marines in afghanistan with v-22

BALLSTON, Va: Since early November, three Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys and 26 marines have been on alert at Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait, on 30-minute alert to fly in and rescue a U.S. or coalition pilot downed while bombing or shooting at the Islamic State in Iraq or Syria. On 29 occasions between Nov. 1 and… Keep reading →

Oil sea routes map

Energy sources and related commodities have driven national security issues ever since the modern nation-state was born with the Peace of Westphalia. Oak made Spain and England’s stout sailing ships. Water energy and wind drove mills and moved water. Wood and coal moved steamships. Then came the almost magical commodity of oil, packed with energy. World War II… Keep reading →

Obama delivers ISIL speech

President Obama was recently depicted on the cover of The Economist as the new George W. Bush, forced to head back to Iraq. One can correctly argue that the President and his national security team have spent more time distancing themselves from Bush’s administration than looking hard into the future and shaping the strategic space within which… Keep reading →

Confirmation Hearing Held For Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Allen To Take Over Command Of Afghanistan

WASHINGTON: The allied air strikes against ISIL that brought together the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Jordan “are a watershed moment” in the fight to solve terrorism, “the major security issue of our time,” one of the most rational defense lawmakers in Congress said today. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the strikes offered… Keep reading →

U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (July 3, 2013) Patrol coastal ship (from left) USS Squall (PC 7), USS Thunderbolt (PC 12), and USS Tempest (PC 2) prepare to float off the motor transport vessel M/V Eide Transporter. The PCs’ arrival brings the total number to eight PCs here to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Danielle A. Brandt/Released)

Three Navy coastal patrol craft arrived in the Persian Gulf this morning aboard a transoceanic transport ship. Once again, the US Navy is moving more warships to the Persian Gulf. This time, though, we’re not sending an extra aircraft carrier or another task force. This is arguably a de-escalation of possible tensions with Iran. In… Keep reading →

35 ships, 70 aircraft, and 6,500 personnel from 41 countries participated in the exercises.

Just nine months after hosting the biggest multinational mine-warfare exercises “ever” to be held in and around the Persian Gulf, the Navy’s 5th Fleet and its foreign partners outdid themselves with a second, even larger wargame. More than 20 nations participated in September’s International Mine Counter-Measures Exercise 2012, collaborating against fictional ecoterrorists whose capabilities were suspiciously… Keep reading →

CORRECTED: Fixes Number of Minesweepers in US Ports 9:35 am 10/1/2012
Officially, despite rising tensions with Tehran, the enemy in in the international naval wargames that kicked off in the Gulf this week is not, repeat not, Iran: It’s radical environmentalists. Very, very well-armed environmentalists.

Against this fictional Greenpeace gone rogue are set the ships, aircraft, and divers from more than 20 nations, including an unprecedented concentration of Navy minesweepers, eight of which are now in the Gulf — a surge the Navy told Breaking Defense it cannot sustain long into 2013. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: While the Littoral Combat Ship is not suited for the front lines of a war with China, it would provide vital protection to US supply lines in such conflict, said Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work, and against Iran, LCS would be in the battle from “day one,” with eight LCSs ultimately operating out of Bahrain. Indeed, the two potential theaters of war are so different that the Navy may consider focusing the “much more maneuverable” Lockheed Martin version of the LCS on fighting fast attack boats in the narrow waters of the Persian Gulf, while the very different General Dynamics design, with its larger flight deck and fuel tanks, operates primarily in the vast reaches of the Pacific. Keep reading →

The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, detailed the Navy’s build-up in the Persian Gulf today, but he downplayed the prospects of any immediate conflict with Iran – even as the fleet develops new weapons for coastal combat and plans to double its deployment of minesweepers and upgunned patrol craft to Bahrain.

“I will tell you the Iranian Navy has been professional and courteous, they’ve been good mariners, they’ve operated in accordance with the rules of the road,” Adm. Greenert told reporters at a breakfast talk in Washington, D.C. By contrast, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which operates its own naval forces independently of the regular Navy, “has on occasion violated decorum and rules of the road. Those are the incidents you read about in the paper where small boats get too close,” he said, “[but even] they’re not ramping up.” Though there are “occasional” minor provocations by the Guard Corps, overall Iranian military activity is at normal levels, Greenert said. Keep reading →