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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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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The Future of the Arctic Economy

By CIMSEC 2018-07-09 18:35:32

[By Rachael Gosnell] The economic potential of the Arctic is vast, but the complexities of the region must be considered when analyzing the future of the Arctic. While the region north of the Arctic Circle is commonly viewed as a singular expanse, the reality is rather different. Within the Arctic – and amongst the eight Arctic nations – there exists noteworthy similarities but also tremendous variations. Indeed, the Arctic is a diverse part of the world that would be best...

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Understanding the Philippines' South China Sea Policy

By CIMSEC 2018-06-29 16:05:40

[By Aaron Jed Rabena] Many local and international observers have denounced Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s conduct towards China as “appeasement” after he took the view there was nothing the Philippines could do to stop China’s militarization in the South China Sea. Duterte’s defeatist attitude, allegedly the trade-off of comprehensive engagement with China, is being put to a critical test as domestic voices in the country press for stronger actions to contain the looming Chinese threat to Philippine external security and maritime...

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Maritime Strategy in Northeast Asia

By CIMSEC 2018-06-24 11:37:17

[By Pawel Behrendt] Great power competition and arms races are back, especially in Asia. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Asia and Oceania countries in 2017 were responsible for 27 percent of global military expenditures. In absolute numbers it totalled $477 billion. Three out of the 15 top spenders are located in North East Asia: China ($228 billion), Japan ($45 billion), and South Korea ($39 billion). Given the role of maritime trade for the economies of these three powers...

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Innovation in the War on Drugs: Narcosubs

By CIMSEC 2018-06-19 12:05:29

[By Javier Guerrero C.] Last year, the Colombian Navy detected and captured the first electric narco-submarine. Demonstrating the innovative capacities of Colombian drug traffickers, narco-submarines (also known as drug subs, narco-semisubmersibles, self-propelled semisubmersibles, or simply narcosubs) are custom-made vessels used principally by Colombian drug traffickers with the purpose of smuggling illicit drugs to consumers or transshipment countries. The very process of thwarting a particular method or route creates the conditions to propel technological innovation on the drug traffickers’ side, and the narcosubs are...

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Countering Hybrid Threats in the Maritime Environment

By CIMSEC 2018-06-11 14:06:00

[By Chris Kremidas-Courtney] Today, state and non-state actors are challenging nations, institutions, and private companies through a wide range of overt and covert activities targeted at their vulnerabilities. Both NATO and the European Union refer to these as “hybrid threats” and the maritime domain has proven to be especially vulnerable. As we’ve seen recently, in both Crimea and the South China Sea, a hybrid approach lowers the political price for aggression, making regime change and territorial annexation possible “on the cheap.”...

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