CIMSEC

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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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The Maritime Security Challenge in Sabah

By CIMSEC 2019-08-16 12:57:40

[By Zachary Abuza, PhD]  In 2013, a group of several hundred armed militants from the southern Philippines landed in the Sabahan city of Lahud Datu in an attempt to retake the land in the name of the Sultan of Sulu. 10 security personnel and six civilians were killed. Among the militants, 45 were killed, 30 were captured and nine were sentenced to death. Since then, the eastern Sabah State of Malaysia has witnessed a series of armed incursions and kidnappings, one...

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Why Unmanned Systems are Ideal for "Gray Zone" Ops in the Gulf

By CIMSEC 2019-08-12 21:32:47

[By Heiko Borchert] Current incidents in the Arabian Sea should be seized as an opportunity to advance naval conceptual thinking about unmanned maritime systems in gray zone operations. Gray zone activities are an astute object for concept development, as they “creep up on their goals gradually,” rather than involving decisive moves, as Michael Mazarr has argued. In response, Mazarr contends, gray zone operations will “call for a greater emphasis on innovation” as these operations take different forms and intensities and thus require...

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Will the Sentinel Program Protect Persian Gulf Shipping Lanes?

By CIMSEC 2019-08-09 20:30:55

[By Irina Tsukerman] In the wake of growing tensions with Iran in the Gulf and around the Strait of Hormuz, the United States has announced a push for an international coalition that would monitor activity in the area and guard against maritime security breaches. The coalition would be known as “Operation Sentinel.” Although it is unclear as of yet which countries will make up this alliance, over 20 states are in consideration.  U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Dunford explained...

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The NATO Alliance's Role in Arctic Security

By CIMSEC 2019-07-19 10:19:50

[By Tyler Cross] Canada, much like Russia, is heavily invested in the Arctic. Ranking second in Arctic interests, it also ranks second in land holdings with 1.2 million square miles found above the Arctic Circle. Canada’s northern borders have also long been secured by the vast expanses of Arctic ice, but they may find their Arctic holdings precariously exposed if ice sheets become non-existent. There exists a dichotomy of Canadian strategy in the Arctic. Of all 28 NATO countries, Canadians...

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The Chinese Merchant Marine Supports Beijing's Security Interests

By CIMSEC 2019-07-17 21:52:33

[By Devin Thorne and Ben Spevack] On a late June morning in 2014, Vietnamese fisheries inspection vessel KN 951 approached HYSY 981, a Chinese-owned mobile oil platform operating within Vietnam’s claimed exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Three Chinese state-owned commercial vessels retaliated by spraying, ramming, and chasing KN 951 for approximately11.5 nautical miles, ultimately doing substantial damage to the Vietnamese vessel’s hull. During the pursuit, these three Chinese tugboats displayed a considerable degree of tactical coordination: there is video footage showing that two boats worked in...

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Divining Russia's Intentions in the Arctic

By CIMSEC 2019-07-10 22:08:13

[By Tyler Cross] In 1827, Sir William Parry of the British Royal Navy made the first serious attempt to reach the North Pole. Captain of the Hecla, he and his crew reached 82°45’ N, a record for humanity for the northernmost latitude reached; it remained unbroken for 49 years. Exploration of the Arctic, closely related with the search for the ever-elusive Northwest Passage, became the fascination of explorer and layman alike during the 19th century. But frozen in time and locked in ice, the...

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Rising Challenges for Maritime Order

By CIMSEC 2019-07-05 17:21:21

[By Dr. Patrick M. Cronin] The United States is a “seapower” in all senses of the word. Its history, prosperity, and security are inseparable from the oceans. Even U.S. states without coastlines depend on global supply chains and markets that move primarily through the oceans. The United States neglects its Navy at its peril. But military power must be accompanied by other types of power, both hard and soft. In his analysis of five maritime great powers, Professor Andrew Lambert...

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Op-Ed: Time to Downsize the Nuclear Attack Sub

By CIMSEC 2019-06-28 13:59:18

[By Duane J. Truitt] It is clear that U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) needs to re-engineer the next generation of SSNs. The bloated SSN(X) (now “New SSN”) concept should be rejected entirely because it is more of the same, but bigger and more expensive. Instead, the Navy should go for a new class of SSN that is far smaller and cheaper than the current Block 5 Virginias.  The key components of a reimagined, redesigned “compact” SSN include four...

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The Deadly Evolution of Abu Sayyaf and the Sea

By CIMSEC 2019-05-24 21:39:24

[By Meghan Curran] On the morning of January 27, 2019, two bombs exploded inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in Jolo on the Sulu Province in the southern Philippines. Tearing a hole through the cathedral during a Sunday service, the bombs claimed 20 lives, injured dozens more, and propelled Islamist extremism in the Philippines back into international headlines. In the aftermath of the blast, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte promised to “pursue to the ends of the Earth...

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The Case for Unmanned Surface Vehicles in the U.S. Navy

By CIMSEC 2019-05-15 21:46:22

[By Wayne Prender] As U.S. naval forces further develop and implement distributed maritime operations concepts to address great power competition with Russia and China, more ships spread across wider distances will be required. This, in turn, will lead to a changing fleet composition with larger numbers of small ships and vessels of all types, as well as provide the additional required logistical support over expanded distances. Far greater participation of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) of all types will be needed...

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