requires the Navy to be effective in both the gray zone and war-fighting. To achieve this dual effectiveness, the Navy must be reformed and recapitalized.

    Recommendations for Restoring Naval Effectiveness for Great-Power Competition

    The Department of Defense and the Navy should:

    • Commit to building a fleet of more than 600 manned and unmanned warships, with a pronounced near-term increase in production. Building on a Heritage Foundation analyst’s 2018 minimum-fleet recommendation, this larger fleet would include a significant number of unmanned platforms and several new platforms. Both the 2016 FSA’s upper recommendations based on meeting Combatant Command requirements, and the work done by Bryan Clark of the Hudson Institute, should inform recommendations on optimum fleet numbers and composition. Much as President Ronald Reagan’s 600-ship Navy did in the 1980s, tangible commitment to this course can deter adversaries by giving the Navy the means for a forward deployed and effective presence, and the capacity for training that sustains war-fighting proficiencies and seamanship.
    • Equip, deploy, and sustain Naval forces in decisive theaters charged with challenging and changing Chinese and Russian maritime behavior. Top priority should be given to maintaining a significant, visible Naval presence in the South China Sea and in the North Atlantic. Such a presence would be a baseline for episodic surges of additional forces under the concept of “dynamic force employment” and the postponed large-scale exercises, first called for by the CNO in 2018.
    • Execute a decade-long comprehensive national seapower initiative to invigorate and expand industrial capacities and competition, while enhancing Naval infrastructure resilience. Such an effort would expand on the Navy’s ongoing $21 billion, 20-year Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP) to modernize its four public shipyards and reduce maintenance backlogs. As highlighted by a December 2019 Government Accounting Office audit, the Navy continues to experience delays of 75.4 percent of planned maintenance, shortages of experienced shipyard workers, and prevalence of poor material condition at Navy shipyards. Given the need for a larger fleet and persistent maintenance backlogs, shipyard modernization alone is not adequate, and the number of facilities must be increased.
    • Articulate a comprehensive vision for the Navy’s role in concert with all branches of government and industry in great-power competition. To this end, the March 2, 2020, CNO announcement of a forthcoming maritime strategy that brings together the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard is helpful. However, a more effective approach would have also included the Army and the Air Force, as well as key players of the inter-agency process (such as the Department of State and the Department of Commerce) while not sacrificing emphasis on achievable maritime strategic effects.

    Congress should:

    • Enact a comprehensive and sustainable national program to regain competitiveness of U.S. maritime industries. This program should be developed in concert with the maritime services (principally the Navy), appropriate leaders in industry, and local communities. Critically, this program must address multiple long-standing maritime infrastructure and resilience issues that put sustaining and expanding the Navy at risk.

    Conclusion

    Failure to meet these challenges will cede the maritime domain and its associated rules-based order to the fancies of China and Russia. This is a risk made dire as these two revisionist powers increasingly coordinate maritime operations, such as their combined July 2019 aerial circumnavigation of the disputed Takeshima/Dokto Island in the Sea of Japan. A strong Navy has been a bedrock of the nation’s security, as well as an assurance of its prosperity through secure trade. To ensure that this remains the case, the nation urgently needs to build, train, and sustain a Navy that can effectively compete in peacetime and win in war.

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