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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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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Interview: Winning the Cold War at Sea

By CIMSEC 2018-06-08 14:23:00

[By Dmitry Filipoff] CIMSEC had the pleasure of asking The Honorable John F. Lehman, Secretary of the Navy under the Reagan Administration from 1981-1987, questions on his new book Oceans Ventured: Winning the Cold War at Sea. Q: Your tenure as Navy Secretary was guided by President Reagan’s new national security strategy. How did the 1980s U.S. Navy operationalize this new strategy? A: President Reagan was quite clear in his naval strategy and policy. Eight months before his election, he...

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Countering Chinese Ambition in the Indo-Pacific

By CIMSEC 2018-05-25 17:52:00

[By Tuan N. Pham] The following article lays out recommended ways and means that Washington can regain and maintain the strategic initiative in the Indo-Pacific. The Trump Administration has implemented many of them, but the real challenge remains in sustaining the efforts and making the costs enduring. Otherwise, Beijing will just wait out the current administration in the hopes that the next one will advance more favorable foreign policies. Alternatively, they could also step up their “sharp power” activities to...

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Why Peacetime Naval Buildups are Difficult

By CIMSEC 2018-05-21 10:08:00

[By Steven Wills] There has been much gnashing of teeth and complaint in response to the U.S. Navy’s slow build toward a goal of 355 ships. Peacetime naval buildups by free societies have never been simple undertakings. Such governments usually retire large numbers of warships in search of “peace dividends,” from which recovery is often a challenge. If ill-timed, they can result in large numbers of warships that are out of date before they complete even a decade of service,...

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