Disruptions to shipping through the Red Sea and Suez Canal are likely to have only modest effects on Chinese goods trade with most of the Middle East but could lead to significant costs for China's global trade.
While Western military action against the Houthis has increased, the Red Sea crisis is sailing through opaque waters. Short-term military action might help with the immediate crisis, but shipping routes will remain vulnerable unless the world recognizes its exposure to threats and cooperates to defend them.
Mines can help to negate the superior power of enemy fleets not only by damaging their ships, but by inducing them to avoid key waters or engage in mine-countermeasure efforts that delay and disrupt their plans. And employing a few old-style mines can be a useful complement to modern capabilities.
AUKUS—the trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—framed as a multinational quest for discovery rather than a security pact made sensible by deterrence logics, could be a political boon, both diplomatically and domestically.
Current operating concepts and an evolving threat environment demand that the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps reevaluate survivability in their analysis of the current and future fleet of Navy amphibious connectors.
In the face of aggressive maneuvers by Chinese vessels, the U.S. Navy can brandish ramming unmanned surface vessels as a capability to inhibit threats while limiting the risk of escalation. These relatively simple, inexpensive vehicles could be used alongside a variety of nonlethal weapons to manage confrontations, giving commanders more options.
Despite efforts to reduce the timelines, costs,and risks associated with MCM operations, mines remain cost-imposing weapons that can deny access for protracted periods or inflict unacceptable losses on the U.S. Navy.
Coast guards around the globe face a tremendous confluence of challenges. By anticipating these challenges and finding ways to overcome them, coastguards around the globe can continue to protect both people at sea and the maritime environment.
Deterring a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is arguably the most important defense problem of the next few decades. Artificial reefs could help to deter China simply by waiting to impale any potential invasion force.
The rise of unmanned systems creates a challenging landscape for the U.S. Coast Guard as it endeavors to conduct its diverse missions in the future. To address emerging technologies and prepare for forthcoming threats, the service recently released a strategic plan.
The Department of Defense has hypothesized that future demand for uncrewed systems (UxS) will strain the capacity of the defense industrial base (DIB). This report contains an analysis of UxS demand and recommendations on strengthening the DIB.
Congress is trying to nudge the Navy to expand the size of the fleet. But without comparable levels of funding for personnel, maintenance, technology upgrades, logistics and other support functions, a larger fleet could come at the cost of readiness.
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.
Military weapons exports and private military and security contractors are important tools for projecting a country's influence around the world. How have China and Russia employed these tools across Africa in recent years?
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.