TOC Ready Room 28 April 2022: How do you solve a problem like the Navy? (and other naval musings)

What’s wrong and right, afloat.

Modern naval problems, it turns out, look pretty much like naval problems from any time.  The parameters are resources, logistics, geography, and technology.

This will be a tweet-enriched lightning round.  The big punch comes at the end.  It’s a doozy (and yes, I know:  if I were tediously pedantic I’d spell it Duesy.  Life is short).

A number of negative things are happening in a concentrated burst.  One is that the Navy brass – “Big Navy” – has just proposed to whack out a big chunk of the fleet for the foreseeable future.  With a target over the last half-decade of 355 ships, the Navy would decline from its current 296 ships to 280 in Fiscal Year 2027 (FY27).  In the best case among three options proposed by the Navy, the fleet would recover to 299 by FY32, 10 years from now. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 28 April 2022: How do you solve a problem like the Navy? (and other naval musings)”

USS Connecticut: Close encounter in the South China Sea

Media reported a U.S. Navy statement Thursday that USS Connecticut (SSN-22), a nuclear-powered attack submarine, had suffered an underwater collision on 2 October 2021 while operating in the South China Sea, and was headed to Guam for inspection.  No sailors were killed in the collision; 11 were injured, but the Navy hasn’t indicated the injuries are life-threatening.

The statement, quoted at the U.S. Naval Institute website, is as follows:

“The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region. The safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority. There are no life-threatening injuries,” Capt. Bill Clinton told USNI News.

“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational. The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed. The U.S. Navy has not requested assistance. The incident will be investigated.”

Subsequent reports in the mainstream media have indicated Connecticut was in the South China Sea. Continue reading “USS Connecticut: Close encounter in the South China Sea”

Showdown looming off Yemen with sanctioned Iranian ‘aid’ ship

Interesting times.

Iran Shahed, with stern decked out in Yemeni flags. Iranian flag flies from traditional position on center fantail. (Image: YouTube, Christoph Hoerstel)
Iran Shahed, with stern decked out in Yemeni flags. Iranian flag flies from traditional position on center fantail. (Image: YouTube, Christoph Hoerstel)

There are some important things to know about the Iranian cargo shop Iran Shahed, which left Bandar Abbas, Iran on 11 May and expects to get to the Houthi-held port of Hodeidah, on the Red Sea, on 20-21 May.  Iran claims the ships is carrying only humanitarian-aid cargo.

1.  The ship itself is on the U.S. Treasury list of vessels and shipping entities under sanction due to complicity in arms proliferation.

2.  We aren’t going to do anything about that.

3.  The Saudis have imposed a blockade on Yemen and are determined to prevent the importation of arms (i.e., from Iran to the Houthis) by air or sea. Continue reading “Showdown looming off Yemen with sanctioned Iranian ‘aid’ ship”

The Maersk Tigris game change: Iran’s big little maneuver in the Strait of Hormuz

Interesting times.

Superbad.  An Iranian speedboat and Kayvan patrol boat, the new law in the SOH. (Image: Fars via Uskowi on Iran)
Superbad. An Iranian speedboat and Kayvan patrol boat, the new law in the SOH. (Image: Fars via Uskowi on Iran)

The game of international power dynamics has just shifted in a major way.  It will take a little time for the consequences to be visible to the public eye.  But I don’t think it will take that much time.  We’re talking months, at most, if not weeks.  Iran is getting no pushback from the “international community,” and is moving quickly now.

Two points to take this forward on.  First, the Maersk Tigris, the Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship detained by Iran on Tuesday, is still being held by Iran.  The situation remains unresolved.

Second, the U.S. Navy will begin accompanying U.S.-flagged commercial ships through the Strait of Hormuz (SOH).  This is not the robust use of force it may seem to be, nor is it a repeat of the tanker-escort operation (Earnest Will)* in 1987-88, during the Iran-Iraq war.  It’s a tacit surrender, in fact. Continue reading “The Maersk Tigris game change: Iran’s big little maneuver in the Strait of Hormuz”

All stop: Pentagon denies report that Iranian convoy has “turned around”

Interesting times.

USS Theodore Roosevelt (foreground) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) turn over in the Persian Gulf, 13 April 2015. (Image: USN, MC2 Scott Fenaroli)
USS Theodore Roosevelt (foreground) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) turn over in the Persian Gulf, 13 April 2015. (Image: USN, MC2 Scott Fenaroli)

New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!