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CIMSEC's mission is to build a global community of professionals, academics, and forward thinkers from a variety of fields who wish to further international maritime peace and security through an exchange of ideas and the rigor of critical thought and writing.

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Interview: China's Maritime "Gray Zone" Operations

By CIMSEC 2019-03-11 10:59:26

On March 15, the Naval Institute Press will publish China’s Maritime Gray Zone Operations, a volume edited by professors Andrew S. Erickson and Ryan D. Martinson from the Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute. CIMSEC recently reached out to Erickson and Martinson about their latest work. Q: The title of your book is China’s Maritime Gray Zone Operations. How does the term “gray zone” apply here? Martinson: We usually prefer to use Chinese concepts when talking about Chinese behavior, and Chinese strategist do not generally use the term “gray...

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Challenges for Achieving a 355-Ship Navy

By CIMSEC 2019-02-25 11:04:49

[By Cmdr. Keith Patton] During the Reagan administration, it was the policy goal of the United States to build a 600-ship Navy. That goal came very close to being realized, but the end of the Cold War and the “peace dividend” resulted in a rapid contraction of U.S. battle force ship count. This is not to say the U.S. Navy became less powerful since current U.S. multi-mission destroyers are far more capable than their 80s predecessors, but the fleet can...

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USNS Comfort's Humanitarian Mission to South America

By CIMSEC 2018-12-18 10:54:22

“My plain and simple message to our friends in the region is ‘the United States is a reliable and trustworthy security partner….Latin America and the Caribbean are not our backyard. It’s our shared neighborhood… And like the neighborhood … where I grew up, good neighbors respect each other’s sovereignty, treat each other as equal partners with respect, and commit to a strong neighborhood watch.”  –Vice Admiral Craig Faller, USN,  before the Senate Armed Forces Committee, Sep. 25, 2018.  [By W. Alejandro...

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Drones Provide a Leap Ahead for African Maritime Security

By CIMSEC 2018-10-19 12:48:07

[By Capt. Chris Rawley and Lt. Commander Cedric Patmon, USN] Technology adoption moves in fits and starts. The developing world cannot be forced into accepting new technology, but it can be enabled, and often in a surprising manner. A recent example is the leap in communications technology. During the 20th Century most of the world developed a robust network of terrestrial-based telecommunications based primarily on the ubiquitous land-line telephone system. Without this infrastructure in place Sub-Saharan African countries were largely...

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Brazil Takes Delivery of the Former HMS Ocean

By CIMSEC 2018-10-17 18:46:03

[By Wilder Alejandro Sanchez] Brazil’s new helicopter carrier, PHM Atlantico (A 140), docked in Rio de Janeiro on August 25 after sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth, United Kingdom, its former home. The vessel is the new pride and joy of the Brazilian Navy. However, apart from possessing an imposing appearance, how is this vessel useful to Brazil? The New Ship Atlantico was formerly known as HMS Ocean (L 12), an amphibious assault ship that belonged to the British Royal Navy. It was commissioned...

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A Fighting Merchant Ship for the 21st Century

By CIMSEC 2018-09-14 14:00:22

[By Steve Wills] The East Indiaman was an iconic vessel from the age of “fighting sail” that combined the features of a robust, long-range cargo ship with the weapons of a frigate-sized combatant. One source defines these vessels as, “large, strongly built vessels specifically designed by the great trading companies of England, France and Spain for the long and dangerous passage to the Far East. They were, as a type, powerfully-armed and carried large and well-disciplined crews.” John Paul Jones’ famous...

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Op-Ed: Time for a U.S. Cyber Force

By CIMSEC 2018-08-31 12:35:09

[By Dave Schroeder and Travis Howard] The proposal to create a U.S. Space Force has cyber professionals wondering about the government’s national security priorities. While spaceborne threats are very real — some of which cannot be suitably described in a public forum — the threats posed in cyberspace have been all too real for over a decade, and include everything from nuisance hacks by nation-states, to the weaponization of social media, to establishing beachheads on our nation’s electric grid, or the internet routers in your own home. Since...

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Beijing's Maritime Gifts

By CIMSEC 2018-08-03 15:29:00

[By Euan Graham] China’s growing naval and paramilitary might receives daily attention. But what of China’s emerging role as a provider of capacity to coastal states in the Indo-Pacific? Improving their maritime domain awareness has traditionally been the preserve of the “Quad” countries: the US, Japan, Australia, and India. That includes the donation of vessels and equipment to civilian maritime law enforcement agencies and navies in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the South Pacific. Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines are all repeat recipients. Given China’s...

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Mind the (High North) Gap

By CIMSEC 2018-07-18 10:56:34

[By Steve Wills, CNA Analyst] The stand-up of a new NATO Maritime headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, the re-establishment of the U.S. Navy’s East Coast-based Second Fleet and the prospect for a new NATO Maritime Strategy this year have again fueled interest in naval warfare in the wider Atlantic Ocean. One of the most commonly mentioned landmarks in this emerging environment is the iconic Greenland, Iceland, United Kingdom (GIUK) gap. The scene of the German battleship Bismarck’s passage to the Atlantic and the transit highway of...

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As China's Navy Grows, Manning Challenges Await

By CIMSEC 2018-07-13 13:13:28

[By James Goldrick] Recent reports of problems with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N) carrier-borne J-15 jet fighters have opened a small window on challenges facing China’s expanding navy, presenting a narrative counter to the recent wave of triumphalist advertisements of new capabilities. Stresses on aircraft associated with operating from the deck may have been greater than expected, causing fatalities and requiring modifications. Teething troubles are customary, but what is significant is that China’s navy has been forced to be much more critical...

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