Friday, December 2, 2016

Pirouetting InTo The Past

Our global challenges will not get solved when the United States and Russia are doing clumsy pirouettes on regional stages like two overweight pensioned prima ballerinas reminiscently reliving earlier performances.

Cooperation will more effectively respond to our global challenges than pirouettes into the past.


UPDATED 11/21/2016 Wikipedia, Truman Doctrine and Turkish Straits crisis (past is prologue albeit with a hint of irony ... Reuters, China says would consider Turkish membership of security bloc)


UPDATED 10/14/2016 HI, Cold War Archive
UPDATED 07/30/2016 LSE, Cold War Studies Project
UPDATED 07/30/2016  gBooks, The Cambridge History of the Cold War, Volume 1 (also, Volume 2 and 3)


UPDATED 12/02/2016 Telegraph, Vladimir Putin says Russia wants to normalise relations with US

A Security Council vote is not required to steadfastly support or increase and extend the sanctions imposed on an infandous (odious beyond expression) government.


Normalized relationship with the United States must require Russia's compliance with the Minsk II protocol. Changing or maintaining national borders by use of force or an infinite variety of thuggery is a twenty-first century anathema and affront to all peaceful nations.

UPDATED 11/23/2016 WP, These maps show how Russia has Europe spooked
UPDATED 11/21/2016 WT, Russia withdraws from International Criminal Court after being called out over Crimea invasion
UPDATED 10/13/2016 CSM, Gorbachev calls for peace: Is there a path forward? and  IPI, Interview with Mikhail Gorbachev at the Reykjavik Summit

“Worst Thing” Collapse of Trust Between Major Powers" --Mikhail Gorbachev--

Even worse than mistrust between nations, is the twenty-first century chaos created when any nation's government seeks to impose ad hoc changes to international rules or order by threat, intimidation, force, and coercion, 

UPDATED 08/19/2016 UPI, Russia's military buildup in Arctic plays into global strategy

The sooner all global citizenry live under representative type governments, the sooner nations can get on with doing things that matter!

UPDATED 07/31/2016 CSIS, Undersea Warfare in Northern Europe and CSIS, Report "Undersea Warfare in Northern Europe" (PDF 1.6M) and The Cold War: In Enemy’s Depth - The Submarine War and Cold War Spy Secrets Under the Sea1



1. The turbulent and noisy bubble bursts called cavitation releases enough energy to pit the surface of a polished propeller blade, which further disrupts laminar flow and decreases propeller efficiency (η0) *.

* See A.H. Techet, Hydrodynamics for Ocean Engineers: Propellers: Propeller Performance Characterization, 2004 for an introduction to propeller performance.

Modern submarines will typically use pump-jet propulsors (i.e. a shrouded propeller).

Originally Published July 26, 2016; Last Updated December 02, 2016; Last Republished December 02, 2016:

United States Fast Attack (SSN) Submarines

Last Updated  December 02, 2016 (Christening of USS Colorado SSN 788.

Los Angeles-Class (Active;6,900 tons)

USS Los Angeles (SSN 688) - Inactivation: 02/01/2010  
USS Philadelphia (SSN 690) decommissioned 06/29/2011

USS Memphis (SSN 691) - Inactivation: 04/07/2011
USS Bremerton (SSN 698) commissioned3 03/28/1981
USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) commissioned 05/16/1981
USS Dallas (SSN 700) commissioned 07/18/1981
USS La Jolla (SSN 701) commissioned 09/30/1981
USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705) commissioned 01/08/1983
USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) commissioned 05/21/1983

USS Augusta (SSN 710) - Stricken: 02/11/2009
USS San Francisco (SSN 711) commissioned 04/24/1981
USS Houston (SSN 713) commissioned 09/25/1982
USS Norfolk (SSN 714) commissioned 05/21/1983
USS Buffalo (SSN 715) commissioned 11/05/1983
USS Olympia (SSN 717) commissioned 11/17/1984
USS Providence (SSN 719) commissioned 07/27/1985
USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) commissioned 11/23/1985
USS Chicago (SSN 721) commissioned 09/27/1986
USS Key West (SSN 722) commissioned 09/12/1987
USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) commissioned 07/09/1988
USS Louisville (SSN 724) commissioned 11/08/1986
USS Helena (SSN 725) commissioned 07/11/1987
USS Newport News (SSN 750) commissioned 06/03/1989
USS San Juan (SSN 751)commissioned 08/06/1988
USS Pasadena (SSN 752) commissioned 02/11/1989
USS Albany (SSN 753) commissioned 04/07/1990
USS Topeka (SSN 754) commissioned 10/21/1989
USS Miami (SSN 755) commissioned 06/30/1990
USS Scranton (SSN 756) commissioned 01/26/1991
USS Alexandria (SSN 757) commissioned 06/29/1991
USS Asheville (SSN 758) commissioned 09/28/1991
USS Jefferson City (SSN 759) commissioned 02/29/1992
USS Annapolis (SSN 760) commissioned 04/11/1992
USS Springfield (SSN 761) commissioned 01/09/1993
USS Columbus (SSN 762) commissioned 07/24/1993
USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) commissioned 01/08/1994
USS Boise (SSN 764) commissioned 11/07/1992
USS Montpelier (SSN 765) commissioned 03/13/1993
USS Charlotte (SSN 766) commissioned 09/16/1994
USS Hampton (SSN 767) commissioned 11/06/1993
USS Hartford (SSN 768) commissioned 12/10/1994
USS Toledo (SSN 769) commissioned 02/24/1995
USS Tucson (SSN 770) commissioned 08/18/1995
USS Columbia (SSN 771) commissioned 10/09/1995
USS Greeneville (SSN 772) commissioned 02/16/1996
USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) commissioned 09/13/1996  
Seawolf-Class (Active;9,200 tons)
USS Seawolf (SSN 21)
USS Connecticut (SSN 22)
USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23)  
Virginia-Class (Active;7,800 tons)
USS Virginia (SSN 774) 
USS Texas (SSN 775)
USS Hawaii (SSN 776)
USS North Carolina (SSN 777) End of Block I1
New Hampshire (SSN 778) 
New Mexico (SSN 779) 
Missouri (SSN 780) 
California (SSN 781) 
Mississippi (SSN 782) Commissioning scheduled for June 02, 2012
Minnesota (SSN 783) End of Block II1, Christening scheduled for October 27, 2012
North Dakota (SSN 784)—Fixed Price Incentive Contract2 (N00024-09-C-2104) for Block III (8 subs) announced December 22, 2008. Commissioned on October 25, 2014; Sponsor, Katie Fowler
John Warner (SSN 785) - Ingalls; Sponsor Jeanne Warner; Keel Ceremony March 16, 2013; Commissioning Ceremony, August 01, 2015
Illinois (SSN 786) -EB  Commissioning Ceremony Saturday, 10/29/2016
Washington (SSN 787) -Ingalls - Christening
Colorado (SSN 788) -EB Christening Ceremony, Saturday, December 03, 2016
Indiana (SSN 789) -Ingalls; Sponsor Diane Donald; Keel Ceremony May 16, 2015
South Dakota (SSN 790) -EB
Delaware (SSN 791); Sponsor Jill Biden; Keel Ceremony Scheduled for 2013;
End of Block III; Begin Block IV
Vermont (SSN 792) -Ingalls/EB;
Oregon - EB (SSN 793)
Montana (SSN 794) Inglalls Newport News
Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 795) - EB
New Jersey (SSN 796) Inglalls Newport News
Iowa (SSN 797) - EB
Massachusetts (SSN 798) Inglalls Newport New
Idaho (SSN 799) - EB
Arkansas (SSN 800) - Inglalls Newport News (Navy Names Virginia-Class Submarine)
Utah (SSN 801) -EB (DoD Release No: NR-021-16)


UPDATED 04/13/2012 DefenseNews, Navy Names Five New Submarines.
GDEB, Complete Nuclear Submarine Lineup. Our nation's premiere submarine builder has put together a useful list of all nuclear line submarines


1. Blocks are program points for assessment (congressional, military, design, costs etc) and phase in of prior accumulated design changes, both major and minor.

2. Each submarine is purchased without weapons for a fixed price of say $1.65 billion current dollars (weapons are purchased separately for, say another $.850 billion).

The contractor is then "incentivized" with additional dollars, as a function of capital investment (which is huge for shipbuilding) depending on negotiated performance goals.

Contracting on a fixed price basis without an established and fixed submarine design is illusory. The fixed price effectively becomes cost reimbursement each time the design is changed (this applies to the submarine's weapons as well as the submarine itself).

It is useful to use total cost of ownership figures as opposed to any single announced price tag. An announced price tag always comes with so many assumptions about future events that it rarely if ever is meaningful or represents the true price, even within large margins of error!

3. Depending on a 688 submarine's operational, maintenance and overhaul history its "30 year hull life" may be safely extended to between 34-38 years. So, a continuously activate 688 submarine commissioned in 1981 can have an expected decommissioning date of between 2015-2018. Of course older submarines generally cost more to operate so there are economic trade-offs.

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Submarine Force Framework

Originally Published July 31, 2011; Last Updated November 21, 2016; Last Republished November 21, 2016:

Commander of the Submarine Force has published a dynamic submarine force framework entitled Design for Undersea Warfare Update I (Nov 2012) and Commander’s Intent for the United States Submarine Force and Supporting Organizations December 20153. Complementing this framework document is Undersea Warfighting (July 2011), discussing common attributes historically possessed by our intrepid submariners.


UPDATED 11/21/2016 Undersea Warfare Science & Technology Strategy 2016: Enabling Strategic Innovation for the Undersea Force and Written Statement of Dr. Edward R. Franchi Acting Director Of Research U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Before The Emerging Threats And Capabilities Subcommittee Sept 2016


UPDATED 11/21/2016 CSIS, Part VI: From Cyber to Sub surface Key Operational Challenges for Innovators and Part VII: New Perspectives on Defense Innovation and Third Offset and Carter Gives Keynote Address at CSIS Conference and The Role of Space in Maritime Operations with Rear Admiral [PEO C4I] Christian Becker



UPDATED 01/04/2014 NAP, Responding to Capability Surprise: A Strategy for U.S. Naval Forces
"The goal of naval forces must be to always find [continuously seek]2 the best reaction to a surprise, using the fullest measure of knowledge, intelligence, experience, and talent that can be brought to bear."--@pg 145, [edits not in original]--
UPDATED 12/19/2011 USNI Proceedings, Navy 2025 Forward Warfighters
UPDATED 10/01/2011  Submarine Incentive Pay Increase for Senior Enlisted

Effective October 1, 2011 submarine incentive pay for E8 and E9 submariners with 18 plus years of service increases.

The pay change comes at a time of when our submarine force is considering increased platform operation tempos.

A typical fast attack (SSN) platform will spend between 80-125 operational days per year depending on transit time and initial location. At a nominal operational cost range of between $2.5-2.7 million dollars per day.

Our navy is trying to figure out how to accomplish its projected missions in the face of increasing submarine platform prices and consequent declining submarine force structure1.

UPDATED 08/08/2011 Diplomat, Submarines and a Battle of Minds


1. There is an intense debate underway between those advocating for different submarine deployment strategies ( e.g. forward presence; critical security; share the burden; and autonomous platform substitution etc.). The submarine force structure (number and type of platforms) required to implement these different submarine deployment strategies vary greatly.

It can be safely assumed: that admirals and their congressional advocates will prefer more submarine platforms too less; the number of missions will increase or decrease to fit a given submarine force structure; budgets will increase or decrease proportional to the number of mission days and submarine force structure; a submarine force structure represents an underlying military philosophy and doctrine that may or may not be current, accurate, and complete.

2. A best (optimal) reaction may not exist to be found, notwithstanding application of the committee's recommended framework. And, of course sometimes the optimal reaction to surprise will be no reaction, which ironically is often the most difficult reaction to implement!

The difficulty may result from applying Byzantine and bizarre logic, which asserts a putative and potential opponent may interpret no reaction as an inadequate or insufficient deterrent?

3. "Commander's Intent..." supersedes "Design for..."

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Report Recommends Ban On Submarine Smoking

Originally Published July 28, 2009; Last Updated November 01, 2016; Last Republished November 01, 2016:

Our National Academy of Sciences Committee on Smoking Cessation in Military and Veteran Populations; Institute of Medicine is out with a new publication on Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations 2009.
"Recommendation: Tobacco use should be banned on military installations, and in all military aircraft, all surface vehicles, and all ships and submarines."1

Cigarette smoking on a submarine is no trivial matter due to a submarine's closed environment; recirculation of scrubbed atmosphere; smoke aerosol; 3,800 chemicals found in cigarettes2; and harm to our submariners' health3. A submarine's central atmosphere monitoring system (CAMS) continuously samples4 the submarine's atmosphere using infrared spectrometer to measure carbon monoxide and a mass spectrometer to measure oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, water vapor, and freon5.

Click for larger color cut-out of Los Angeles-class
UPDATED 02/09/2012 The CAMS IIA (manufactured by United Technologies Hamilton Sundstrand) will be retrofitted into active Los Angeles-class, Seawolf-class and Block I and II Virginia-class submarines.   Beginning with Block III Virginia-class submarines the CAMS IIA units will be original installed equipment.

Of course cigarette smoking is not the only source of potentially harmful chemicals on a submarine—other sources include cooking; human body; equipment; power train; weapons systems; batteries; sanitary tanks; air-conditioning; refrigeration systems; and a variety of maintenance and repair activities. ... you have to cook the Cajun blackened red fish slightly different than you would at home—lest you create an atmospheric emergency instead of an epicurean delight!  


UPDATED 11/01/2016 NavyMed, Navy & Marine Corps Public Health Center, Tobacco Free Living
UPDATED 04/02/2012 NAP, Scientific Standards for Studies on Modified Risk Tobacco Products

Hopefully, our submarines will not use the modified risk tobacco products having reduced or eliminated cigarette smoking during deployment.
...Smoking is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States, contributing to approximately 443,000 premature deaths each year nationally(CDC, 2008). Smoking-related disease causes more deaths than alcohol, illicit drug use, homicide, and suicide combined (Mokdad et al., 2004). Another 8.6 million smokers in the United States live with a smoking-attributable illness (CDC, 2009a). In total, tobacco-related mortality amounts to approximately 5.1 million years of potential life lost per year (CDC, 2008). Smoking also imposes enormous costs on the U.S. health care system and economy, with an estimated $193 billion in losses due to health care costs and productivity losses per year (CDC, 2008).
UPDATED 04/02/2012 EHP, New Device Measures Atmospheric Isocyanic Acid

...researchers calculated mainstream cigarette smoke may contain 40–140 ppmv HNCO [isocyanic acid]. Urea is added to cigarettes to enhance flavor.

UPDATED 11/05/2010 CDC, State-Specific Prevalence of Cigarette Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Adults --- United States, 2009.

...Several states were identified with high prevalence of both cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use. Additionally, co-use of smokeless tobacco among men who smoke cigarettes, a behavior that might hinder successful smoking cessation (5,6), was common in several states..."--CDC Cigarette Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco--

UPDATED 05/13/2010 CDC, Adult Tobacco Survey (ATS). Report includes data collected during February 2003--November 2007.

UPDATED 04/15/2010 When announcing the recent ban on smoking below deck on all navy submarines ComSubFor referenced a 2009 Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) nine submarine secondhand smoke study. However neither NSMRL nor ComSubFor appear to have released the study? Presumably the study was conducted by Gertner et al.?

UPDATED 04/09/2010 CDC, Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs 2007

UPDATED 01/27/2010 NAP, Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence (2010)

UPDATED 01/27/2010 The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General

NAP, Emergency and Continuous Emergency and Continuous Exposure Limits for Selected Airborne Contaminants, Vol 1

NAP, Emergency and Continuous Exposure Guidance Levels for Selected Submarine Contaminants, Vol 2

UPDATED 11/01/2016 NavyMil, Navy Medicine Encourages Sailors and Marines to Quit Tobacco  and NavyMil, Live Tobacco-Free: The Time Is Now and Wired, This Robot Chain Smokes Cigarettes So Rats [and you] Don't Have To

Until clinical medicine is able to reliably block an individual's molecular addictive pathway(s) related to nicotine, tobacco usage will be a difficult habit to "kick"...but stopping is possible, even if it requires repeated attempts over prolong periods of time.

"There is no safe tobacco product and no safe level of use,"--Dr. Long--

Tobacco smoke has ionizing Polonium 210, which has a half-life of about 138 days, alpha decaying to stable Lead 206. Submariners and others should avoid tobacco smoke as if it were ionizing radiation.

Also, it's worth noting that smoking impairs the molecular mechanisms that routinely repair our intercalated DNA helical base pairs (mutations), which prevents normal cellular DNA replication.

Kudos to the submariners who've endure long periods submerged without smoking!

UPDATED 07/01/2013 LBNL, Berkeley Lab Confirms Thirdhand Smoke Causes DNA Damage

Baleful cigarette weaponry continues to menace, molest, mutate, maim and collaterally kill members of our civil society while our judiciary considers (see below) whether requiring prominent pictograms on "product packaging" is permissible. You can't make this stuff up!

UPDATED 04/12/2012 Thomson Reuters, U.S. appeals court hears case of graphic tobacco ads

Cigarettes have two attributes that distinguish them from most, if not all other products—when used as the manufacturer intends they addict and prematurely kill a significant portion of our citizens.

The lower court judge ruled that our FDA could use increased the taxes or factual information but not graphic images (see below) to discourage smoking. Wonder if the FDA or congress could determine cigarette manufactures lack standing whenever any cigarette user sues them?

Curiously, the lower court logic appears to grant strict scrutiny to commercial speech. Moreover, the logic seems to ignore fact that cigarettes are highly addictive and may not be responsive to higher prices or additional textual information (i.e are required but insufficient to eradicate smoking).

UPDATED 03/30/2012 SMH, Tobacco firms told to come clean

It's amazing that our FDA is only requiring tobacco firms to disclose 20 of the estimated 3,800 chemicals thought to be in cigarettes—guess if the first 20 chemicals kill you the remaining 3,780 are redundant.

In related good news our CDC's recent anti-smoking ad campaign more than doubled the number of calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW and more than tripled the visits to website

UPDATED 01/01/2011 NYT, As of Friday, No Fire Down Below.

UPDATED 11/15/2010 NavyMil, Groton Submarines Create Fresh Starts, Prepare for Dec. 31 Smoking Ban.

UPDATED 10/22/2010 NavyMil, Smoking Lamp Grows Dim On Submarines. Twenty-one submarines have already met the tobacco-smoke-free deadline and others are on schedule to beat the deadline. Kudos to our smoking submariners and those helping them to quit this super-addictive, difficult to eliminate habit.

UPDATED 04/08/2010 NavyMil, Smoking To Be Extinguished On Submarines. Commander, Submarine Forces (COMSUBFOR) has announced a total ban on smoking inside all U.S. Navy submarines, effective not later than December 31, 2010.

UPDATED 03/29/2010 NavyTimes, CNO: Smoking ban for subs in the works. The Navy Times article is unclear on how the ban will be implemented, but will likely include significant resources and assistance to help our submariners kick this very addictive and harmful habit. Repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking usually precede successful smoking cessation over an extended period. Perhaps a little intra-inter-submarine competition, rewards, and recognition will help our submariners adopt and maintain a tobacco free (not just cigarette smoking) lifestyle?

UPDATED 02/05/2010 UPI, Individual risk helps smokers quit. Research indicates that giving our submariners that smoke cigarettes specific data from their medical tests indicating impairment to their health will help them quit (e.g. data from their lung capacity tests).


1. This is not the first time an Academy committee has recommended a ban on submarine smoking—clearly the trend is toward encouraging cessation and an eventual ban. Currently submarine smoking is permitted in accordance with SECNAV Instruction 5100.(5) Submarines, July 31, 2008:
"Tobacco-use areas may be designated aboard submarines following the guidance of reference (e) [NAVSEA S9510-AB-ATM-010, Nuclear Powered Submarine Atmosphere Control Manual; Volume 1(U), Rev 2]. These spaces must be well ventilated and not in the vicinity of stationary watch stations. Berthing spaces, messes, lounges, and exercise areas shall not be designated as tobacco use areas. The number of smoking tobacco users authorized to use a designated tobacco use area at one time shall be limited by the clearance capacity of the ventilation system."
Jackman et al. (2004) found that exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke on submarines was minimal during a 10-day deployment (Jackman et al., 2004). Seufert and Kiser (1996), however, found that after 62 hours in a nonventilated submerged submarine the end-expiratory carbon monoxide (EECO)levels of nonsmoking crew members were equal to the initial EECO levels of crew members who smoked suggesting that nonsmokers were exposed to elevated levels of carbon monoxide.

2. Including CO and CO2—each smoked cigarette produces 0.026-0.07 grams of CO (carbon monoxide).

3. The percentage of submariners smoking cigarettes has declined over the last twenty-five years from ranges of 30%-40% to 20%-30%.

A recent survey across a number of submarine crews and patrols found the average self-reporting smoking rate to be 11%. (see Terry L. Thomas et al., "Health of U.S. Navy Submarine Crew During Periods of Isolation". Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 74, No. 3, March 2003)

UPDATED 07/28/2009 Commissioned smokers 2.2% (N=1,389); Non-Commissioned smokers 14.4% (N=11,952); Smoking status Unknown 2.6% (N=36) and 2.9% (N=344), respectively.

These low percentages are very encouraging: they are overall much lower than the general smoking population; low among non-commissioned submariners; and very low among commissioned submariners (encouraging directly and indirectly cessation of smoking).

There are some data to suggest that smoking and radiation exposure are augmentative with respect to lung cancer—of course it is well known that each independently cause lung cancer, too.

4. The CAMS samples air from different locations in addition to monitoring the main fan room containing the huge blower. The blower can be configured to intake, exhaust, or recirculate air atmosphere. (as an aside it can also be used to blow air into the ballast tanks!)

5. Other chemicals, substances, and compounds may be monitored using simple techniques such as calibrated color-metric tubes.

6. Post is substantially based on information from these publications—a wealth of information on the topic of submarine atmosphere.

Also Our National Academy of Sciences Committee on Smoking Cessation in Military and Veteran Populations and Institute of Medicine Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations 2009.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Virginia Class Submarine - Defense Authorization FY11 Update-2

Originally Published November 20, 2010; Last Updated October 29, 2016; Last Republished October 29, 2016:

The Navy's September 30, 2010 December 31, 2012 selected acquisition report (SAR)  latest SAR has rebaselined the Virginia-class submarine program at $93,207,300,000.00 (read $93.2 billion dollars) $91, 847, 400 for 30 submarines or $3,106,910,000.00 $3,061,580 per submarine1 platform (30-402 years of weapons, men, and maintenance are extra).
USS Virginia SSN 774
The September 30, 2010 SAR for the Virginia-class submarine program is reporting a $1,813,400,000.00 increase over the June 2010 SAR.

The "rebaselining" reflects a transition from development to production (Milestone III) notwithstanding the SAR attributes a substantial proportion of the $1,813,400,000.00 increase over the June 2010 SAR to an extension of the Virginia-class development program through 2027.

Stated differently the contractor is in rolling production on the Virginia-class submarine program, notwithstanding declaration of Milestone III. The "rebaseline" is for Block I submarine platforms while development continues for Block II (SSN 778-783), Block III (SSN 784-791), IV (SSN 792-803), and V (SSN 804-807) submarine platforms.

The benefit of using rolling production is that you can field a weapon system while you design it; the burden is that it's very expensive, as the eye popping price tag of today's weapons system attest. Additionally, managing total life cycle costs becomes very difficult and expensive as each succeeding block design is retrofitted or backfitted into the preceding block design.

If the contractor cannot retrofit or backfit preceding blocks (because of design or costs constraints) then the Navy must manage multiple submarine platform configurations, rarely if ever desirable.


UPDATED 09/13/2016 FissileMaterial, Conceptual Research and Development Plan for Low-Enriched Uranium Naval Fuel and FissileMaterial, Report On Low Enriched Uranium for Naval Reactors' Cores  and NAP, Reducing the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Research Reactors (2016)
UPDATED 03/31/2016 NavSea, Technical Capabilities of Warfare Centers Manual
UPDATED 03/18/2016 NASA-STI, ApexExpoIPX Slides: Counterfeit Electronics: Current Threats and
Detection Methodologies

UPDATED 02/18/2016 CRS, Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress

Ongoing general discussion, woefully limited in details, on the impact(s) of the estimated $530M NavSea FY17 detail design, Platform and Payload Integration,Code 40VPM modifications (e.g. impacts on: direct and indirect costs; trade-offs; build and operational schedules; hydrostatics; hydrodynamics; deployments; and missions etc.)

UPDATED 02/10/2016 SecNav, Proposed 2017 Obligation Authority, Virginia-Class

UPDATED 01/16/2016 CSIS, Chinese Strategy and Military Modernization in 2015: A Comparative Analysis#Figure 10.7: Force Structure of the PLA Navy 1985-2015-Part I; Submarines

UPDATED 01/14/2016 CRS, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans:Background and Issues for Congress [January 2016] (courtesy FAS)

UPDATED 06/10/2015 CRS, Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, dated June 01, 2015; Cut-n-Paste

UPDATED 03/19/2015 FAS, Naval Nuclear Propulsion: Assessing Benefits and Risks

UPDATED 07/05/2014 CRS, Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress dated June 25, 2014 and CRS, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress dated June 25, 2014 (Courtesy FAS Secrecy Blog)

UPDATED 04/28/2014 Wikipedia, Virginia-class Submarine

Proponents of a 300+ navy shipbuilding plan appear to be expressing "hopes, wishes and aspirations" under the "Future Acquisitions" and "Improved Virginia" sections.

Typically, "improved" platform refers to upgrading platforms in an existing class, not the production of a new class (i.e. follow-on class) characterized as "improvements" to the platforms in an existing class!

Not sure if this "marketing" is clever or confusion or clever confusion?

UPDATED 12/21/2013 CBO, Long-Term Implications of the 2014 Future Years Defense Program and CBO, An Analysis of the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2014 Shipbuilding Plan

UPDATED 12/17/2012 CRS, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, Dec 2012

Alternative force structures for submarines—currently one 2014 VCS is being pushed out to the 2018 period—uncertainty in the Ohio class-replacement program persists.

The Cato and Sustainable Defense submarine structures seem entirely reasonable—a lot of luck and leadership might combine to eliminate sea based ballistic missile weaponry altogether!

UPDATED 08/07/2012 CRS, Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, April 2012

In an era of increasingly sophisticated autonomous vehicles11 and expectations that nations synergistically partner to protect and patrol our global commons 37 American SSNs is not a trough.

Of course, it's not necessarily the job of our Congressional Research Service to analyze whether proposed submarine missions and force structure reflect collaborators or cowboys.

UPDATED 07/27/2012 CBO, An Analysis of the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2013 Shipbuilding Plan (navy comments on some aspects of CBO's analysis here)
UPDATED 07/22/2012 CRS, Defense: FY2013 Authorization and Appropriations

Unfortunately, our Congress and navy continue their wasteful and unnecessary efforts to build two VCS per year10—restoring $723 million for long lead procurement for a second VCS in 2014.

UPDATED 12/10/2011 RAND, Learning from Experience: Volume I: Lessons from the Submarine Programs of the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia (other volumes MG 1128.2-4) deal individually with each nation's submarine program).

Volume I is a general summary for how to manage a major weapons system program. Things every experienced program manager learns, understands, but does not always implement. If the intention is to document best practices for the inexperienced this volume is too general to be of much use—each chapter needs a comprehensive "cookbook" companion.

Effective substitutes for an enthusiastic, experienced, and exceptional program manager (navy and contractor) are rare, but transparency comes closest and can mitigate much ineptitude,  inexperience, and indirectness:
"Full disclosure during the program is necessary to obtain government, industry, and public support. There should be periodic feedback to government decisionmakers and to the public on how the program is progressing. Such feedback is especially important when there are unanticipated problems. In this regard, a good media management program is necessary. Effective communications with the press, academia, and government must be proactive, not reactive. Program managers must proactively ensure that all parties are well informed in advance of positive and negative developments and their associated implications."--Lessons, Volume I--
As an aside it's unclear why the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada do not develop, operate, and maintain integrated submarine platforms complete with interchangeable submariners?

UPDATED 10/21/2011 CBO, An Analysis of the Navy's Fiscal Year 2012 Shipbuilding Plan (June 2011)

OSD, Table of Links to Past SARs

UPDATED 04/06/2011 GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs. GAO is out with its proforma March 2011 Assessment of Selected Weapons Systems. GAO is reporting among other items that4: the Navy thinks the contractor GD/EB is on a cost trajectory for achieving its $2 billion (2005 dollars) per VCS target; VCS program is 40 percent overrun; some performance and cost reducing design changes have been accomplished, others delayed, one abandoned; in-process (anechoic coating and torpedo room racks) problems have been solved.


UPDATED 10/29/2016 NavyLive, Commissioning USS Illinois (SSN 786) The well-done and official "Silent Service" promo video accompanying this page needs to prominently feature female submariners, too (also, Enlisted Women in Submarines Road Shows Hit Fleet Concentration Areas).


and UPI, First lady Michelle Obama welcomes U.S. Navy's most advance submarine USS Illinois

UPDATED 07/08/2016 CSIS, Delivering on the Future of Submarine Warfare

Navy (N97 and PEO Submarines) discuss block changes for Virginia-class platform.

UPDATED 03/30/2016 USNI, Navy Sub Build Strategy: Electric Boat Will Focus On Ohio Replacement While Newport News Delivers More SSNs

UPDATED 03/29/2016 NT, Secret weld: How shoddy parts disabled a $2.7 billion submarine and TFT, How a $2.7 Billion Submarine Was Crippled by Defective Parts

Whether a steam leak failure in the submarine's power plant primary loop12 is "catastrophic" depends on the platform's operational profile at the time of the failure. Suffice it to say no submariner wants to experience a power plant primary loop steam leak, even with a platform operational profile of Beaufort state zero, positive platform buoyancy, flank speed, and periscope depth!

The word "hot" in the context of a submarine’s nuclear power plant refers to temperature and radioactivity. Suffice it to say a primary loop elbow's (by definition up to an approximately 90o redirection of a "hot" pressurized fluid) fatigue and brittleness do not improve during the power plant's 30-40 years estimated life-cycle.

This article is woefully lacking in the details necessary for an interested public to adequately and accurately estimate the total impacts of the "elbow" subcontractor's performance failure, which may be the result of the ongoing (criminal?) investigation.

UPDATED 02/29/2016 Brookings, Uncharted seas: Maritime strategy for a new era of naval challenges (video - SecNav, CNO, Commadant)

Asking SecNavs and CNOs if the navy has enough attack submarines is like asking children if they have enough ice cream!

USNI, Navy Revising Force Structure Assessment In Light Of Increased Attack Sub, Other Ship Needs and USNI, Stackley: Funding Levels Creating Risk In U.S. Navy Attack Submarine, Surface Combatant Fleets

UPDATED 01/14/2015 Riverhead, Making history: Riverhead grad will be one of the first female officers to serve in Navy submarine force

UPDATED 11/25/2015 UPI, General Dynamics receives Virginia-class submarine contract modification and DoD, Contracts, Navy

"Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut, is being awarded a $102,876,417 modification to previously awarded contract N00024-10-C-2118 for additional lead yard services and development studies and design efforts related to Virginia-class submarines."

UPDATED 08/07/2015 DefenseNews, US Navy Sidelines 3 Newest Subs

NavSea must publicly release additional information on this Virginia-class submarine platform's potential power and propulsion plant piping failure, including platform operational limitations pending completion of the supplier investigation and corrective actions.

UPDATED 08/03/2015 USNews, New paint, water-resistant grease: Navy finds ways to squeeze more life out of attack subs
UPDATED 12/08/2014 FBO, Long-Range Research and Development Plan (LRRDP) of Today and DefenseOne, Why Does the Navy Still Not Have Enough Money for New Submarines?

A question the recently nominated SecDef, Ashton Carter will often ask (or mumble) over the next several years.

In the unlikely event of a non-DoD component donating or reprogramming $80B of their budget, solutions will likely mean fewer separate common class (i.e. SSN, SSN-X, SSGN, SSBN, SSBN-X) submarine platforms.

Increased reliance on combinations of uncommon, non-traditional and alternative submarine and other platforms seems likely.

UPDATED 10/29/2014 USNI, Navy Starting Work on New SSN(X) Nuclear Attack Submarine

Post Virginia-class, Block VII platform exploratory project, SSN(X) announced at this years sub-league symposium.

The announcement is about as meaningful as announcing a preliminary project for the purpose of exploring a redesign of a navy coffee cup.

Our submarine designers are continuously projecting (no pun intended) and pitching all matter and manner of next generation submarine platforms, with or without realistic threat parameters—that's what submarine designers do. However, it's a bit unusual for these pitches to go public 30 plus years pre-IOC—guess today's eye-popping platform price tags demand earlier starts?

The good news is that next generation platforms increasingly require first principle understanding and advancement as opposed to purchasing more and larger displacements and throw weights. Such will no doubt be a focus of session two (Technologies for SSN(X)) at next years APL Submarine Technology Symposium.

UPDATED 10/29/2014 NavyTimes, Virginia subs to get berthing changes for female crew

UPDATED 10/25/2014 DoDNews, Navy to Commission USS North Dakota, Newest Attack Sub and NavyLive, Inside North Dakota (SSN 784) and NavyMil, USS North Dakota (SSN-784) Commissioning (stream)

UPDATED 05/07/2014 AviationWeekly, U.S. Navy Continues Virginia-Class Sub Investments

The navy and contractors are putting some thinking and effort into cross class design and procurement, which may impact the estimated total cost of ownership for both VCS and Ohio-class-replacement platforms?

As if it wasn't difficult enough to accurately measure and track the acquisition target costs of a single class submarine platform.

UPDATED 04/29/2014 GD, General Dynamics Awarded $18 Billion by U.S. Navy for 10 Virginia-Class Submarines and Courant, Navy Awards $17.6 Billion Contract For Sub Work at Electric Boat, Newport News and Jane's360, USN lets contract for Block IV Virginia submarines

NavSea awards General Dynamics, Electric Boat (GD/EB) a fixed price incentive contract for Block IV Virginia-class submarine platforms (qty 10). The contract's incentive targets and amounts to be shared between prime contractor (GD/EB) and major subcontractor  Newport News were not disclosed?

Jane's 360 reminds us that changes to the original baseline design and configuration, typically referred to as "improvements", have been made for Block IV platforms. These "improvements" again realign any "cost growth" with existing expected budgets. The navy, contractor and congress simultaneously pronounce the "improved program", which typically change an expensive coach platform into a relatively more affordable pumpkin platform the Cinderella of military procurement programs.

UPDATED 11/14/2012 NavyLive, Ohio Replacement Class – a Collaborative Effort

Rear Admiral Barry Bruner commingles Virginia-class and inchoate Ohio-replacement-class (ORCS) submarines (VCS and ORCS, respectively)  in support of our navy's desire of funding a two VCS and one ORCS per year shipbuilding program. Presumably the admiral intends the reader to use current VCS program performance as simultaneous evidence, threat and incentive in support of the inchoate ORCS?

To put it kindly the admiral is comparing apples to oranges or stated differently he's comparing a descoped, restructured, redesigned, and rebaselined VCS program to the inchoate ORCS. Only those unfamiliar or uninformed about the origins and history of our VCS program would seriously credit such a comparison.

Of course, the admiral's sensitivity to VCS and inchoate ORCS submarine platform milestones, costs, and commonality are welcome, if short of any meaningful details. We can only hope to hasten our navy's transition to a single submarine platform with a variety of mission modules (tactical and strategic) in inventory.

UPDATED 08/03/2012 BusinessInsider, Step Aboard The Navy's $2.4 Billion Virginia-Class Nuclear Submarine Some nice below decks images.

UPDATED 04/13/2012 EpochTimes, Navy’s Submarine Building Plan Could Fall Short

A significant benefit of a reduced submarine force structure is that our navy will not sink money into submarine platforms searching for yesterday's obsolete Cold War missions or awaiting an infinite variety of China war game scenarios (one scenario is currently playing out in the South China Sea, Spratly Islands between Chinese fishing and surveillance vessels corralled by Philippine ships—both nations have wisely withdrawn their military vessels as diplomats resolve the playground dispute) .

Instead, our navy can focus its limited resources and considerable research and development prowess on maturing next generation technology. Technology that will be required to economically build platforms responsive to tomorrow's missions.

Notwithstanding the considerable efforts by some of our politicians, tomorrow's missions will require Russia and China's participation as responsible partners, not political whipping boys.

UPDATED 03/31/2012 Reuters, Internet search yields bogus arms parts from China Two of the 16 suspected bogus electronic parts are used on the Ohio-class and Los Angeles-class submarines.

A recent GAO report that describes GAO's request for purchase of 16 electronic parts. The purchase orders divided the parts into three categories--authentic parts that are rare or obsolete (7); authentic parts with manufacture date codes beyond known last date of manufacture (5); and parts with completely bogus part numbers (4).

Hundreds of Chinese and a few non-Chinese vendors responded. GAO accepted low bids from the Chinese vendorsand sent the part for testing to an independent laboratory.

The two parts used in submarines (GAO assigned identifiers MLL1 and YCC2) failed macroscopic and microscopic tests.

All 16 parts described in the GAO report are suspected counterfeit parts. These types of inspection and analysis must become built-in features of international trading protocols. Including provisions for allocating company and country responsibility for every counterfeit product (not just military) entering the stream of international commerce.

UPDATED 03/28/2012 DefNews, Fleet Size Hovers Around 300 Ships in New U.S. Navy Plan

It remains a mystery why our navy's 2013 shipbuilding plan (pdf) is proposing to build 46 Virginia-class submarines8 (VCS, SSN Attack) between the years 2013-2042. Perhaps congressional inertia in transitioning to an equivalent non-military jobs programs and enhancing our multilateral cooperation with like-minded peer nations.

The bottom row, SSN-Alt is not part of our navy's proposal but included to show a total (30), if one VCS is built each year between 2013-2042.

Our navy's 2013 shipbuilding plan proposes dismantling eight Los Angeles-class submarines (SSN 688) between 2014-2017 and conversion of two SSN 688s to moored training submarines during this same period.

UPDATED 03/25/2012 CRS, China Naval Modernization RL33153 dated February 2012 (Courtesy of FAS Secrecy Blog)  (Posted under  Chinese Jin Class Type 094 SSBN)

UPDATED 02/08/2012 CSIS, The Acquisition Implications of the DoD Strategic Guidance and the FY2013 Budget

Interesting comments on acquisition processes by Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall—cost caps, life-cycle-costs budgeting, (un)affordability, contracting types, value maximization, data driven management, workforce quality, industrial base, industry performance improvements and professional development, etc.

Related post Navy’s Science Chief Targets Practical Fleet Concerns to reduce the cost of platform life-cycle ownership.

UPDATED 01/28/2012 NJ, Pentagon Unveils New Plan for Conventional Submarine-Based Ballistic Missiles

UPDATED 01/26/2012 Defense, Major Budget Decisions Briefing from the Pentagon and  Major Budget Decisions Media Roundtable at the Pentagon

Related post Navy’s Science Chief Targets Practical Fleet Concerns

A test balloon for the upcoming 2013 defense budget—the pentagon floats a precarious proposal for a precarious posture—no change to the current VCS posture; SBSD (aka Ohio-class replacement) delayed a couple of years.

More after the release of the actual 2013 budget and proposal (RFP) for the  next block of VCS.

UPDATED 11/27/2011 Defense Secretary Panetta and Congressman Courtney (R-CT) visit Electric Boat (EB) to express support and appreciation for those building our VCS. Also, the recently appointed debt- reduction committee's inability to reach an agreement is expected to trigger sequestration, which will likely impact the VCS submarine construction (see NOSINT,Virginia-class Sub Program Likely To Survive for another VCS impact view).

Further legislation could alter the sequestration before it takes effect in 2013. The President has expressed his preference for Congress to reach agreement on debt reduction and indicated he'd veto legislation aimed at circumventing the sequestration.

It's probably unrealistic, if not down right delusional to assert that our navy and submarine builders should stop doubling then halving budgets in response to simple changes in our government?

UPDATED 08/18/2012 How Politicians and the Press Overstated Military Budget Cuts by $100 Billion These headlines may shock our citizenry, but our experienced defense and congressional budgeteers and bean-counters gave up long ago trying to accurately determine our Pentagon's budgets or its actual expenditures!

UPDATED 10/24/2011 TheDay, Submarine force is preparing for a changing landscape

Before reading this article I would not have guessed you could quote five admirals (one select) in a ~1200-word article about submarines—admirals that say nothing about the gains implicit in common cooperative strategies.
Uncertain what to name the evolving strategy, the admirals' first priority is building 12 new ballistic missile submarine platforms (Ohio-class replacement) between 2019 and 2033, inclusive6.

The second priority appears to be the purchase of 46 new VCS between the years 2011-2041, which is not a "changed landscape" so much as a temporary dip in the existing landscape.

A changed landscape would be the purchase of 32 new VCS between the years 2011-20317 coupled with an improvement program for 14 of the existing VCS platforms, beginning around 2031.

Alternatively, instead of building two VCS for the years 2011-2017, 2019-2022, 2035, 2037, 2039, and 2041 simply level load one VCS for all years between 2012-2041, completing the two VCS already in-process for 2011.

Our navy can designate, as appropriate any of  the new 32 VCS platforms to receive a payload-stretch section.

Begin the non-recurring effort for the VCS-improved platform follow-on, as appropriate.

UPDATED 10/21/2011 The Submarine Review, Submarine Technology Symposium (subscription) Several articles on the challenges and cost of the VCS platform.

UPDATED 10/21/2011 AviationWeek, U.S. Submarine Programs Face Uncertainty

The article discusses the VCS acquisition lessons learned, primarily after the 2005 period—unfortunately those lessons will have minimal impact on the VCS's total life-cycle costs5

An important lesson the article fails to mention is that our major weapon systems are procured in an opaque environment of self-selecting secrecy. Within such an environment it's easy to forget that one man's sweet smell of success is another man's stench of sophistry or spin: 
- sole source monopolist profits (cost overruns) is cost growth; and
- adding a second source (i.e. 2x capital costs) is investment or preserving industrial base; and 
- rescoping unaffordable performance parameters is an impressive idea or production improvement program; and 
- advanced purchase of hardware rendered obsolete by rescoped performance parameters is unexpected material growth (same for any newly purchased or reworked hardware); and 
- decreasing quantities as a result of the escalating unaffordability is failure of economies of scales; and
- program restructure, schedule slippage, and inflation is an acquisition success story that will stand forever;

Reducing or eliminating the opaqueness from our acquisition process of major weapon systems will help ensure that assertions of the sweet smell of success will pass the smell test.

UPDATED 04/23/2011 Time, How to Save a Trillion Dollars.
"...Does the Navy need 50 attack submarines when America's main enemy hides in caves? ...If the Chinese want to slay us, they don't need to attack us with their missiles. They just have to call in their loans. ...For too long, an uninterested and distracted citizenry has been content to leave the messy business of national defense to those with bottom-line reasons for force-feeding it like a foie gras goose. It's long past time, Ike might have added today, for U.S. taxpayers to demand that its government spend what is needed to defend the country — not a penny more."--Time, April 14, 2011--
UPDATED 02/26/2011 Full FY2012 Defense Budget Request.

The next VCS christening (Fall 2011) is the Block II, USS Mississippi, SSN-782 [Builder: GD-EB; Sponsor: Allison Stiller; Officer-in-Charge: Commander John McGrath]. 

 Virtual below decks tour (360o) of some VCS spaces on USS New Mexico SSN-779. UPDATED 12/11/2010 Aviation Week, Navy Hard-Pressed To Meet Sub Numbers

Yet, another article concluding that the expected eye-popping unit platform prices implicit in our Navy's 30-year shipbuilding plan (dream) will not support a 313-platform Navy. Of course this is not news; the interesting part of the article is in the next to last paragraph:
“...It would be a very interesting world if Virginia-class SSNs had the flexibility to serve in either the conventional SSN, SSGN or strategic SSBN roles. That would be a massive force multiplier and a boon for the bottom line,...”--Aviation Week quoting Craig Hooper--
It would be an even more interesting world if these modern-modular-snappable submersibles3 were virtually modeled, configured, tested, manufactured, christened, and commissioned...just in time for its mission and submariners (unless the snappable submersible happened to be crewless).


1. The original 1995 baseline cost for 30 submarines was $64,040,000,000.00 or $2,134,666,667.00 per submarine. The original estimated price was $1 billion dollars per Virginia-class submarine platform (refer to New Attack Submarine Capability -- Acquisition Decision Memorandum (NASC-ADM) Milestone 0, dated August 28, 1992)!
"...Examine a range of alternative new nuclear attack submarines. Include alternatives with reduced capabilities relative to those of the SSN-21, and designs smaller than that of the SSN-688I. Examine designs smaller than 5000 tons and options with reduced or deleted mission capabilities; e.g., power projection. These designs should be more affordable ($1B), less than or equal cost of the SSN-688I....."--NASC-ADM 1992, Milestone 0--
UPDATED 05/07/2014 The GAO is out with a different set of 2014 numbers which estimates the current VCS program cost at $84,350,000 or $2,811,667 per platform, in the unlikely event the original quantity of 30 platforms are procured. GAO's uses a first full program estimate (different from the first or original estimate) of $63,582,000.

2. At the end of the submarine's life, additional costs are incurred for decommissioning and decontaminating the radioactive reactor compartment, reactor, and reactor core. The decontaminated reactor compartment minus the reactor core is then sealed and securely buried as mixed low-level radioactive waste—for hundreds of years.

3. There's no reason to limit the possible modular designs to snappable submersibles characterized by the SSN, SSBN, or SSGN configurations.

4. UPDATED 04/09/2011 Not included in GAO's proforma VCS 2011 assessment is the recent failure of the oxygen generator onboard the Virgina-class USS New Hampshire. The VCS oxygen generator (i.e. Integrated Low Pressure Electrolyzer) is produced by Hamilton Sundstrand, Sea Systems using integrating Proton Energy Systems' electrolysis cell stacks, which is based on proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology. The recently qualified Integrated Low-Pressure Electrolyzer is next generation technology, so its failure is of some concern. Neither the Navy nor contractors have yet provided a root cause for the mission critical system’s failure.

5. Captain Michael Jabaley (VCS Navy program manager) in a comment to the main article conjectures an increased VCS operation tempo (i.e. more at sea time per platform which is primarily dependent on platform MTBF). Time will determine if this conjecture is proven true?

6. Vice Admiral Richardson seems certain that a new undersea warfare strategy should not be called  "post-Cold War".

Which seems appropriate since a "post-Cold War" strategy will require more than deploying fewer ballistic missile platforms using fewer missile tubes (although a good start)—our nation must also transparently substitute common cooperative strategies and eliminate confrontational strategies.

7. UPDATED 12/24/2011 The remaining Los Angeles-class (688 and 688i) fleet were commissioned between 1985 and 1996—last in  Los Angeles-class is the USS Cheyenne (SSN 773).

A submarine's operation, maintenance, and overhaul history will determine its safe hull life, but rarely will its safe hull life exceed 38 years. Unfortunately, the economics of maintaining our older submarine fleet often dictate inactivation before its safe hull life.

Most or all Los Angeles-class will have been inactivated by this date—many will be decommissioned or scrapped.

8. Hopefully, those familiar with our aircraft carriers and their role in the 21st-century battle space will publish more details about our navy's proposed 11 aircraft carriers.

It's unclear what use 11 carrier battle groups are in the 21st-century battle space—in the congressional battle space, they provide justification for a plethora of additional weapons programs and platforms, including the attack submarine platforms.

9.  It's not clear if GAO exercised any "price sanity checks" before accepting the lowest Chinese bidder. Vendors that are ignorant, corrupt, or criminal are often unfamiliar with a military part's specifications or requirements and will submit obviously silly bids. An experienced purchasing agent will simply ignore an obviously silly bid.

10. Producing two VCS per year may make sense under some circumstances—for example, future plans to sell or lease one or more VCS to another Pacific partner nation.

11. Carting up to 65 cruise missiles (count assumes four vertical tubes modification, currently scheduled for 2019) around the oceans to periodically launch a few salvos in support of Special Ops does not seem like an optimal use of a $4.08 billion dollars (2016 dollars) submarine platform, which is crewed by 137 highly trained submariners.

UPDATED 09/23/2012 The above paragraph would change significantly in the unlikely event that the recently approved quad-pack for the Ohio-class follow-on is swappable with a VCS quad pack—effectively creating one common submarine platform with the ability to snap-in (weld-in for now) strategic or tactical missile quad pack modules.

UPDATED 10/21/2012 DoDLive, The Next Generation In Submarines Our navy must publicly release the referenced study purportedly justifying divergent SSBN-X and VCS submarine platforms.

The post does not state with specificity the exact divergent design constraints, trade-offs, and related cost drivers.

12. The article's usage of the confusingly phrased, "pipe joint near the innermost chamber of its nuclear-powered engine" may refer to a location outside the primary loop and reactor compartment?

Use Ctrl-+ to Enlarge or Open Astute-class Cartoon in New Tab
Virginia-class Cartoon
It would be helpful and useful to specify a component's location (defective elbow) by providing the nearest hull ring stiffener (aka station number) and distance from the submarine's longitudinal center line (see Virginia-class cartoon for approximate component locations).

See above cut-away Astute-class cartoon for a convoluted routing of the submarine's large (approximately 10 inches for the Nuflo elbow) tertiary steam duct piping—number 24.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Kraska Story - Prescient Or Fairytale Or Propaganda

Originally Published December 31, 2009; Last Updated October 26, 2016; Last Republished October 21, 2016:

During our period of shrinking budgets; finite resources; prioritized threats; and difficult choices we can expect and should welcome passionate persuasive augments by our military components and their advocates. But, passionate persuasion must not yield to disjointed hyperbolic speculation or propaganda such as that expressed in How the United States Lost the Naval War of 2015.

Kraska spins his speculative China hegemon fairytale out of Erickson and Yang's recent article on China's investigation of using a conventional terminally controllable tactical reentry vehicle as a "carrier killer". The fairytale operationalizes Yang and Erickson's carrier killer2, liberally sprinkles in a "handful" of Chinese carriers (one couldn't be built by 201518), shakes in some "quieter than Los Angeles-class" diesel Song submarines, adds a decade late pinch of "stealthy" AIP Yuan submarine, and casts a paralyzing spell over all counter measures, defenses, and ASW operations3.

The Chinese Communist Party's desire for unification under communist party rule, expansive Law of the Sea Convention interpretation, and Southeast Asia hegemonic aspirations seem pretty clear. What's unclear is whether the Chinese Communist Party leadership seeks any war with the United States to address these issues, much less the War of 2015.

Unfortunately, Kraska's fairytale4 does little to help clarify these issues. Wonder how the Kraska fairytale changes if we assume China's increased military budgets have more to do with domestic control than preparation for the War of 2015 with its biggest trading partner and debtor.


UPDATED 08/04/2016 RAND, War with China:Thinking Through the Unthinkable

Well, at least Kraska has some company, a RAND white paper imaginatively describing four (severe, mild, short and long) scenarios of war (skirmishes?) with China, including some sensible recommendations.

Phew!, the "A2AD threat" is pushed out to 2025!

UPDATED 04/06/2016 FAS, Questions About The Nuclear Cruise Missile Mission
UPDATED 03/19/2016 PCA, The Republic of Philippines v. The People's Republic of ChinaUPDATED 02/05/2016 CRS, Navy Lasers, Railgun, and HypervelocityProjectile: Background and Issues forCongress and Wikipedia, DF-21#D

UPDATED 01/16/2016 CSIS, Chinese Strategy and Military Modernization in 2015: A Comparative Analysis

UPDATED 09/21/2015 RAND, The U.S.-China military scorecard : forces, geography, and the evolving balance of power, 1996-2017 (5M pdf)

Includes an interesting discussion on the so called "carrier killer", DF-21D CEP. (see footnote 20 on confusion between DF-21C and DF-21D variants)16. Includes mention of the multiple explicit variables (e.g. kinematics, in-flight search, identification, tracking, and data-link) related to CEP.

When reading statements like:
"As of early 2013, the system had been repeatedly tested over land, though it has not yet been tested against targets at sea." (pg  165).
It's useful to remember that while our navy is capable of performing fantastic feats, even our most capable and intrepid admirals are unlikely to sail a carrier strike group over land.

UPDATED 12/12/2013 Carnegie/Pew, U.S.-China Security Perceptions Project 2012 General Public Survey Data

Survey data are necessary (kudos to Carnegie/Pew) but insufficient to understand the first principles that lead to conflict avoidance.

It does not seem particularly novel for a survey to discover that a collection of individuals (nation) apply the cultural identity they learn. Unusual would be the survey that discovered a collection of individuals that assert they prefer applying a continually changing cosmopolitan cultural identity to an "exceptional cultural identity"!

Chinese military officers, at all levels (in addition to Chinese military scholars) must participate in future Carnegie/Pew US-China Security Perceptions Project surveys. Saluting expressions of "exceptionalism" will not produce the cosmopolitan changes required for close cooperation between China and America.

Our global problems are too ginormous to waste much time saluting reciprocal and meaningless expressions of "cultural exceptionalism" by either American or Chinese leaders!

UPDATED 08/06/2012 China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress Mostly a restatement of previously known open source data—more supporting source documentation is needed for the many speculative assertions.

Time-series overheads of the various Chinese shipyards are minimum de rigueur for today's meaningful open source analysis. Time-series overheads of keel block formation are potentially interesting—a keel on the blocks is better—a ship under construction is best.

What's NOT happening in the various shipyards is also interesting (e.g. a rusting keel), even when efforts to conceal activity are undertaken, as they routinely are.

Discussion of the DF-21D begins at page 57-67 (document page, not reader page). When, if ever, China wants to deploy the DF-21D maybe we can conduct a joint exercise on an American autonomously operated and defended terminal target vessel?

We save the cost and guesswork of developing a terminally controllable reentry vehicle—China saves the cost and guesswork of developing a defended terminal target vessel)?
UPDATED 08/03/2012 Defense of Japan Annual 2012 White Paper The overview is pithy and informative.
"...As such, the international security environment remains complex and uncertain.

Under such a security environment, it is also increasingly important for countries with common interests in the resolution of issues to work together, as it has become extremely difficult  for one country to deal with issues confronting the international community and countries gain shared benefits by ensuring regional and global peace, stability and prosperity through the establishment of a more stable international security environment...."
Not only has it become extremely difficult for one country to deal with has become undesirable and counterproductive.

Notwithstanding the rocky relations among some nations all nations must align their interests on a common core or face alienation by the community of nations.

Many nations' leaders assert the illusion that their nation possesses an immutable or hyphenated core (e.g. Chinese-core; American-core;  Russian-core; Korean-core etc.). The sooner nations abandon this absurdity the sooner they will converge on a sustainable core common to all nations.

UPDATED 07/13/2011 Wikipedia, Ships of the People's Liberation Army Navy.


UPDATED 10/21/2016 ABC, China Rising: The challenges for Australia as China and the US struggle for supremacy in Asia and Reuters, U.S. warship challenges China's claims in South China Sea and Navy, US, UK, Japan Navies Commit to Increase Cooperation

Admiral Dennis Blair articulates the generally accepted view that the reefs, shoals, rocks, and islands in the South China Sea are of little military importance (i.e. military duty on these geological protrusions during a war is career ending).

Joint military exercises with Australia in the South Sea are unnecessary to communicate United States or Australias et al's. understanding and resolve that our global oceans, adjacent seas and international waters are and will remain freely navigable by nations, big and small, in accordance with international laws and customs.

UPDATED 10/13/2016 Seventh Xiangshan Forum and Dialogue— Xiangshan Forum 10/12/2016; CCTV



UPDATED 10/03/2016 DAR, CNO Admiral John Richardson at International Seapower Symposium Twenty-Two and CSIS, Maintaining Maritime Superiority with Admiral John Richardson


The CNO confidently articulates South China Sea normalized policy and makes a persuasive case for substituting the acronym "A2AD" with a detailed discussion of dynamic integrated threat analysis and response.

Stated differently, it's meaningless to discuss South China Sea maritime and related issues in the context of an imagined, impenetrable, and ubiquitous "force field" called "A2AD".

The presentation (CSIS) ends with an important comment by the CNO, saying that he and his Chinese counterpart, Wu Shengli, have rules to prevent the many stakeholders' miscalculations (hand holders in chief, first) and unintended armed conflict (warriors in chief, second). Kudos to the CNO and Command of the PLA Navy!

UPDATED 09/22/2016 CSIS, The Modern Origins of China's South China Sea Claim

The speaker's interesting book: The South China Sea The Struggle for Power in Asia, Yale Press (2014) subsumes the main presentation (Q&A follows).

UPDATED 07/25/2016 CSIS, Military Modernization and Capacity Building (i.e. the all nations pivot to South China Sea; also CSIS, Naval Innovation and Capabilities: Charting the Future, Today and Undersea Warfare in Northern Europe)

UPDATED 07/19/2016 CCTV, Navy Chiefs from China, US Hold Talks on South China Sea

Disputes often require many patient and respectful exchanges before solutions begin to emerge.

Admirals Richardson(L) and Wu
UPDATED 07/15/2016 CCTV, Ban Ki-moon Calls for Peaceful Resolution of South China Sea Issue (SCS statement begins at approximately 15:00 of later and longer CCTV video below) and UN NewsCentre, In China, Ban highlights country’s leadership on sustainable development, climate change and CCTV, Media Briefing, U.S.-China Dialogue on South China Sea July 06, 2016 and XinHua, Spotlight: China, U.S. need to manage differences over South China Sea: experts, Dialogue on South China Sea issue held in Washington D.C. and BeijingRev, Full Text of Dai Bingguo's Speech at China-U.S. Dialogue on South China Sea Between Chinese and U.S. Think Tanks and CarnegieEndowmentForInternationalPeace, U.S.-China Dialogue on the South China Sea Audio  Former state councilor Dai Bingguo (in Mandarin) and former deputy secretary of state John D. Negroponte discussion of the situation in the South China sea ahead of the July 12 arbitration ruling between the Philippines and China.

(Carnegie Endowment Conference)-&-(CSIS Sixth Annual SCS Conference)

The foundation for Foreign Minister Wang Yi's implicit assertion that a nation requires consent from another nation before filing an international arbitration case requires clarification, at best or ignored as a relic from an ancient imperial palace, at worst. (Joint Press Conference Report at UN Radio, China urged to "create space" for civil society and a later longer video from CCTV, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Joint Press Conference)

UPDATED 07/15/2016 CSIS, The South China Sea Arbitration


UPDATED 06/28/2016 WSJ, South China Sea Ruling: A Lesson From the Great Wall

The video asserts that China's hawks would like to turn the South China Sea into a lake. China's hawks would like to turn the South China Sea in to a convenient bastion and be the only economic beneficiary of any natural resources it contains has.

China and the United States will need mature and experienced leadership to confidently and consistently moderate nationalist military hawks, whatever their nationality.

By definition nationalist military hawks prefer confrontation and clubbing in lieu of cooperation. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your raison d'etre and budget source, cooperation by clubbing is a fools mission. Unfortunately, fools are usually the last to recognize a foolish mission!

UPDATED 06/06/2016 CCTV, Chinese Admiral Sun [JianGuo] delivers speech on final day of Shangri-La Dialogue and Reuters, In pushback to U.S., China says 'has no fear of trouble' in South China Sea

Watching China actively engage with the world, a relatively recent late 19th century phenomenon is both clumsy and comical19. Not unlike a youngster first experiencing and eventually mastering the polycentric grade school playground.

The PLA, Navy's current constructive participation in our global commons, however limited, selective, and unicentric must be applauded, welcomed, and encouraged.

UPDATED 05/28/2016 CSPAN, U.S. Naval Academy Commencement Address, Secretary Ashton Carter and DefGov, Text Secretary of Defense Speech Remarks at U.S. Naval Academy Commencement As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Annapolis, Maryland, May 27, 2016 
UPDATED 02/20/2016 USNI, WEST2016 (playlist 9-1 delete)


UPDATED 11/14/2015 Commonwealth, China and the U.S.: Can Conflict Be Avoided?

UPDATED 10/20/2015 IntellSquared, China and the U.S. Are Long-term Enemies 
John Mearsheimer et al. argue for deterministic offensive realism; Kevin Rudd et al. argue against.

UPDATED 12/26/2013 Reuters, Connected China, How-to Youtube Video List Five short videos introducing the multimedia presentation "Connected China"

Introduction Video (30sec)

UPDATED 05/31/2012 It is interesting and instructive to periodically revisit past projections on China—these from Niall Ferguson. He seems to argue, with some irony that the more China "downloads" (clarified and narrowed during question period) from the West the more problematic it becomes at least over a 20-year horizon?

It's likely that China's leadership is on the same uncertain but fascinating ride as everybody else—in China time, a 20-year ride is a short ride, even if perceived longer when measured by Western time.

UPDATED 02/22/2012 RAN Sea Power Conference 2012 (all sessions list), Rethinking Yesterday's Asia-Pacific Order:

UPDATED 09/13/2011 Andrew S. Erickson, at the Naval War College Museum pitching his latest book, Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles—a seemingly more serious, nuanced, and regionally focused Erickson—still showing the Chinese Antiship Ballistic Missile (ASBM)/Carrier cartoon animation.

The primary ASBM segments are at approximate elapsed time ranges of 27:00-31:00 (lecture) and 57:00-102:00 (Q&A).

UPDATED 09/05/2011 A nation can mistakenly perceive its military domination for a cosmopolitanism that detrimentally masks its parochialism. The inevitable decline differs little for a nation that believes it can eschew cosmopolitanism by directly enforcing its parochialism via military domination.

UPDATED 04/15/2011 Some interesting comments on the changes of (re)rising Asian power and cooperation for the benefit of the commons (public good).


UPDATED 12/26/2013 Reuters,Welcome to Connected China
UPDATED 03/07/2011 Indian Express, China challenges US dominance in Asia-Pacific.

UPDATED 01/09/2010 UCS, Exaggerated Claims About China’s Missiles. Post responds to Stokes and Blumenthal's WP, Why China's missiles should be our focus

UPDATED 11/19/2010 WSJ, China’s Military Ambitions: A Walking Tour. More China carrier killer hype based on a montage—wonder what inferences the author or China form from our network centric warfare montages? A more interesting caption for this article would be, "China sells missiles like America sells cars".

UPDATED 11/19/2010 ASE, China Testing Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM); U.S. Preparing Accordingly–Updated With Latest Analysis & Sources.

Assuming China has flown an integrated ASBM it should publish the missile's telemetry; alternatively DoD should publish the missile's telemetry. This interesting post is periodically updated with relevant information.

UPDATED 05/15/2010 Diplomat, China Set for Naval Hegemony.

A more circumspect, if still provocative Karaska continuing on the potential for China regional sea hegemony, including a few examples of China's admittedly clumsy-gangly-teenage-bully maritime behavior. Refreshingly, this time Kraska suggests cooperation and partnership as one possible outcome to a testosterone ladened teenage bully with the potential for provoking a punched in the nose (an outcome likely not lost on China's leadership). Fortunately, cooperating and partnering, is already underway and happily the United States is fast redirecting its focus and resources to catch-up, including cooperating with China! (OpenCRS, US-China Military Contacts: Issues for Congress, July 2010 for a list of China-US contacts 1993-2009; WP, As U.S. officials begin visit to Beijing, relations are 'sound,' China says for latest non-military visit, September 06, 2010.) However, managing periodic playground bullying and fights is far from war and does not justify our current obscene and exorbitant defense budgets or ever more costly and exotic weapons systems. Moreover, Karaska's implicit inferences from North Korea's recent maritime behavior seem wildly speculative, wide of any mark or current evidence, and inconsistent with China's current behavior and military chain of command.

UPDATED 03/18/2010 USNI, China’s Navy: Hey, let’s not panic…. Nice ship and sub tally with some cautionary words (plus a map). Nations with advanced and well functioning civil society institutions may not fully appreciate how awkward a nation lacking those institutions can respond, particularly during times of shocks and transitions. It's delightful to observe China (at all levels) trying to play with its peers, notwithstanding the periodic bullying, awkward moments, and playground fights. The intense inclination of those residing behind the walls of Zhongnanhai to move China behind walls must at times be overwhelming?


UPDATED 10/26/2016 114th HASC, Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Hearing, Glaser, Kraska, Erickson on South China Sea (September 2016)
UPDATED 10/01/2016 DoD, On USS Carl Vinson, Carter Highlights Asia-Pacific Rebalance and DoD, Carter, ASEAN Ministers Reaffirm Commitment to Regional Security and DoD, Carter Discusses Asia-Pacific Rebalance (Without Graphics) video and DoD, Carter Arrives in Hawaii, Briefs Reporters

The Secretary of Defense speaks on the "Asia-Pacific Rebalance", studiously disregarding regional blustery that can impede the peaceful rise across all the Asia-Pacific.

UPDATED 09/12/2016 ThomsonReutersTrust, China, Russia naval drill in S.China Sea to begin Monday
UPDATED 07/25/2016 WP, Obama aide visits China after South China Sea ruling and WH, Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Meetings in Beijing, China and Xinhua, Xi calls on China, U.S. to respect each other's core interests

UPDATED 06/30/2016 ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security Breakfast Program Podcasts: JAG, Vice Admiral James W. Crawford, Freedom of Global Navigation Under Threat
and CCTV, China: Tribunal has no jurisdiction on South China Sea issue

UPDATED 06/21/2016 ATimes, Why US Navy isn’t in panic mode over China’s carrier-killer missiles and ATimes, China’s militarization of the South China Sea: Building a strategic strait? and WTimes, Ruling on South China Sea claim threatens to increase U.S., China tensions and CNAS, Annual Meeting, Admiral Richardson

Our Navy does complex and challenging change well, including sea swarms of "little blue men" and stand-off weaponry. Encouragingly, Admiral Richardson has established for himself a summer project of adding perspective to these complex and challenging changes.

UPDATED 06/07/2016 USNI, Beijing Accuses U.S. of ‘Negative Publicity Campaign’ Over South China Sea Issues
UPDATED 06/06/2016 NavyTimes, Top Navy officer visits carrier Stennis in contested South China Sea

UPDATED 06/04/2016 DoD Transcript, Remarks on "Asia-Pacific's Principled Security Network" at 2016 IISS Shangri-La Dialogue As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Singapore, June 04, 2016 and Joint Press Conference with Secretary Carter, Adm. Harris and Adm. Richardson at the Shangri-la Dialogue, Singapore June 04, 2016
UPDATED 05/31/2016 NYT, The South China Sea Dispute: Beijing’s View
UPDATED 05/24/2016 DoD, Defense Official Briefs Reporters on China Report District of Columbia, United States and DoD, News Transcript, Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asia Abraham M. Denmark Holds a Press Briefing in the Pentagon Briefing Room

Nothing new (but see FAS, Pentagon Report And Chinese Nuclear Forces), except the Pentagon's choice to conduct a prudential public briefing of DoD's annual report on China.

The current East and South China Sea tension while unpleasant and annoying for our military is more of a nuisance than menace.

It's gratifying to know other nations' (big and small) leaders are publicly and privately expressing support for our President as he resolutely stands against the historically retrogressive principle that "might is right", "small are subjugate" and bullying prevails.

UPDATED 09/03/2015 WP, China showcases advanced ballistic missiles at military parade

Only in fiction (Ghost Fleet17, refers to the DF-21D variant as "Stonefish"), the minds of some (Naval War College) instructors, and a Washington Post article can the DF-21D variant, conventional "carrier killer" ballistic missile take out a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier (Bush) and a Virginia-class submarine (John Warner)15, without discussing Circular Error Probability or the dynamics and trade-offs of terminally maneuvering a ballistic reentry vehicle trajectory.

Hint, the technical details are significantly greater than "arm waving", asserting that the missile variant depends on a "network of systems" for its terminal guidance, or driving a TEL on a national parade grounds!

UPDATED 10/18/2014 ReutersTrust, U.S. and China look to manage differences, cooperate against threats

UPDATED 10/16/2014 BBC, Why is the US Navy practising for war with China?

The article's author can't really be serious in wondering why our navy is practicing war scenarios related to countering China's aggressive posturing in the South China Sea? Amazingly, the author is concerned that he may have penned an article offensive to our navy—our navy's pr personnel couldn't have penned a more accommodating article, complete with reference to China's infamous short range ballistic missile cum "carrier killer".

Maybe the author's next article will wonder why nations must include aggressive military posturing as part of their delicate diplomatic dancing?

Who gives a shit if China decorates every rock in the South China Sea with a giant paper dragon—how does that confer ownership any more than if America were to decorate each rock with a giant eagle?

UPDATED 06/06/2014 FAS, Chinese Nuclear Missile Upgrade Near Dalian
Kristensen conjectures four recently imaged land pads near Dalian may be for the newly developing DF-21D transport erector launchers (TELs).  
UPDATED 04/22/2014 Xinhua, Regional [14th Western Pacific ] naval symposium opens in [ Qingdoa] China Incremental progress on at sea common communication methods and signals (Reuters).

UPDATED 02/11/2014 ThomsonReuters, Pentagon weapons buyer sees tough choices from tight budgets and Reuters, China, Taiwan agree to open offices after historic talks

UPDATED 01/20/2014 WT, Hypersonic arms race: China tests high-speed missile to beat U.S. defenses

Recently, "hypersonic" warhead tests has initiated another recycling of the "carrier killer" hype. Fortunately, much of the hype can be quickly dismissed based on conflating cruise and ballistic missile airframe or telemetry terminology. Any residual hype is devoid of meaningful specifics and uses a "magic wand" to slow and maneuver a ballistic reentry vehicle. Finally and fatally, the hype typically supposes an adversary passively ignores any hostile ballistic trajectory.

Worse, an adversary tracks the ballistic boost phase but then fails to distinguish it as a "conventional ballistic carrier killer" and responds with a nuclear ballistic trajectory! Such are the disastrous hazards of conflating conventional cruise and ballistic missile airframe or telemetry.

Those who've ridden a bicycle will appreciate the challenges associated with deploying an air breathing "hypersonic" cruise missile—leg power fails to overcomes air resistance, notwithstanding design time in the wind tunnel or pedaling effort, altitude and practice.

UPDATED 12/26/2013 Reuters, Connected China

Nice intra-linked multimedia overview of China based on currently published information. Nothing will surprise informed China watchers (e.g. China's developing submarine fleet or its propensity to extol what it considers "good" and hide that which it considers "bad").

Additionally, antisubmarine warfare and countermeasures do not focus exclusively or even primarily on the acoustic properties of current diesel technology (German or others) used in some newer Chinese submarines.
UPDATED 11/12/2013 NYT, A Game of Shark (China) And Minnow (Philippines) Includes illustrations and beautiful images of a couple of small South Pacific islands.

UPDATED 05/08/2013 WashBeacon, Keeping an Eye on China, CNO: Vigilant but not worried by Chinese naval buildup

A vigilant and clear-eyed CNO pursues path of continuously calling out China on demonstrable cooperative intent while pursuing same.

UPDATED 03/13/2013 Diplomat, China’s Military Development, Beyond the Numbers Erickson et al. continue refining their increasingly subtle, sophisticated and sourced analysis of China's rise—delightful reading.

UPDATED 09/04/2012 VOA, Will South China Sea Disputes Lead to War? 

Firstly, China Is Not a superpower it's a developing power and knows it. Secondly, all bullies think they own, rule and run an entire playground until they're ignored or provoke a punch in their nose. Thirdly, bullies learn to play nice when they're ignored (i.e. refuse to sign natural resource leases or recognize EEZ, or trade, or recognize midnight landings and radar stations build on rocks etc.) or provoke a punch in their nose.

A high probability of periodic playground fighting or provoking a punch in their nose is not “war” or justification for our bloated military budget nor is an arms race with China necessary to achieve beneficial and desirable South and East China Sea outcomes.

Our nation must immediately ratify the Law of the Sea Convention and continue to constructively coordinate adherence with the same by all nations, including China.

It will also be helpful if nations quit trying to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to dealing with China.

UPDATED 09/02/2012 Diplomat, China’s Real Blue Water Navy  An interesting and thoughtful discussion of several useful China PLAN indicators, by Erickson et al.

UPDATED 08/30/2012 Reuters, Analysis: China's aircraft carrier: in name only
UPDATED 08/18/2012 NWC, Between Peace And The Air-Sea Battle, A War At Sea Strategy

An interesting multilateral collaborative strategy—a better caption might be, "A Peaceful Playground Patrolling Strategy".

The authors acknowledge some aspects of their proposed strategy require war gaming—hopefully those conducting the war games will recruit the participation of many first grade teachers with significant experience patrolling playgrounds.

UPDATED 08/10/2012 Time, AirSea Battle: The Military-Industrial Complex’s Self-Serving Fantasy and ChinaSecurity, Big-War Thinking in a Small-War Era The Rise of the AirSea Battle Concept
UPDATED 08/03/2012 WP, U.S. model for a future war fans tensions with China and inside Pentagon

These military and think-tank "initiatives" are de rigueur, costly, amusing and mostly ignored by the initiated. The uninitiated (e.g. many in Congress) can be jarred or overly impressed and awed as briefers preface their tailored pitches with warnings of secrecy worthy of G. Gordon Liddy, before closing with an implicit or explicit defense of the oversized and obscene budgets.

Of course it doesn't hurt that the oversized and obscene budgets translate into high wage jobs in many congressional districts where representatives freely and frequently deploy the secrecy to avoid defending these spending decisions.

When you're aim is to "put enough uncertainty in the minds of Chinese military planners that they would not want to take us on" both your "initiatives" and spending are unbounded! Stated differently, how will our military planners know when they've put enough uncertainty in the minds of the Chinese planners—they won't until after a conflict begins!

The only thing jarring about Andrew Marshall's undisclosed and no doubt "secret" or "top secret" 200 "initiatives" is that there are only 200, but then even an overly impressed and awed Congress must have budgetary limits!

UPDATED 07/26/2012 WT, Inside the Ring: Air Force Chief on air-sea battle Sometimes doing nothing for a period of time is the best response, albeit a difficult and atypical response.

UPDATED 07/22/2012 Xinhua Photos, Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

Some pictures of the old aircraft carrier that China is refurbishing—good for some training, experience and pride—propaganda, hype and hysteria for the uninformed.

UPDATED 07/22/2012 Reuters, China to formally garrison disputed South China Sea

UPDATED 04/07/2012 USCC, Indigenous Weapons Development in China’s Military Modernization Apr 2012 Draft

This report is reformatted and republished data that has been well known—open source military and intelligence data often circulate and republish for years as each constituency processes the same data. The nature of these data are parsimonious where insignificant changes are often accompanied by an entire regurgitation of known data. This can make it difficult to understand these changes within a national security and threat context, particularly for a typical citizen trying to stay responsibly informed.

For example our intelligence may discover that a recent cyber-attack (China originated) downloaded research documents related to advanced accelerometers (related to missile location and accuracy). These new data may then appear, often in oblique terms in another regurgitation of a report on China's well known "carrier killer" ballistic missile development.

It can leave all but the tenacious expert or detailed reader wondering why these data are being regurgitated and republished for the umpteenth time!? Of course reading these regurgitated and recirculated reports over a period of several years can quickly overwhelm any responsible citizen.

A standard report format with built-in change revision tracking mechanism would be helpful for all official or quasi-official reporting on national security or threat data issues.

Curiously, the above report does not mention China's progress on development and deployment of a GPS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems, GNSS; also, Compass-BeiDou) and the refurbishment of an old aircraft carrier, Kuznetsov-Varyag purchased from Russia.

UPDATED 02/16/2012 CRS, China Naval Modernization RL33153 dated February 2012 (Courtesy of FAS Secrecy Blog)

A quick summary of open source issues and concerns related to China's PLAN decade and a half modernization.

Fortunately, the prior "carrier killer" hype has significantly subsided—or paraphrasing a former CNO, what can go through the bottom of a ship is of more interest than what can go through its top.

Nice to read an express acknowledgement that in modern naval warfare qualitative predominates quantitative factors--an observation often lost on the uninformed or manipulated by the informed seeking to misinform the uniformed:
"...In recent years, the warfighting capabilities of navies have derived increasingly from the sophistication of their internal electronics and software. This factor can vary greatly from one navy to the next, and often cannot be easily assessed by outside observation. As the importance of internal electronics and software has grown, the idea of comparing the warfighting capabilities of navies principally on the basis of easily observed factors such as ship numbers and tonnages has become increasingly less valid, and today is highly problematic...."--China Naval Modernization--
Moreover, there are simply no short-cuts or substitutes for the many years of practice and experience required to optimally operate a platform's hardware and software given an expected warfare scenario. Now consider that in modern naval warfare your platform is optimally operating as part of a complex dynamic multinodal mesh!

UPDATED 01/15/2012 CNAS, Cooperation from Strength. The United States, China and the South China Sea (pdf)  Provides a cursory description of the South China Sea boundary and consequent resource disputes and disputants.

Cooperation from Strength is an aphorism for the expenditures on an expansive naval fleet to perpetuate our unilateral global police power.  An aphorism that is more nonsensical and discouraging of cooperation than "mistress marriage maintenance".

Cooperation from Strength  simply complains that China uses economic coercion on the South China Sea disputants and others; opportunistically substitutes its domestic law for international law; increased its expenditures on military development; and free rides on our heretofore unilateral provision of global police power (the first three complaints are tactics not unfamiliar to our nation and the last is exactly what  Cooperation from Strength seeks to perpetuate!).

Not sure how the above complaints justify the expenditures on an expansive naval fleet to perpetuate our unilateral global police power? The complaints seem more supportive of the need to develop a multilateral cooperative framework.

UPDATED 01/13/2012 IHS Janes, Analysis: US' Asia-Pacific strategy provokes mixed response from China

Discusses the recently published "Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense (pdf)".

UPDATED 12/15/2011 NDU, Chinese Navy: The PLA Navy’s Antiaccess Role in a TaiwanContingency

Article by Michael McDevitt published in National Defense University's, The Chinese Navy (chapter 8) that moves the China AntiAccess (A2/AD)13 challenge away from "arm-waving and shocked amazement" to "more difficult to surmount than the antiaccess capabilities it faced during the Cold War14 from the [former] Soviet Union".

Refreshingly, in addition to placing the AntiAccess strategy in a historical context the article lightly anchors it to a basic, if evolving military doctrine.
"If the PLA can master and field this weapons system, it will be able to present as serious a challenge to the U.S. Navy as the one presented by Soviet Backfire-launched cruise missiles before the introduction of the Aegis radar system. Aside from the technical challenge associated with missile warhead design, the command and control problem of determining an accurate location of an aircraft carrier, getting that information to a missile firing unit in a timely fashion, and translating positional information into a guidance solution for the missile which has to include missile time of flight before the target ship moves beyond the terminal seeker’s window—are also issues.[reference to footnote 48 omitted.] The central point is, however, that these all appear to be solvable problems. In this author’s judgment, this capability, assuming that it is eventually successfully fielded, when combined with the PLAN’s robust submarine force, presents the U.S. Navy with an operational challenge that is actually more difficult to surmount than the antiaccess capabilities it faced during the Cold War from the Soviet Union."--China Navy--
China is not the first nation to investigate conventional ballistic missile maneuverability or have every junk scored as a potential threat by its putative adversaries.

Stated differently, military doctrine still prefers professionalism, experience, quality and deployability over hyperbole and simulations.

UPDATED 11/24/2011  Proceedings, Drawing Lines at Sea and Diplomat, Yes, China Could Have a Global Navy

UPDATED 11/07/2011 MarketWatch, The Global Submarine Market 2011-2021 

The global submarine market is expected to increase by a CAGR of 1.22% during the ten year period.
A total of 154 submarines are to be procured over the next decade, for an estimated cost of US $186.3 billion. The United States and Asian States accounting for 70.3% percent of the estimated market or 46.7% and  23.6%, respectively.

Fortunately, as budget realities associated with building and maintaining credible submarine fleets take hold the eventual size and dollar value of the forecasted market will likely decrease. 

UPDATED 10/21/2011 Diplomat, China’s Overhyped Sub Threat

UPDATED 10/07/2011 A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the struggle for mastery in Asia

A well written and sourced introduction to the current state of the ongoing fascinating and intellectually challenging China-U.S debate—a debate with a gradient extending from “engage-appease” through “constrain-contain”.

Friedberg seems to prefer a gradient point nearer assertive engagement—maintain a qualitative distrustful engagement of China while maintaining an undefined (i.e. no quantitative measures specified) military superiority.11

Using a series of desultory statements (primarily chapters 10 and 11) Friedberg12 seems to conclude that an undemocratic China cannot be trusted; the Chinese people are powerless, and cannot be trusted to alter the authoritarian CCP; and a preponderance of our uninformed citizens; policymakers; China scholars; China-hands; and China-watchers; are too busy engaging China to understand or realize its stealthy and coercive designs.

Assuming Friedberg's qualitative generalized conclusions are accurate--after a costly decade-plus of hubris and failure to forcefully impose democratic civil society structures on authoritarian nations who will fault those willing to explore alternative approaches? 

Today, authoritarian regimes seem to fall like dominoes in months with little or no application of external force, or usage of major weapons systems, and sometimes notwithstanding belated rhetorical support and encouragement!

Wonder how many Chinese citizens are aware that authoritarian regimes are falling like dominoes , notwithstanding the censorship efforts of the CCP?

UPDATED 09/03/2011 Project 204910, Asian Alliances in the 21st Century (pdf; includes forecast of regional submarines)   As I read this breathless budget boosting (or busting depending on your perspective) broadcast I was reminded of a quote from Hu Angang's recent book China 2020: A New Type of Superpower.

"To see ourselves as others see us is a rare and valuable gift, without a doubt. But in international relations what is still rarer and far more useful is to see others as they see themselves."--Hu Angang, China 2020 quoting Jacques Barzun--

Instead of condescendingly focusing on China's alleged ungrateful contention for the commons and lobbying to increase our $3 billion dollar Virginia-class submarine inventory it might be more useful and productive to focus on Building the 21st Century U.S.-China Cooperation.

With some luck, a lot of consensus building, and leadership China will begin to carry some of the substantial burden for preserving and protecting the commons9. No mean feat for a nation that hasn't even experienced its first "capitalist's" economic down-turn.

See Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China for DoD's latest annual summary to Congress. The fact that China has generally referred to this report as "cock and bull" is a strong indicator that our DoD has not seen China as China sees itself--perhaps a general challenge for our nations?

UPDATED 07/16/2011 BaltimoreSun, Wrong course for Navy weapons research and BaltimoreSun, We can't afford a naval arms race. Wonder what the performance-vulnerability-cost trade-offs (e.g. loads, speed, and CEP etc.) are for a mach 10-12 reentry vehicle(s) slowing for the purpose of executing a terminal course correction or maneuver...and for a counter measure projectile? Certainly basic and applied research can continue in the absence of costly major weapons systems development.

UPDATED 07/16/2011 Aviation Week, China Details Anti-ship Missile Plans.

UPDATED 07/13/2011 Aviation Week, China: Anti-Ship Missile Still In Development.

UPDATED 07/11/2011 CTV, China says U.S. spends too much money on military. Chen Bingde is quoted as saying the DF-21D variant ("carrier killer") is not operational, yet.

UPDATED 06/03/2011 AFPS, U.S. Will Maintain, Improve Engagement in Asia, Gates Says and DoD, [SecDef June 04 speech at] International Institute for Security Studies (Shangri-La Dialogue).

"Our engagement in Asia has been guided by a set of enduring principles that have fostered the economic growth and stability of the region. I spoke about these principles last year, but I think it is worth reiterating our commitment to them once more today:

(1) Free and open commerce;
(2) A just international order that emphasizes rights and responsibilities of nations and fidelity to the rule of law;
(3) Open access by all to the global commons of sea, air, space, and now, cyberspace; and
(4) The principle of resolving conflict without the use of force."--SecDef, June 04, 2011 (local)

...and continually challenge China to do the same, notwithstanding periodic stalls and setbacks.

UPDATED 05/16/2011 CTV (AP), U.S. Navy drones: Coming to a carrier near China? and Diplomat, US Drones vs China. United States announces usage of carrier based drones as part of a developing Asia stand-off strategy.

UPDATED 05/16/2011 NDU INSS, The New Security Environment – Implications for American Security in the Asia Pacific Region. A paper from the recent National Defense University 2011 Pacific symposium. On May 18, 2011 China's PLA Chief of the General Staff, Chen Bingde is scheduled to speak at the NDU.

UPDATED 02/21/2011 Reuters, U.S. to boost naval forces as China develops carrier: admiral.

UPDATED 02/15/2011 AJC, US admiral: Carrier killer won't stop US Navy.

...the Navy does not see the much-feared weapon [DF-21D aka "carrier killer"] as creating any insurmountable vulnerability for the U.S. carriers—the Navy's crown jewels."--AP quoting Vice Admiral Scott van Buskirk, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet--

 Not sure who understands China's DF-21D with "much fear" or our navy's aircraft carrier as a crown jewel? The caption for the TEL and missile photo included in the article should be viewed with some skepticism as to missile variant, DF-21C versus DF-21D?

UPDATED 01/12/2011 DefPro, China’s anti-ship ballistic missile operational.

"Dorsett [Naval Operations for Information Dominance, N2/N6] confirmed that the DF-21D had reached initial combat capability and confirmed it has been tested over land, but that the US had not observed an over-water test. He called the missile ‘competent’ and ‘capable’." --DefPro--

UPDATED 01/09/2011 NYT, U.S. Will Counter Chinese Arms Buildup.

It will be helpful if the major powers begin focusing on development and application of cooperative models to eventually replace conflict models. Nations fool only themselves with recurring threats of sustained cycles of competitive armed conflict—it's the language of fear and misunderstanding. Instead of our leaders challenging or encouraging China to accumulate or amass weaponry let them challenge and encourage the reduction of our own stockpile of weaponry. Instead of our leaders talking about countering "carrier killers" let them talk about deploying a cooperative carrier—an aircraft carrier cooperatively developed, operated, and maintained by China, Britain, Russia, and United States. The crews can rotate through three months of deployment; six months of joint education and training; and three months of rest and relaxation.

UPDATED 01/06/2011 NYT, China’s Push to Modernize Military Is Bearing Fruit and Asia Sentinel, Running Silent, Running Deep Around Taiwan. Fortunately, some articles seem to be switching from the alarmist's voice—using a more balanced analyst's voice.

UPDATED 12/30/2010 BCJIA, Challenging US Command of the Commons: Evolving Chinese defense technologies as a threat to American hegemony? (Spring 2010) Article cites Project 2049's China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability: the anti-ship ballistic missile challenge to U.S. maritime operations in the Western Pacific and beyond (September 14, 2009) for the proposition that ASBM initial capability will be available in 2010:

"...In contrast, ASBMs have the potential to destroy US carriers before they even enter the theater of operations around Taiwan – a potential “game-changer” in a military conflict. Based on a survey of Chinese technical and doctrinal publications, a number of US non-profit and government institutions claim that China has had significant success in its pursuit of an ASBM capacity. Although there has been no official acknowledgment by Chinese authorities, nor any known test of ASBM assets, an initial capacity is estimated to be available in 2010...."--Challenging US Command of the Commons, footnotes omitted--

UPDATED 12/30/2010 Popular Mechanics, What a War Between China and the United States Would Look Like. A Kraska-lite U.S.-China war speculation article—the article actually states:

"...Chances are that a war between China and the United States will not happen in 2015, or at any other time."

Guess it's a thought exercise?
UPDATED 12/30/2010 China SignPost, China Deploys World’s First Long-Range, Land-Based ‘Carrier Killer’: DF-21D Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) Reaches “Initial Operational Capability” (IOC). Post makes the assertion in exhibit 6:

"May:2010: CASIC 4th Dept. Deputy Director says DF-21D can hit "slow-moving targets" with a CEP of dozens of meters"

This likely refers to a statement attributed to Deputy Commander Wang Genbin, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) Fourth Academy’s Fourth Design Department (English Translation)?:

"...China's solid missile from scratch, from small to large development team is also, by the team, "bombs and one satellite" spirit of the traditional spirit of space, developed missiles of China's first generation of solid, then 20 years from 1988 to the present time, the state invested only 3.0 billion development costs, has developed east on the 21st A, B, C, D four models, complete from the nuclear to both nuclear and conventional attack fixed targets to attack slow moving target changes, the precision CEP realized tens of meters from a few hundred meters and then to progress to truly create a model series, to meet the Second Artillery Corps in the new era, "responsible for deterrence against China's use of nuclear weapons, conducting nuclear counterattacks and precision strikes with conventional missiles." made important contributions to the country. The team win without pride, by defeat, hard work, walking is a better and more economical for development.--English translation--

Also refer to FAS Strategic Security Blog, Missile Mystery in Beijing (Oct 05, 2009)
UPDATED 12/28/2010 Diplomat, China’s Military Surprises. Commander, United States Pacific Fleet Command Admiral Robert F. Willard seems to assert that China believes (not that he or our navy judges) its "carrier killer" has achieved initial operating capabilities (IOC)8.

The admiral goes on to say that no over-water test of the entire system has been observed and that additional years of testing will be required. At a minimum IOC implies getting a missile to an aircraft carrier within some circular error of probability (CEP)8.

It can be an equivalent test—for example drive a simulated aircraft carrier around in the desert and measure how close your "carrier killer" missile comes to hitting the "aircraft carrier" (i.e CEP).

We would detect the test whether over water or sand; probably intercept the telemetry; and with some luck measure the CEP. It's unnecessary and unhelpful for our military leaders (or others) to talk about potential threats cryptically, tangentially, or as if they are UFOs.

UPDATED 12/26/2010 WP, Military strength is eluding China by John Pomfret. It is will be helpful to continually challenge any tendency to designate nations as "threats" then use such designation as justification for perpetuating confrontation, conflict, and containment over cooperation.

UPDATED 12/03/2010 Economist, The fourth modernisation.

UPDATED 10/19/2010 WT, LYONS: Countering China's aggression: Communist dictatorship presents trouble in Asia and abroad

Unsurprisingly the "Cold War" admiral thinks we're not doing enough to deter or counter (how about balance?) the Chinese aggression.

"Our message should be that the world's leading democracy will not be intimidated or bullied by another communist threat. In addition to remaining militarily superior, the United States also can begin to organize multinational political and economic pressures that could help accelerate China's evolution from communism. We led a similar campaign in the not-too-distant past."

Wonder what the admiral calls RIMPAC 2010? Of course it would be a gross mistake to treat China as Russia or the former Soviet Union or even communist. The admiral does raise the interesting question of how any future Chinese president, say 57 year-old Xi Jinping would go about evolving China's authoritarian leadership? If only it were as easy and simple as driving the United States Third Fleet into the Yellow Sea or South China Sea—China's leadership would likely call the Third Fleet itself! Unfortunately, as the below post (The "China Threat" Isn't Military) generally notes such efforts are only likely to recall memories of the first Anglo-Chinese Opium War7. Shortly after that conflict China's Lin Zexu (林则徐) and Wei Yuan (魏源) decided to enhance China's navy and coastal defenses, including denial of access defensive measures (for more details refer to China's Self-Strengthening Movement)

UPDATED 10/19/2010 DefPro, The "China Threat" Isn't Military Some tersely interesting words on the "China Threat—a lot to ponder in this short post.

UPDATED 08/17/2010 DefenseLink, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2010 (5M pdf)

"China is developing an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) based on a variant of the CSS-5 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM). The missile has a range in excess of 1,500 km, is armed with a maneuverable warhead, and when integrated with appropriate command and control systems, is intended to provide the PLA the capability to attack ships, including aircraft carriers, in the western Pacific Ocean....The PLA is acquiring conventional MRBMs to increase the range at which it can conduct precision strikes against land targets and naval ships, including aircraft carriers, operating far from China’s shores out to the first island chain."--DoD 2010--

There is nothing new or shocking on the “carrier killer”; no mention of terminal guidance; elsewhere, the report states that OTH radar is being developed and can be coupled with satellite imagery. Total 2009 PLA military spending is estimated at ≅$140+ billion dollars on a budget of ≅$70+ billion dollars. (do all nation''s defense components overrun their proposed budget by 100%?) The report includes a nice "org-chart" of China''s military structure. Unfortunately, DoD persists in its opaque ways (submitting an opaque annex with the 2010 report) while expressing concern over China''s lack of transparency.

UPDATED 08/11/2010 DefPro, China''s New "Carrier-Killing" Missile Is Overrated. Article by Loren B. Thompson:

"Frankly, the U.S. Navy has so many options for negating Chinese antiship capabilities that I can only conclude the alarmists aren''t conversant with U.S. military preparations to be so worried about the nascent Dong Feng."

UPDATED 07/08/2010 Time, U.S. Missiles Deployed Near China Send a Message and Asia Times, China flexes its naval muscle.

Two good articles on the deteriorating military cooperation between China and United States—both articles could be titled “Dangerous Games Adult Children Play”.

It seems useful to note that the much hyped China DF-21 or DF-21A, the so called ballistic missile cum conventional "carrier killer", was not deployed or demonstrated. Left alone, the male military leadership5 of both nations will tend toward what they''ve learned best; taunt, threaten, and intimidate—male children in America learn this behavior early.

The childhood game is called "King of the Hill". The game doesn''t change when the kids become adults or admirals, just the location (i.e. from the schoolyard playground becomes to the South China and Yellow Seas) and costs.

Learning the childhood game "King of the Hill" is harmful by itself, but the adult logic our male military leaders (and some non-military leaders) assign to playing the childhood game as an adult is even more harmful.

Our adult male military leaders asserts it’s necessary to play the childhood game "King of the Hill" so we don’t have to really fight, really (this curious and bizarre logic will always lead to fighting, exactly the opposite of their stated assertion)!

 Let’s try replacing both nations’ military leadership with female military leadership. American girls show no inclination or interest in playing the childhood game "King of the Hill" and I''ll bet China''s girls don''t either. 

As always resolving one problem creates another—what will our female admirals do with all those lonely male admirals? Maybe they can fund the annual "King of the Hill" games for all our male admirals, minus the weapon systems.

UPDATED 03/30/2010 USNI, ''Get Off the Fainting Couch''. Craig Hooper and Christopher Albon argue that the "carrier killer" hype has been harmful and counterproductive. The hype legitimizes a non-operational missile and distracts from constructive dialogue with China and other regional nations. Dialogue aimed at highlighting how destabilizing such a missile would be for the region should it ever become operational.

UPDATED 03/30/2010 Wired, China Testing Ballistic Missile 'Carrier-Killer'. Article by Andrew Erickson includes some useful links but nothing new.

UPDATED 03/28/2010 SASC, Hearing on U.S. Pacific Command.... Includes a useful summary of the U.S. Navy Pacific Command Open Posture by Admiral Robert F. Willard. Of particular interest is China's Southeast Asia playground etiquette...:
Atlantic, Cyber Warriors. Nice article by James Fallows—it''s easy to overlook that much can be learned from those you do not fear.

UPDATED 03/17/2010 Atlantic, Cyber Warriors. Nice article by James Fallows—it''s easy to overlook that much can be learned from those you do not fear.

UPDATED 03/01/2010 CSBA, Why AirSea Battle? (pdf). Another shot (weak pun) at the China AntiShip Ballistic Missile (ASBM) story—this one is a slightly more circumspect version of Kraska''s Story within the context of some interesting China-Iran Anti-Access/Area-Denial conjecture. The author, Andrew F. Krepinevich, appears to cite the now familiar Yang and Erickson article for the proposition that the ASBM exists:

"...Perhaps the most notable Chinese addition is the anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM).39" @ page 18 [footnote 39 is to Yang and Erickson]

But then later more accurately states:

"...To be sure, even if the PRC has a capable ASBM, a targeting system is still required to enable the [≈ mach 10+] reentry vehicle to hone in on its [highly mobile and heavily defended] target. Fielding the ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] component for its ASBM force represents a challenging task for the PLA...." @ page 19 [added to original text]

This type of general conjecture is routine and near ubiquitous within our defense industry, military components, and intelligence sectors seeking to understand and forecast the next "threat and enemy" (eventually we''ll figure out that needing a "threat and enemy" is the threat and enemy). But, care must be taken when reading these general conjecture articles to ensure that repetitive general conjecture is not mistaken for specific and complete evidence. Otherwise the repetitive general conjecture becomes the a "threat and enemy".

UPDATED 02/10/2010 UPI, China says no hegemonic intention. Statements of national intentions are of course important and necessary, but insufficient without the accompanying transparent and confirming participation and cooperation for international growth and stability. It''s no longer desirable or feasible for an authoritarian nation, particularly the size of China, to shout non-hegemonic intentions from behind walls. China’s authoritarian communist party must eliminate walls, move with all diligent speed toward a civil society, and begin shouldering a portion of the heavy burden of ensuring global stability and growth.

UPDATED 02/20/2010 The Diplomat, Why China’s Naval Rise Could Help the World

"There's much more reason to be positive...I do think China wants to fit into the ''global commons.'' We just have to be careful [sic: too?] make sure they see we are trying to treat them as equals."--Diplomat quoting Eric Wertheim, US naval analyst and author of Combat Fleets of the World--

UPDATED 02/10/2010 ExpressIndia, China''s anti-ship missile not a threat: Navy chief.

Interesting comments from India''sAdmiral Nirmal Verma on the use of a ballistic anti-ship missile:

"...Some event [sic] talk about carrying out land-based missile attacks against an aircraft carrier. We must weigh this against the difficulties of targeting a mobile target out at sea,... ...Should an adversary manage to evade a plethora of air, surface and sub-surface escorts and be capable of hitting a carrier, sinking it or putting a carrier out of action is by no means easy"--Express India quoting Admiral Verma--

UPDATED 01/11/2010 WSJ OpEd, The Taiwan Arms-Sales Equation.
"Cross-strait relations won''t progress peacefully unless Taipei can defend itself from a Chinese attack."

UPDATED 12/31/2009 UPI, China''s navy mulls push into Arabian Sea.

UPDATED 01/02/2010 UPI, China has no plans for African Navy base.

Wikimapia Aerial Map, CoCo Island, Burma
Wikimapia Aerial Map, Gwadar, Pakistan

UPDATED 05/25/2011 Dawn, ‘China agrees to run Gwadar port’
Wikimapia Aerial Map, Hambantota, Sri Lanka


1. Kraska is careful to state that the views expressed in his article do not represent or reflect official U.S. Navy or Department of Defense policy. But, then goes on to indulge speculation, unproven facts, undocumented data, and liberal assumptions uncharacteristic of a navy, Law of the Sea specialist.

2. UPDATED 01/17/2010 Kraska refers to the DF-21 which has an open-source circular error of probability estimated range of 300-400 meters (see FAS, DF-21 / CSS-5 and SinoDefense, DongFeng 21 (CSS-5) Medium-Range Ballistic Missile, and John Lewis and Hua Di, China''s Ballistic Missile Programs, International Security, Fall 1992 Vol. 17, No. 2, 3M pdf and Wikipedia, Ballistic Missiles, China and en.interpretation of Chinese blog providing the early speculation on a DF-21 antiship variant).
It's unclear whether terminal course correction of a fast moving reentry vehicle is even feasible. And if feasible whether it''s practical for use against a highly mobile and defended target like an aircraft carrier. Not to mention the nuclear retaliatory risks inherent in using a ballistic weapon for conventional tactical purposes. Distinguish the rare anti-ship ballistic missile from the common anti-ship cruise missile (e.g. Tomahawk, Sizzler, Sunburn, Club etc.)

UPDATED 03/06/2014 Defending The Fleet From China’s Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile: Naval Deception’s Roles In Sea-Based Missile Defense (old research)

3. It’s likely the waters within the first string of pearls are more “acoustically wired” and monitored than a Cold War Soviet embassy.

4. It should be noted that our military officers below the level of flag (admiral) generally are not expected to think in the diplomatic terms of balancing cooperation with confrontation. However, Kraska seems to mock cooperation and partnership and assume confrontation—fortunately Kraska is not a navy flag officer.

5. Of course, some of our military and non-military leadership is moving away from past models and non-cooperative behavior. They must be open, transparent, and vocal on the need to swiftly replace obsolete models and behavior with updated learning and models. The transition will be daunting since there are currently fewer vested interests in cooperation than non-cooperation. We must begin holding our military and non-military leaderships accountable for the missed "opportunity costs" that results when they substitute taunting, threatening, and intimidation for cooperation.

6. Lost in recovery of post—related to a update between September and October 2010.

7. Britain was then the world's narcotrafficker of the world and was seeking to preserve existing markets and open new ones. A large number of Chinese were suffering from opium addiction and China sought to prevent the opium from entering its country (refer to Opium Wars for additional information). It's instructive of historical interpretation to note that China Goes to Sea emphasizes the Qing leaders' balance of payment concerns (opium was paid for with China's silver) that was impeding their ability to wage war in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region(@pg 295). Not mentioning eliminating the scourge of opium addiction. Of course both concerns are interrelated and it's a matter of emphasis.

8. UPDATED 12/28/2010 Saying you have a missile without a CEP is like saying you have an aircraft carrier without planes, crew, or adequate steerage. Erickson et al. directly raises the concept of FOC (Full Operational Capability)—fundamentally the difference between missile IOC and FOC concepts is an improved CEP. It's of course not unknown for nations (including ours) to announce IOC of a missile with a totally useless or undefined CEP and then work (or waste resources) to improve or define the CEP before declaring FOC (particularly when budgets are tight and the weapon system is politically unpopular). Rarely, do such “political tactics” dupe our very capable naval intelligence officers or admirals—in fact they may even accommodate (or exploit) such tactics because it diverts (or justifies) scarce resources to a doomed and useless (desired) endeavor. Admiral Willard et al. must be applauded for raising these important issues for our open, transparent, reciprocal, dispassionate, and meaningful discussion.

9. The fascinating and durable Shanghai Communiqué is an early example of U.S.-China agreeing to cooperate for the benefit of the global commons.

10. UPDATED 09/09/2011 Speculating about the year 2049 enables reference to Deng's 1992 speech wherein he urged China to pursue the "basic line" (socialism with reform, and opening appended)  without vacillation for 100 years.  If the "basic line" is measured from the CCP's founding in 1949 plus 100 years the result is 2049.

Even if the 2049 speculation is amiss the speech is useful reading for those wanting to understand a changing China.

11. There is a set of bizarre logic routinely asserted by some persons in positions of leadership of predominantly aggressive, and assertive nations. The logic imagines all efforts aimed at ameliorating the persistent or ephemeral and real or imagined fears, phobias, or superstitions of another nation's leaders somehow demonstrates a weakness that invites an exploitative counter-aggression.

These persons do not need access to major weapon systems or positions of leadership; they need access to therapy and removal from all positions of leadership while they undergo therapy.

12. Friedberg's interest linkages include:

Defense Policy Board (DPB) Member 2007; Alexander Hamilton Society Director 2011; Long Term Strategy Group Member 2011; Naval War College, China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) Lecturer and former Graduate Professor of Core CMSI Professors 2011 (e.g. Andrew Erickson); and Henry Kissinger Scholar at the Library of Congress (Henry Kissinger is a 2011 DPB Member).

UPDATED 10/18/2011 Also, WP, Interview with Aaron Friedberg: Is China going to displace the U.S.? for Friedberg's nonconservative credentials and current connect with the Mitt Romney campaign.

Interest linkages can produce tremendous insights and novel thinking on extraordinarily challenging issues (e.g. U.S-China relationship); or interest linkages can produce mutually reinforcing group-think orthodoxy, propaganda, and blow-back.

13. McDevitt differentiates between the America terminology of AntiAccess and Area Denial and Chinese terminology of defensive strategy (broadly and meaninglessly defined as threats to national interests), but continues the custom of referring to A2/AD generically as AntiAccess.

14. Those wanting a refresher of "Cold War" history may find John Gaddis's The Cold War helpful.

15. The newly commissioned USS John Warner (SSN-785) is currently under a restrictive operations directive because of unauthorized welding on high pressure water reactor elbow joints, a significantly greater threat to submarine operations than a "carrier killer" conventional ballistic missile.

16. Lobbing convention warheads on ballistic reentry vehicle trajectories invites confusion and a mistaken nuclear retaliatory response, which is a great reason to eschew commingling them.

17. A nonfictional "ghost fleet" exists in Mallows Bay on the Potomac River, south of Washington, D.C., a historical recreational reminder of war's remnants:

18. Current accounts of the U.S.-China military relationship must be closely scrutinized with transparently known facts. It's not at all unusual for accounts to "shout" phrases like "China is building a Second Aircraft Carrier" (e.g. Time, China Is Building a Second Aircraft Carrier).

Well, no China hasn't built a first aircraft carrier; it has refurbished a scrapped Russian carrier!

19. UPDATED 06/07/2016 The China Lawyers Association has issued a statement that is not unlike a toddler seeing the South and East China Sea and saying, "Mine", (我的) which intended as both an assertion and question: All China Lawyers Association issues statement on South China Sea arbitration initiated by the Philippines.

Whereupon, the asserting and questioning toddler will likely hear the frustratingly familiar response, "no, you must share"!