The fiscal crisis that continues to grip this nation has generated enormous challenges for America’s defense establishment. At the same time, by upending old certainties and assumptions, it has also opened the way for fresh thinking about our defense priorities and ways of doing business. In “Marching toward the Sweet Spot: Options for the U.S. Marine Corps in a Period of Austerity,” Robert P. Kozloski offers an example of such fresh thinking regarding the way forward for the Marine Corps, a topic that has garnered much attention since the winding down of the combat missions of the Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan. A major focus of his analysis is the relationship of the Marine Corps to the Navy, on the one hand, and, on the other, to the special operations community. Robert Kozloski is a program analyst for the Department of the Navy and a former Marine.
Fiscal constraints also continue to pose major problems for our NATO allies and the NATO alliance as a whole. In “Smart Defense: Brave New Approach or Déjà Vu?,” Paul Johnson, Tim LaBenz, and Darrell Driver review past and current efforts within the alliance to enhance multinational collaboration through a variety of specialized programs, such as the Deployable Air Task Force spearheaded by the Benelux countries and the very recent initiative linking all NATO special operations forces. They conclude that this “smart defense” approach, while certainly not wholly new, holds out considerable promise as the alliance struggles with defining its missions in a post-Afghanistan era and balancing its priorities in a strategic environment of severe economic uncertainty.
In “Toward ‘Land’ or toward ‘Sea’: The High-Speed Railway and China’s Grand Strategy,” Wu Zhengyu offers a contribution to the ongoing debate within academic and policy circles in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) concerning that nation’s geostrategic challenges and the merits of its relatively recent turn to the sea. It is not widely known that in recent years the Chinese have also made massive investments in high-speed railroads linking the country’s developed eastern seaboard to the interior. Though clearly motivated in significant part by a desire to consolidate the regime’s grip on its restive western provinces, particularly Tibet, these railway projects are evidently viewed by some among China’s elites as key enablers of a strategic option for the PRC that is fundamentally in tension with its ambitious naval buildup of the last decade or so and its maritime-oriented commercial and energy policies. In a classic geopolitical analysis (of a sort that is common in today’s China but increasingly rare in the West), Wu argues that the option of continental expansion is unrealistic given the difficulties it would necessarily create in the PRC’s relationships with Russia and would-be clients in Central Asia. At the same time, the author does not see it as necessary or desirable for the PRC to challenge directly the American presence in the East Asian littorals. Wu Zhengyu is a professor in the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing.
Practitioners of war gaming know that this arcane field remains more art than science. The Naval War College has a long gaming tradition, one that has been at the forefront of methodological thinking and innovation in this area (Francis J. McHugh’s 1966 classic Fundamentals of War Gaming, for example, has recently been reprinted by the College). In “Adjudication: The Diabolus in Machina of War Gaming,” Stephen Downes-Martin continues in this tradition with an analysis of the usually overlooked role of adjudicators in certain kinds of war games—those that set out to “discover” new lessons in warfare at the operational or strategic level. He argues that adjudicators should themselves be regarded as “players” in such games, that as much attention should be paid in game design and execution to the beliefs such players articulate in the course of a game as to the formal decisions they make. Stephen Downes-Martin is a professor in the Warfare Analysis and Research Department of the Center for Naval Warfare Studies.
The Gaza blockade incident of January 2009 and the controversy surrounding it is a prime example of what some in recent years have usefully characterized by the neologism “lawfare.” The “human rights activists” aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara who attempted to breach Israel’s proclaimed blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip were clearly attempting to provoke an incident that could be used to accuse Israel of violating international law; they succeeded when an Israeli boarding party was resisted by some of those on the ship, leading to violence in which nine Turkish citizens were killed. Investigations of the incident were conducted by special panels of legal experts in Turkey, Israel, and the United Nations, with results that were largely predictable. In “The Gaza Flotilla Incident and the Modern Law of Blockade,” James Farrant asks what can be learned from this experience not only about the merits of the various positions taken over this matter but about its implications for the current status of the international law of blockade. Lieutenant Commander James Farrant is the first Royal Navy exchange officer in the International Law Department of the Center for Naval Warfare Studies.
The Royal Navy is also represented in this issue by Ben Lombardi and David Rudd, “The Type 45 Daring-Class Destroyer: How Project Management Problems Led to Fewer Ships.” Lombardi and Rudd provide an extended account of the evolution of the United Kingdom’s Type 45 air-defense-destroyer replacement program over the last decade or so, detailing the political and bureaucratic obstacles it has faced as well as the management mistakes that resulted in a buy of only six vessels out of an original requirement of twelve. Their conclusion: “The less-than-satisfactory outcome should give pause to decision makers elsewhere seeking to recapitalize their own fleets. If the above-mentioned problems befell a country with a long history of building sophisticated naval vessels, those with less experience and less money to correct programmatic errors may also see their naval construction projects and maritime security goals come to grief.” This should come as cold comfort indeed to those familiar with the recent history of naval procurement in the United States. Ben Lombardi and David Rudd are strategic analysts with Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, in Ottawa.
The Royal Navy makes yet another appearance here in “The Other Ultra: Signal Intelligence and the Battle to Supply Rommel’s Attack toward Suez,” by Vincent P. O’Hara and Enrico Cernuschi. Because research and publication on intelligence during World War II and beyond has been so one-sidedly dominated by British and American scholars, it can be argued, a true appreciation of the intelligence balance during that war remains to be achieved. O’Hara and Cernuschi, in a well-researched account of the hitherto little-known signals intelligence successes of the Italian Regia Marina against the British in the central Mediterranean, have made an important contribution to remedying this situation.
Finally, we offer a fascinating dispatch from the front lines of jointness in the form of Charles Callahan’s “Stowaway Soldier, Camouflage in a Khaki World: Creating a Single Culture of Trust from Distinct Service Cultures.” Dr. (and Colonel) Callahan was the first Army officer to serve as deputy commander of the National Naval Medical Center, in Bethesda.
NEW FROM THE PRESS: NEWPORT PAPER 39
Influence without Boots on the Ground: Seaborne Crisis Response, by Larissa Forster, the thirty-ninth title in our Newport Papers monograph series, is now available for sale in print form by the Government Printing Office online bookstore, at http://bookstore.gpo.gov, as well as online at our own site. The monograph is an empirical analysis of crisis characteristics, actors, U.S. involvement, and outcomes, exploring the political use of naval forces during foreign-policy crises short of full-scale warfare. Dr. Forster, of the University of Zurich, uses a statistical model to analyze naval crisis data in ways useful to policy makers and strategists—outlining the unique characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of naval forces and summarizing theoretical literature on naval diplomacy and coercion, as well as earlier quantitative research.
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