piracy

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PENTAGON: The Navy has 10 fewer ships worldwide compared to just a few months ago. It has no warships at all off South America to help combat the drug trade. And training cutbacks will force many units to specialize in a sub-set of their assigned missions instead of getting ready for the full range of… Keep reading →

ABOARD THE USS WASP: Navy and Marine Corps leaders involved with the huge Bold Alligator amphibious warfare this week will tell you it’s all about the lessons learned. And there was no bigger lesson in amphib combat ops in recent years than Operation Unified Protector, also known as Libya.

“Libya [operations] played a huge role” in the planning and execution of the various operational scenarios sailors and Marines will carry out during Bold Alligator, Lt. Cmdr George Pastoor said, referring to the UN-mandated peacekeeping mission that helped oust former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi last March. Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

Greg Sanders CSIS photo

  As the Defense Department’s budget goes down, the number of contracts awarded without competitive bids is going up. The share of contracts awarded without competition has risen from 39 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2012, according to a report I co-authored with Jesse Ellman and Rhys McCormick on DoD Contracting Trends. The news for… Keep reading →


Washington: The Navy will place arming its fleet of Fire Scout drones with a modified Hydra rocket, heralding a new era in unmanned combat for the service.

An armed Fire Scout will dramatically cut the Navy’s kill chain, or time it takes to identify, track and eventually sink an enemy target, says Jan Van Tol, a naval analyst at the Center For Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The unmanned drone can take out fleets of small, fast moving boats favored by drug smugglers and pirates with relative ease, Van Tol pointed out. “I see this primarily as useful for [counterterrorism and] counter-piracy, dealing with “swarms” of small boats,” he said. The armed Fire Scouts will also free up the Navy’s manned helicopters to do other missions, he added. Keep reading →

The Coast Guard plays important roles combating piracy and keeping America’s shores safe, but unless the President is an alchemist and can turn words into money, the service soon won’t be able to do what Congress says it must do.

There is no military area where gap between words and deeds yawns wider than in the Coast Guard. Recently, President Obama noted “we know that the complex missions asked of our Coast Guard have never been more important. Around the world, we need you to partner with other nations to secure their ports, protect the vital shipping lanes of the Persian Gulf, combat piracy off the Horn of Africa, and help train foreign partners from the Americas to Africa to Asia. Here at home, we need you to stop those smugglers, and protect our oceans, and prevent terrorists from slipping deadly weapons into our ports.” Keep reading →