Ukraine has demonstrated the ability of explosive uncrewed surface vessels to target ships. These weapons could play a role in preventing Chinese forces from successfully invading Taiwan in potential future scenarios.
The drifting mine threat is not going away: they are simple, effective weapons that are easily made and deployed even by actors with limited naval capabilities. A holistic approach to tactics, enforcement, and technology development could help counter the threat and maintain future freedom of the seas.
The recent spectacle of a hulking container ship wedged into the Suez Canal is a reminder of how vulnerable maritime transportation is to blocked chokepoints. The fragility of maritime lifelines may encourage the use of this tactic in future conflict.
Small coastal nations face potential threats from larger, more powerful adversaries. Their coastlines represent vulnerabilities that a foe may seek to exploit. But these nations can hinder and deter potential aggressors by using less expensive systems, such as naval mines and unmanned vehicles.
A RAND workshop focused on the importance of amphibious and maritime forces working together within NATO. This provided a venue for dialogue and idea exchange about maritime and amphibious challenges and opportunities in Europe.
Distributed lethality offers a more offensive approach to using naval surface forces as potential adversaries acquire naval capabilities designed to control the sea. Translating the concept into action has implications for Navy operations, logistics, finances, and overall strategy.
The average Somali lives on less than $2 a day. Even fishermen, who are comparatively well off by national standards, face difficulties making a living due to the chronic depletion of sea stocks from years of poaching and illegal dumping of toxic waste. Under such circumstances, the allure of piracy is clear.
Although the China-U.S. agenda is jammed with pressing issues, time must be found to improve procedures and channels to defuse crises and avert military miscalculation. Political leaders should not wait for a crisis before scrutinizing war-fighting plans and insisting on ones that strengthen, not weaken, stability.