Chapter 1: The People’s Republic of China is in the process of building and deploying a sophisticated and modern missile arsenal, though one shrouded in secrecy due to an unwillingness to enter arms control or other transparency agreements. Beijing features its missiles most prominently in its developing anti-access/area denial doctrines, which use a combination of ballistic and cruise missiles launched from air, land and sea to target U.S. and allied military assets in the Asia Pacific Theatre.
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Chapter 2: Despite economic problems, Russia continues to prioritize the rebuilding of its military and funding for military operations abroad. Russia’s military and political antagonism toward the United States continues unabated, and its efforts to undermine U.S. institutions and the NATO alliance are serious and troubling. Russia uses its energy position in Europe along with espionage, cyber-attacks, and information warfare to exploit vulnerabilities and seeks to drive wedges into the transatlantic alliance and undermine people’s faith in government and societal institutions.
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Chapter 3: The premise of any negotiation is that both sides have something to gain or lose, something each may be willing to give up in order to secure some concession or agreement. By that definition, North Korea’s talks with the United States, over the decades and increasingly since 2017, have never qualified as negotiations. Instead they have been rhetorical exercises not very cleverly designed to frustrate arriving at any meaningful concession or agreement. Always ambitiously publicized in advance, reports of the non-results are cynically distorted.
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Chapter 4: Iran’s major military buildup began in July 2015 when a nuclear agreement lifted sanctions on Iran, giving it about $100 billion in restricted assets and allowed it to expand its oil and gas exports. The following year, Tehran increased its military budget to $19 billion, 90 percent more than the previous year. Relief from the burden of sanctions helped Iran’s economy and enabled it to improve its military capabilities and support for terrorist groups. It also allowed Tehran to emerge from diplomatic isolation and strengthen strategic ties with Russia.
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Chapter 5: ISIS has lost its Caliphate, but it remains a highly dangerous adversary capable of planning and executing attacks regionally and—at the very least—inspiring them in the West. It appears to be transitioning from a quasi-state to an insurgency, relying on its affiliates to project strength far beyond its former Syrian and Iraqi strongholds. Meanwhile, despite sustained losses to its leadership, al-Qaeda remains resilient. It has curried favor with other Sunnis in particular areas of strategic importance to it, has focused its resources on local conflicts, has occasionally controlled territory, and has de-emphasized (but not eschewed) focus on the global jihad. This approach has been particularly noticeable since the Arab Spring.
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Chapter 6: China, of course, makes no secret of its ambition to reabsorb Taiwan, lost when the remnants of the Chinese nationals under Chiang Kai Shek‘s Kuomintang government fled there in 1949. The island has ever since been considered by the leadership in Beijing a renegade province, but in fact has become a thriving and enthusiastic democracy of 24 million just 112 miles of the coast of the mainland.
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Chapter 7:Many nuclear experts are concerned about a war between India and Pakistan that could start a nuclear exchange that could kill one billion people worldwide. Both countries are engaged in a nuclear competition that threatens stability throughout the world. Pakistan has been said to have the world’s fastest-growing nuclear stockpile. Islamabad currently has an estimated 140 nuclear weapons and has developed tactical nuclear weapons capabilities to counter perceived Indian conventional military threats. This affects India’s nuclear use threshold, which could affect China and possibly others.
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Chapter 8: India and China each have more than one billion people, nuclear weapons, an historical animosity and a strong sense of nationalist pride. So far both sides seem to be digging in their heels. China believes Indian troops invaded its territory and will not pursue reconciliation until they leave. India charges that China invaded its land for the explicit purpose of threatening their national security.
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Chapter 9: Space capabilities and potential conflicts are not confined to the United States, Russia and China. The National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) reports that, in addition to the “big three,” six countries and one international organization can independently launch spacecraft: India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and the European Space Agency.
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Chapter 10:No issue has emerged so rapidly as the militarization of cyberspace, and yet no issue is more poorly understood as cyber-security. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to cyber-security. Cyber issues affect literally everyone: the military protecting the nation; business executives defending firms from once unimaginable threats and politicians wrestling with everything from voter fraud, cybercrime and online freedom.
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Chapter 11: “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” This statement from Vladimir Putin, Russian president, comes at a time when artificial intelligence is already coming to the battlefield and some would say it is already here. Weapons systems driven by artificial intelligence algorithms will soon be making potentially deadly decisions on the battlefield.
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Chapter 12: An EMP attack (a high-density electrical field attack) would fry the Pentagon’s electronics, leaving the U.S. military unable to retaliate. Imagine a city, county or state without power. No communications of any kind, whether it’s a landline, mobile or Internet. Hospitals would have no power—main or emergency. The safety of the water supply would rapidly deteriorate. There would be little to no access to money. ATM’s wouldn’t function, and banks would close out of security concerns. Food shortages would develop, followed by rioting and civil unrest.
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Chapter 13: Not all-Chinese theft of military and scientific information comes through computer hacking or internal leaks. Universities in the US, UK, Australia and other countries may have been unknowingly collaborating with China’s military. That’s according to a study by Canberra-based think tank Australian Policy Institute (ASPI) which found that dozens of scientists and engineers linked to China’s People’s Liberation Army had obscured their military connections when applying to study overseas. About 2,500 PLA-sponsored military scientists have gone abroad since 2007, according to ASPI. Such collaborations are encouraged by cash-strapped foreign universities, some of which have increasingly turned to China for scientific funding.
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Chapter 14: China’s multibillion-dollar One Belt, One Road Initiative (BRI) has been called a state-backed campaign for global dominance. Since Chinese President Xi Jin Ping introduced BRI in October 2013, China has poured nearly $700 billion worth of Chinese money into more than 60 countries, much in the form of infrastructure projects and loans to governments with shaky credit. The idea was to draw those countries closer to Beijing, while boosting Chinese soft power abroad.
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Chapter 15: In the past decade, Chinese shipbuilders have produced more than 100 warships, a build-rate easily outstripping the U.S. Navy’s. The Type 055 destroyer program alone demonstrates China’s extraordinary warship development capabilities. Within just three years of the program’s initiation in 2014, six Type 055s were under construction simultaneously. What’s more, the Type 055 development, important in its own right, is the harbinger of something much more concerning. These ships, like the U.S. Ticonderoga missile cruisers they resemble in size, electronics and armament, will undoubtedly be key components of powerful aircraft carrier strike groups in the near future.
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Chapter 16: The new Chinese type 055 destroyer is in a killer class of warships. The question is how would the U.S. Navy do in a fight with this large ship, displacing 13,000 tons and carrying 112 vertical launch system (VLS) cells, in addition to a 130-millimeter gun and a wide array of sensors and defensive weapons. They are the world’s largest surface combatants apart from the Zumwalt class destroyers, which really are specialized land attack vessels. But apart from the Arleigh Burke Flight III ships, the U.S. Navy has no specific large combatants in its long-term plans.
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Chapter 17: Since 1976, with the commissioning of the first ship of the Los Angeles class, the predecessor of the Virginia class, nuclear-powered attack submarines have excelled in their unique mission in U.S. naval strategy. With nuclear power providing limitless range, attack submarines can prowl the globe, invisible to adversaries’ reconnaissance. They can shadow Russian and Chinese ICBM submarines, escort U.S. carrier strike groups or suddenly arrive at vital strategic locations prepared to deliver devastating missile barrages. Meanwhile, they are also covertly collecting intelligence that cannot be obtained any other way and delivering special operators ashore for secret missions.
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Chapter 18:Lethality and stealth will be the absolute essentials of naval weapons platforms in conflicts to come, and no platforms are more lethal and stealthier than Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Submarines. The 14 submarines of the Ohio class, 540-foot long, 18,750-ton monsters now deployed deep in the oceans of the world are each prepared to shower nearly 300 nuclear warheads from 24 Trident II D5 missiles on targets up to 6,000 miles away. They are the sturdiest and most potent leg of the U.S. nuclear triad, carrying 70 percent of U.S. nuclear weapons. In addition, design work is underway on the Ohio’s successor, the Columbia class, slated to join the fleet beginning in 2031 at the rate of one a year until the projected number of 12 replaces the entire Ohio class.
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Chapter 19:Stealth achieved by virtually silencing the power and propulsion noise from the Virginia and Columba class nuclear submarines will not make them undetectable or invulnerable to our adversaries’ anti-submarine warfare forces. New and rapidly developing sonar technologies can locate and track the quietest submarines A growing array of highly accurate and destructive torpedoes and missiles, along with sonar-equipped mines, are now available to attack our submarines throughout the oceans of the world.
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Chapter 20:In conversations about modern warfare tactics and weaponry, sea mines get lost in all the talk about satellite surveillance, stealth aircraft and high-tech artillery. But those in the business of sea mine countermeasures warn that sea mines are more dangerous than ever and could be a key warfare component for countries and terrorist groups in future conflicts.
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Chapter 21: Today two-thirds of the U.S. fleet is made up of Large Surface Combatants, monolithic and multi-mission platforms (e.g., destroyers and carriers) designed to perform many missions at once in self-contained kill chains existing within single hulls, which are expensive to man and maintain. The likely future alternative is a transition to unmanned systems capable of taking the place of manned platforms in some situations. Two unmanned systems could take the place of one destroyer and one frigate at a substantially lower cost.
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Chapter 22: The USS Zumwalt was going to be the U.S.’s 21st-century, cruiser-sized, super destroyer that would allow us to dominate the world’s oceans and littorals for the next 50 years. The Navy said it would be able to supply the Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) capability that it has been promising the Marines since it retired the last of the modernized Iowa-class battleships in 1992.
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Chapter 23: U.S. Super Carriers are by far the biggest and most expensive warships ever built. Towering 15 stories above the waterline and displacing more than 100,000 tons, they are nearly one third larger than the enormous battleships built by Japan and the U.S. in World War II. At a cost of over $14 billion, not including the air wing, the USS Gerald Ford is nearly twice as expensive as the Nimitz-class carriers in dollar figures adjusted for inflation.
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Chapter 24: China is rapidly building up its naval capabilities and is bent on achieving parity, if not superiority, to ours in the Pacific theater. China’s leadership under Xi is placing emphasis on maritime interests and operations to sustain them. Beijing has declared that the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned and more emphasis must be placed on managing the seas and oceans. This building emphasis on sea power will mean vastly improved training and proficiency of PLAN crews. Allowing the proficiency of U.S. Naval crews to stagnate and diminish at a time when the naval personnel of our major foreign adversary are rapidly improving could be disastrous.
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Chapter 25:To responsibly grow and dynamically operate the fleet, we must effectively maintain it, in peacetime and in conflict. As we have learned over the past decade, it is cheaper to maintain readiness than to buy it back. Our toughest challenge is reversing the trend of delivering only 40 percent of our ships from maintenance on time. We must further develop and implement better productivity metrics, identifying key levers to deliver all depot availabilities on time.
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Chapter 26: With the costs of building a Ford class aircraft carrier and furnishing it with a CVW and a highly trained crew of 5,200 approaching if not exceeding $29 billion, there are serious questions about whether the country can afford 11 of these enormous fighting machines. Those questions assume even greater urgency when no answers to are whether carrier planes now available or expected to be available within the next decade will be capable of reaching likely targets. So while carriers will continue to be objects of national pride and prestige, there should be serious and continuing reviews as to whether this major portion of the Navy budget might be more advantageously spent on different, smaller and probably submersible or unmanned weapons platforms.
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Chapter 27: We need a Navy that is ready to win across the full range of military operations in competition, crisis, and contingency by persistently operating with agility and flexibility in an all-domain battles space. Our Navy must be the best when the national needs it the most. On a daily basis, our objective is to have our fleet manned, trained, equipped and integrated into the Joint Force. We must be ready to meet requirements directed by the Secretary of Defense. Our fleet must be a potent, formidable force that competes around the world every day, deterring those who would challenge us while reassuring our allies and partners.
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Chapter 28: The prior Administration did not raise the alarm to a situation that has been building up over many years. Russia and China saw a power vacuum in the Arctic and moved in, according to John Buche, retired State Department official. Russia, with its vast northern reaches, dominates the Arctic, and U.S. officials complain of Moscow’s aggressive behavior there: refitting submarines, boarding ships, reopening bases and claiming exclusive rights to certain waterways. Russia’s current development of three new nuclear-powered icebreakers to add to its already large fleet is further deepening concerns that the U.S. lacks the conviction to push back. These concerns are heightened by the fact that while Russia has some 40 icebreakers and China recently commissioned the lead vessel of a new class of icebreakers, Type 272 Hai-Bin, into its Northern Fleet.
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Chapter 29: By successive choices of post–Cold War Administrations and Congresses, the United States does not have in place a comprehensive set of missile defense systems that would be capable of defending the homeland and allies from robust ballistic missile threats. U.S. efforts have focused on a limited architecture protecting the homeland and on deploying and advancing regional missile defense systems. The pace of the development of missile threats, both qualitative and quantitative, outpaces the speed of missile defense research, development, and deployment. To make matters worse, the United States has not invested sufficiently in future ballistic missile defense technologies, has canceled future missile defense programs like the Airborne Laser and the Multiple Kill Vehicle, and has never invested in space-based interceptors that would make U.S. defenses more robust and comprehensive.
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Chapter 30: Too many nations of the world have substituted the U.S. for their own police forces. Europe has ample funds to provide for the common defense. The EU GDP is $19.9 trillion, compared to the U.S. with $19.4 trillion. A bigger question is does Europe have the motivation to defend itself from an attack by Russia? Leaders of EU member nations believe that no major conflict will ever embroil the European continent in a war again. For seven decades, NATO has preserved peace and stability in Europe and been a consistent and significant force multiplier for the United States, both politically and militarily. We must remain steadfast in our alliances and partnerships, which remain indispensable in any future fight. Operating and exercising together, we must build on existing intelligence and partnerships with allied nations to broaden and strengthen global maritime awareness and access.
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