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US military's vulnerabilities vs. China, Russia

GR66

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So we just agree on the nine-dash line, and allow the PRC to run roughshod by relying on "self defined historical' interpretations.

Can the UK then reclaim most of the continent of North America, the Spanish a good chunk of South America, and the Dutch the West Indies, based on real life historical activities?

Asking for a friend.

I think you're being a little obtuse. I specifically differentiated between the Taiwan situation and the rest of the contested areas surrounding China.

The government of the Republic of China themselves in their constitution consider the island of Taiwan as part of China. Almost the entire world subscribes to the One China policy and doesn't recognize the Republic of China as a sovereign state. Curious, have you ever heard the United States or any other nation declare publicly and definitively that they will defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion? They are purposefully ambiguous about it. The reason is that it may not be in their national interest to go to war with China to defend Taiwan. The circumstances of any such invasion (e.g. the ROC unilaterally declaring independence) may impact the decisions that the US makes at the time.

How about Hong Kong? It is also Chinese territory but historically a separate political entity with freedoms and rights similar to the West. It's been effectively occupied by the communists. Hong Kong democracy is no more. When do we start launching our missiles?

As for the rest of the territories I never said we should step back and let China unilaterally seize the territory out to the Nine Dash Line. I only suggested that should China seize these islands that due to their tiny size it may make more strategic sense to simply bombard them and deny the Chinese the ability to hold them rather than sending in the USMC to occupy them where they would be fairly easy targets themselves.

Kirkhill's containment strategy above makes more sense to me but really only works if Chinese seizure of the Nine Dash Line is by military force and leads to open war with China. In my opinion the more difficult (and likely) scenario is that China works on taking defacto control of these territories through means other than open warfare. That's why I raised the question as to whether the US will be the first to open fire in a war with China by sinking civilian fishing ships, or missile attacks on construction contractors? Coming up with an effective "multi domain" response to this threat is I think ultimately more important and will have more of an impact on the situation in the South China Sea than whether the USMC has anti-ship missiles or howitzers in its artillery units.
 

Kirkhill

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And look what Google turned up....



Funny when you look at the Littoral Regiment Construct. It has three major units. A Combat Team. An Anti-Aircraft Battalion. A Logistics Battalion.

The emphasis has been on the Anti-Ship mission. But the Anti-Ship mission is managed by an Infantry Combat Team, a Battalion, with an attached and subordinate NSM artillery battery.

The senior artillery position actually will be going to the CO of the Anti-Air Battalion. So... what is the primary mission of this regiment?

Significantly for the emerging Marine vision to support the Navy at sea from agile land-based batteries, the new plan also calls for standing up 14 new precision strike batteries dubbed NMESIS (Navy-Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System). By 2030, the Marines call for 252 launchers stacked with hundreds of Naval Strike Missiles, a powerful threat to hold enemy ships out of the 115 mile range of the missile. The Corps’ launchers consist of an unmanned JLTV chassis with a HIMARS-like launcher firing the precision missile.

The existing plan calls for three Littoral Regiments each with one NMESIS battery of 18 ROGUE launch vehicles. (185 km range)

They also seem to suggest a battery or two of Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (aka Maritime Strike Missile) (> 1000 miles range)



But by 2030 the prospect is of 14 NMESIS batteries with 252 launchers. Does that suggest 14 Littoral Regiments? With 14 AD Battalions? It seems to me that the AD deployment could be at least as significant as the Anti-Ship deployment.


 
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Kirkhill

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Kirkhill's containment strategy above makes more sense to me but really only works if Chinese seizure of the Nine Dash Line is by military force and leads to open war with China. In my opinion the more difficult (and likely) scenario is that China works on taking defacto control of these territories through means other than open warfare. That's why I raised the question as to whether the US will be the first to open fire in a war with China by sinking civilian fishing ships, or missile attacks on construction contractors? Coming up with an effective "multi domain" response to this threat is I think ultimately more important and will have more of an impact on the situation in the South China Sea than whether the USMC has anti-ship missiles or howitzers in its artillery units.

China is already "defending" the Nine Dash Line with military force - manufactured islands, armed fishermen, armed coast guards, naval patrols, air incursions. They are daring their neighbours and their neighbours allies to take a swing at them. Up to now we have be doing the gentlemanly thing and ignoring this mess.

But, for whatever reason, the new US administration seems to have decided to continue to push against Beijing both diplomatically (strong words in Alaska, continued criticism of WHO and China, first US diplomat in Taiwan in 40 odd years, NASA insulting China by referring to Taiwan as a country in a handout) and militarily with additional weapons.


I think the US can make the case to establish these Littoral Regiments.

They are infantry poor and not designed to hold ground - a major concern if you fear an imperialist take over.
They have a small foot print.
They make a good trip wire to discourage the Chinese from taking action against its neighbours knowing that dead marines make for bad publicity.
The additional coastal defences and anti-air defences would be very useful to the locals and at the same time they would restrict China's freedom of action.

Leave it up to China to decide if the appropriate counter to a country voluntarily strengthening its defences by inviting a friend to the party is to fire the first shot.
 

Weinie

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I think you're being a little obtuse. I specifically differentiated between the Taiwan situation and the rest of the contested areas surrounding China.

The government of the Republic of China themselves in their constitution consider the island of Taiwan as part of China. Almost the entire world subscribes to the One China policy and doesn't recognize the Republic of China as a sovereign state. Curious, have you ever heard the United States or any other nation declare publicly and definitively that they will defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion? They are purposefully ambiguous about it. The reason is that it may not be in their national interest to go to war with China to defend Taiwan. The circumstances of any such invasion (e.g. the ROC unilaterally declaring independence) may impact the decisions that the US makes at the time.

How about Hong Kong? It is also Chinese territory but historically a separate political entity with freedoms and rights similar to the West. It's been effectively occupied by the communists. Hong Kong democracy is no more. When do we start launching our missiles?

As for the rest of the territories I never said we should step back and let China unilaterally seize the territory out to the Nine Dash Line. I only suggested that should China seize these islands that due to their tiny size it may make more strategic sense to simply bombard them and deny the Chinese the ability to hold them rather than sending in the USMC to occupy them where they would be fairly easy targets themselves.

Kirkhill's containment strategy above makes more sense to me but really only works if Chinese seizure of the Nine Dash Line is by military force and leads to open war with China. In my opinion the more difficult (and likely) scenario is that China works on taking defacto control of these territories through means other than open warfare. That's why I raised the question as to whether the US will be the first to open fire in a war with China by sinking civilian fishing ships, or missile attacks on construction contractors? Coming up with an effective "multi domain" response to this threat is I think ultimately more important and will have more of an impact on the situation in the South China Sea than whether the USMC has anti-ship missiles or howitzers in its artillery units.
And I think you are being willfully naive. "There will be peace in our time."

There has been some previous mis-adventures along the lines of this thread: the German military annexation in Austria in 1938, followed by the Sudetenland territory in Czechoslovakia. This was "managed" via the Munich Agreement. In return Hitler gave his word that Germany would make no further territorial claims in Europe. A promise that was broken soon after; leading to the Second World War.
 
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Kirkhill

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Putting the pieces of the 2030 puzzle together (I think)

100x 11m sentinels Long Range Unmanned Surface Vessels capped with Loitering "Kamikaze" Drones

252x JLTV/NSM ROGUE systems - 185 km radius
36x HIMARS/Precision Strike Missile systems - 499 km radius
12x GLMSM/Tomahawk - >1700 km radius

30x Light Amphibious Warships - Austal contending
15x Joint High Speed Vessels - Austal Catamaran
17x Littoral Combat Ships - Austal Trimaran
8x Littoral Combat Ships - Lockheed Monohull

In addition there is the separate sale to Taiwan of

HIMARS/Harpoon SLAM-ER with 6 targeting pods - total 1.8 BUSD - Oct 21
100x Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems by Boeing - up to 2.37 BUSD - Oct 26
4x Aerial Drones - 0.6 BUSD - Nov 3
1x Field Information Communication System - 0.28 BUSD - Dec 7.

The Taiwan sale may give some sense of the USMC systems with the Harpoon being swapped for the NSM.

Add in the prospect of either the Army adding the SM3 / SM6 to its inventory or additional Aegis Ashore systems being deployed (2 currently in Japan)

 
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medic5

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Agreed. Station detachments of Marines with anti-air and anti-surface to deny superiority to the Chinese. One thing to note is the Marine Corps is proportionally larger today in comparison to the Army than it was during WW2. That might make the "follow up" of the Army unnecessary on smaller islands.

Regardless if Taiwan is a country or not or whatever, the US cannot let China steamroll them. It would damage US power projection immensely and would cripple their influence in the area.
 

GR66

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And I think you are being willfully naive. "There will be peace in our time."

There has been some previous mis-adventures along the lines of this thread: the German military annexation in Austria in 1938, followed by the Sudetenland territory in Czechoslovakia. This was "managed" via the Munich Agreement. In return Hitler gave his word that Germany would make no further territorial claims in Europe. A promise that was broken soon after; leading to the Second World War.
Ah yes....Hitler and Chamberlain. :rolleyes:

I never claimed that China was not expansionist and that we shouldn't oppose them. What I did question is whether the idea of using light USMC forces to occupy tiny specs of land in the Spratly's, Paracels and Senkakus made sense and if it would be better to simply deny their use to the Chinese in war since they are so highly exposed to attack.

I also stated that if the Chinese went beyond the Nine Dash line to the larger islands of Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc. that heavier forces might be more suitable.

Furthermore I suggested that rather than open military invasion of the territories in the Nine Dash line area they might use hybrid methods similar to Crimea, Donbass, and the already fortified Atolls the Chinese have created. None of those elicited a military response from the West so I simply suggested that we improve our multi domain responses to these kinds of actions if we're not going to respond militarily.

Lastly I did note that in my opinion Taiwan is a special case and that in my opinion it is possible that because of the unique status of the ROC (in which they themselves as a government consider themselves in integral part of China) that depending on the circumstances leading up to a PRC invasion of the island there is no firm guarantee that the US will respond with direct military intervention.

But yes...clearly that makes me a willfully naive appeaser of China.
 

Kirkhill

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Agreed. Station detachments of Marines with anti-air and anti-surface to deny superiority to the Chinese. One thing to note is the Marine Corps is proportionally larger today in comparison to the Army than it was during WW2. That might make the "follow up" of the Army unnecessary on smaller islands.

Regardless if Taiwan is a country or not or whatever, the US cannot let China steamroll them. It would damage US power projection immensely and would cripple their influence in the area.


Apparently the USMC has form on this. Their WW2 Defense Battalions.

Marine Defense Battalions were United States Marine Corps battalions charged with coastal and air defense of advanced naval bases during World War II. They maintained large anti-ship guns, anti-aircraft guns, searchlights, and small arms to repel landing forces.


An Artillery Combat Team with an infantry security force?


A 1939 table of organization and equipment (TOE) included:[3]

  • HQ Company
  • Service battery
  • Coast Defense Group
  • Antiaircraft Group
    • Four AAA gun batteries, each with four mobile 3-inch M3 guns
    • Two AAA machine gun companies, each with 24 Browning M2 .50-caliber machine guns on AA mounts
    • Two beach protection machine gun companies, each with 24 Browning M1917A1 water-cooled .30-caliber machine guns
It is likely that the 5"/51 caliber guns were replaced by the 155 mm Long Tom and the 3-inch guns were replaced by the 90 mm Gun M1/M2/M3 by early 1943.
 

Kirkhill

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Three USMC Littoral Regiments, armed with NSMs (185 km) PrSMs (>499 km) and GLMSMs (>1700 km) focused on Okinawa, Batan and Brunei.

Okinawa and Batan protect the flanks of Taiwan. Japan and Australia protect the flanks of the USMC.

US Area Denial - The South China and Yellow Seas become

  • a contested zone
  • a no-mans land
  • a space for US subs and aircraft to operate
  • a space for the US to base Aegis Ashore and anti-ICBM/MRBM defences.
  • a commercial blockade


USMC Littoral.jpg
 

FJAG

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Three USMC Littoral Regiments, armed with NSMs (185 km) PrSMs (>499 km) and GLMSMs (>1700 km) focused on Okinawa, Batan and Brunei.

Okinawa and Batan protect the flanks of Taiwan. Japan and Australia protect the flanks of the USMC.
...

An interesting graphic. Add to that that the US Army has an artillery brigade in Korea, the 210th Fd with two MLRS battalions; a Patriot and THAAD equipped AD Brigade, the 35th AD and a Military Intelligence Brigade, the 501st MI (with five MI bns) as well as other elements and the cordon moves further north particulalry if some of these elements are converted to MDTFs with the appropriate developing weapon systems.

Incidentally, if you ever wish to see an interesting graphic, click on VesselFinder any day of the week and zoom onto the South China Sea to see what the marine traffic in this region looks like.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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I found this 2014 article which seems to describe the current sea-change in missileering. It argues against long-range silver bullets engineered to take down incoming missiles. It calls for taking down launch platforms at long range and filling ships magazines with long range SSMs and lots and lots of very short range SAMs. It also recommends lightening warheads to add fuel for range arguing that modern ships are more electronically fragile than their Cold War vacuum tube predecessors.

Seems in keeping with current developments.



Taking a cue from the USMC armament took another look at the PLA(N). By my count it has 241 hulls capable of launching the Harpoon/NSM analog C-803 out to 230 km. It has 42 hulls capable of launching they YJ-18 out to 540 km. It has, or is building, 11 hulls capable of launching a Tomahawk analog, the YJ-18.

All of these are, compared to missiles, slow moving targets and they are operating in contained waters with no place to hide.

The USN/USMC are countering the 241 short range hulls with 252 remotely operated JLTV launchers on shore where they can mask and they have minimal "crew" exposure.

Likewise the 42 midrange hulls are matched with 36 HIMARS launchers and the 11 long range hulls are matched by 12 (my estimate) Tomahawk launchers.

My sense is that the USMC launchers are much less vulnerable than the PLA(N)s and likely to be more effective. And more likely to be available if the PLA(N) tries to launch its fleet of 60 some odd 15 knot Landing Ships (800 to 4800 tonnes). It has, or is building 11 "proper" amphibs but most of them are building.

I think Taiwan is safe for a while - assuming politics.




In reading up on the Japanese Aegis Ashore it seems the Japanese have actually cancelled them but may be inclined to re-instate. Although they seem to have switched to an offensive strike model targeting launchers rather than missiles. It further seems that the Japanese bureaucrats were late in discovering that it takes 8 Aegis warships to maintain the 24/7 coverage that 2 Aegis Ashore systems can when tied into the central, nuclear powered electrical grid. And the grid powered radars can reach out farther. The Japanese were planning on putting their shore units on hulls but discovered that it would still require all their existing Aegis hulls to maintain watch making them unavailable for their intended offensive roles.


 

Weinie

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I think you're being a little obtuse. I specifically differentiated between the Taiwan situation and the rest of the contested areas surrounding China.

The government of the Republic of China themselves in their constitution consider the island of Taiwan as part of China. Almost the entire world subscribes to the One China policy and doesn't recognize the Republic of China as a sovereign state. Curious, have you ever heard the United States or any other nation declare publicly and definitively that they will defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion? They are purposefully ambiguous about it. The reason is that it may not be in their national interest to go to war with China to defend Taiwan. The circumstances of any such invasion (e.g. the ROC unilaterally declaring independence) may impact the decisions that the US makes at the time.

How about Hong Kong? It is also Chinese territory but historically a separate political entity with freedoms and rights similar to the West. It's been effectively occupied by the communists. Hong Kong democracy is no more. When do we start launching our missiles?

As for the rest of the territories I never said we should step back and let China unilaterally seize the territory out to the Nine Dash Line. I only suggested that should China seize these islands that due to their tiny size it may make more strategic sense to simply bombard them and deny the Chinese the ability to hold them rather than sending in the USMC to occupy them where they would be fairly easy targets themselves.

Kirkhill's containment strategy above makes more sense to me but really only works if Chinese seizure of the Nine Dash Line is by military force and leads to open war with China. In my opinion the more difficult (and likely) scenario is that China works on taking defacto control of these territories through means other than open warfare. That's why I raised the question as to whether the US will be the first to open fire in a war with China by sinking civilian fishing ships, or missile attacks on construction contractors? Coming up with an effective "multi domain" response to this threat is I think ultimately more important and will have more of an impact on the situation in the South China Sea than whether the USMC has anti-ship missiles or howitzers in its artillery units.
Perhaps the first step in response to your question above.

U.S. issues guidelines to deepen relations with Taiwan
 

MarkOttawa

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More on the US Army’s global reach plans for long-range fires, note also Arctic (further links and graphics at original):

BREAKING New Army Long-Range Units Head To Germany
The Army will create two new units to coordinate long-range warfare in Eastern Europe: a Multi-Domain Task Force and a Theater Fires Command.

The Pentagon is reversing Trump’s planned withdrawals from Germany and instead beefing up the Army’s capability to wage long-range, high-tech warfare, the Army announced this morning. The long-awaited announcement comes as 40,000 Russian troops mass along the border with Ukraine.

The Trump Administration had planned to pull 12,000 troops out of Germany to punish Berlin for not meeting the NATO goal of spending 2 percent of its GDP on defense. In February, the Biden Administration promptly put that plan on hold. Now comes today’s announcement from US Army Europe & Africa (the HQs for the two continents were recently merged): Not only will the Army retain three sites in Germany it had been slated to pull out of, but it will add “approximately 500 Soldiers, 35 local national positions and 750 Family members to U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden.”

The 500 soldiers will man two new units. Both are new kinds of formations the Army is using to experiment with new tactics, technologies, and organizations for long-range, high-tech operations using missiles, artificial intelligence, and cyber/electronic warfare.

The Multi-Domain Task Force-Europe will be the Army’s second MDTF. The first one was created at Fort Lewis three years ago, built around an existing rocket artillery brigade but augmented extensively with high-tech assets. It has participated in numerous exercises in the Pacific and won accolades from Army leaders for its “game-changing” capabilities.

The Army has long promised to build a second MDTF in Europe and more recently said it would ultimately create five: two in the Pacific, one in Europe, one in the Arctic, and a fifth for “global response [emphasis added].”

“The Multi-Domain Task Force-Europe will be comprised of field artillery; composite air and missile defense; intelligence, cyberspace, electronic warfare and space; aviation and a brigade support element,” the release says. It’s likely that most of these forces are already in Europe, but the new personnel will likely fill out the MDTF headquarters and its highly specialized, highly technical Intelligence, Information, Cyber/Electronic Warfare & Space (I2CEWS) battalion.

While the MDTF is a combat unit, the other formation is a new kind of headquarters: the Army’s first Theater Fires Command. Why is this necessary? To coordinate long-range missile strikes over distances far exceeding traditional HQs’ capability to command-and-control.

Russia and China have already fielded arsenals of precision-guided missiles with ranges in the hundreds or even thousands of miles. Now the Army is racing to do the same, developing the 300-plus-mile PrSM, the 1,000-mile MRC, and the hypersonic LRHW, whose range is classified but is probably intercontinental. (PrSM will fire from existing HIMARS launchers, MRC and LRHW from specialized and larger ones). All these weapons will enter service, in prototype form, in 2023 and become part of the Multi-Domain Task Forces’ arsenal, while the Theater Fires Command will orchestrate the far-reaching strikes [emphasis added].

While some in the Air Force and friendly thinktanks argue that the Army’s long-range strike efforts needlessly duplicate what bombers already do better, senior joint officers have endorsed the Army efforts as a useful option. That Pentagon officials are letting the Army create its new Theater Fires Command is an implicit vote of confidence in the service’s plans for long-range warfare.
BREAKING New Army Long-Range Units Head To Germany

Mark
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daftandbarmy

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India clearly has an eye on China's 'Argie Bargie' approach too:

China’s South China Sea moves need strong pushback from international community​


The Chinese aggression warrants strong pushback from the international community. Therefore it is necessary for the international community including India to give a call to address the matter as per international law. The Chinese ambitions is not just limited to the SCS region but also the Himalayas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as evident last year when 20 Indian military personnel were killed in the Galwan valley.

China’s aggression in the SCS region has found a new ground, ..

Read more at:
China’s South China Sea moves need strong pushback from international community
 

MarkOttawa

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How to put the new thinking into practice:


Navy, Marines Push Plans To Transform How They Fight

Putting a variety of unmanned capabilities through their paces “in a Pacific warfighting scenario,” Rear Adm. Robert Gaucher, Pacific Fleet’s director of maritime headquarters, said in a statement, the exercise “will include maneuvering in contested space across all domains, targeting and fires, and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance.”

The Navy and Marine Corps are testing radically new ways of operating in the Pacific by sending experimental unmanned ships into an ambitious exercise next week. Underpinning that exercise is an ambitious new plan for island-hopping that demands a fast implementation timeline.

On Monday, the Navy’s 3rd Fleet kicks off its first Unmanned Integrated Battle Problem 21 off the coast of California; a Zumwalt destroyer will command and control a variety of unmanned ships and aircraft.

Putting a variety of unmanned capabilities through their paces, “in a Pacific warfighting scenario,” Rear Adm. Robert Gaucher, Pacific Fleet’s director of maritime headquarters, said in a statement, the exercise “will include maneuvering in contested space across all domains, targeting and fires, and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance [emphasis added].”..

The exercise presages the standup of the Navy’s first-of-its-kind operational command to test and develop concepts for its new generation of unmanned surface vessels in 2022, a major step in getting autonomous ships into the fleet. Breaking Defense first reported the existence of the new command last month.

The Marines are busy with their own experimentation, and released their Tentative Manual For Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations this week, which will serve as a guidepost for their efforts to build new ways for island-hopping across the Pacific.

The document was first obtained by Breaking Defense earlier this month [Historic Marine Plan to Reinvent The Corps EXCLUSIVE].

Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger has said he wants to see the first elements of EABO being put into practice by 2023, a quick turnaround “because that’s what he believes he owes the combatant commanders, the joint force commanders, in order to actually deter the pacing threat who’s constantly moving,” Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, the deputy commandant for combat development, told reporters this week. “He has given me no relief from that.”..

At its core, the 180-page document is intended to be the first step in an effort to create a series of small, agile units tasked with air defense, anti-ship and submarine warfare, and seizing, holding and resupplying small temporary bases as part of an island-hopping campaign in the Pacific in which units keep on the move, providing a more difficult target for enemy missile and aircraft [emphasis added].

On the equipment side, the assumptions signal a transformation in how the Marines outfit themselves, putting a range of new and developmental gear into the field quickly and at scale.

By 2030, the plan indicates that the Corps will have more than 100 Long Range Unmanned Surface Vessels in the fleet, performing surveillance and strike missions using small, armed, precision-guided drones capable of loitering over targets before crashing into them. It also calls for standing up new precision strike batteries armed with hundreds of Naval Strike Missiles, a powerful threat to hold enemy ships out of the 115 mile range of the missile.
Navy, Marines Push Plans To Transform How They Fight


Mark
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MarkOttawa

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How to put the new thinking into practice:

Navy, Marines Push Plans To Transform How They Fight

Putting a variety of unmanned capabilities through their paces “in a Pacific warfighting scenario,” Rear Adm. Robert Gaucher, Pacific Fleet’s director of maritime headquarters, said in a statement, the exercise “will include maneuvering in contested space across all domains, targeting and fires, and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance.”

The Navy and Marine Corps are testing radically new ways of operating in the Pacific by sending experimental unmanned ships into an ambitious exercise next week. Underpinning that exercise is an ambitious new plan for island-hopping that demands a fast implementation timeline.

On Monday, the Navy’s 3rd Fleet kicks off its first Unmanned Integrated Battle Problem 21 off the coast of California; a Zumwalt destroyer will command and control a variety of unmanned ships and aircraft.

Putting a variety of unmanned capabilities through their paces, “in a Pacific warfighting scenario,” Rear Adm. Robert Gaucher, Pacific Fleet’s director of maritime headquarters, said in a statement, the exercise “will include maneuvering in contested space across all domains, targeting and fires, and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance [emphasis added].”..

The exercise presages the standup of the Navy’s first-of-its-kind operational command to test and develop concepts for its new generation of unmanned surface vessels in 2022, a major step in getting autonomous ships into the fleet. Breaking Defense first reported the existence of the new command last month.

The Marines are busy with their own experimentation, and released their Tentative Manual For Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations this week, which will serve as a guidepost for their efforts to build new ways for island-hopping across the Pacific.

The document was first obtained by Breaking Defense earlier this month [Historic Marine Plan to Reinvent The Corps EXCLUSIVE].

Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger has said he wants to see the first elements of EABO being put into practice by 2023, a quick turnaround “because that’s what he believes he owes the combatant commanders, the joint force commanders, in order to actually deter the pacing threat who’s constantly moving,” Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, the deputy commandant for combat development, told reporters this week. “He has given me no relief from that.”..

At its core, the 180-page document is intended to be the first step in an effort to create a series of small, agile units tasked with air defense, anti-ship and submarine warfare, and seizing, holding and resupplying small temporary bases as part of an island-hopping campaign in the Pacific in which units keep on the move, providing a more difficult target for enemy missile and aircraft [emphasis added].

On the equipment side, the assumptions signal a transformation in how the Marines outfit themselves, putting a range of new and developmental gear into the field quickly and at scale.

By 2030, the plan indicates that the Corps will have more than 100 Long Range Unmanned Surface Vessels in the fleet, performing surveillance and strike missions using small, armed, precision-guided drones capable of loitering over targets before crashing into them. It also calls for standing up new precision strike batteries armed with hundreds of Naval Strike Missiles, a powerful threat to hold enemy ships out of the 115 mile range of the missile.
Navy, Marines Push Plans To Transform How They Fight


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YZT580

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Perhaps the first step in response to your question above.

U.S. issues guidelines to deepen relations with Taiwan
On the other hand, Taiwan believes that they are the official government of China. They were driven off the mainland by the communists and fought to protect themselves from invasion for years but I don't believe they ever officially surrendered their claims of being the legitimate government. So there is one China, yes, but the government is on Taiwan. We have Pierre to thank, in part, for the current configuration.
 

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Maybe the US needs it's own 'forecasting tournament':

"Yet America’s experience with forecasting is a cautionary tale. Despite the attention attracted by ace, American tournaments and prediction markets have struggled for money and mainstream acceptance. There are no active forecasting tournaments in American intelligence agencies today, though some remain in the Pentagon and elsewhere."



How spooks are turning to superforecasting in the Cosmic Bazaar​

The gamification of intelligence may provide answers to pressing global questions

Every morning for the past year, a group of British civil servants, diplomats, police officers and spies have woken up, logged onto a slick website and offered their best guess as to whether China will invade Taiwan by a particular date. Or whether Arctic sea ice will retrench by a certain amount. Or how far covid-19 infection rates will fall. These imponderables are part of Cosmic Bazaar, a forecasting tournament created by the British government to improve its intelligence analysis.

Since the website was launched in April 2020, more than 10,000 forecasts have been made by 1,300 forecasters, from 41 government departments and several allied countries. The site has around 200 regular forecasters, who must use only publicly available information to tackle the 30-40 questions that are live at any time. Cosmic Bazaar represents the gamification of intelligence. Users are ranked by a single, brutally simple measure: the accuracy of their predictions.

Forecasting tournaments like Cosmic Bazaar draw on a handful of basic ideas. One of them, as seen in this case, is the “wisdom of crowds”, a concept first illustrated by Francis Galton, a statistician, in 1907. Galton observed that in a contest to estimate the weight of an ox at a county fair, the median guess of nearly 800 people was accurate within 1% of the true figure.

Crowdsourcing, as this idea is now called, has been augmented by more recent research into whether and how people make good judgments. Experiments by Philip Tetlock of the University of Pennsylvania, and others, show that experts’ predictions are often no better than chance. Yet some people, dubbed “superforecasters”, often do make accurate predictions, largely because of the way they form judgments—such as having a commitment to revising predictions in light of new data, and being aware of typical human biases. Dr Tetlock’s ideas received publicity last year when Dominic Cummings, then an adviser to Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, endorsed his book and hired a controversial superforecaster to work at Mr Johnson’s office in Downing Street.

America’s sprawling intelligence establishment was the first to apply these principles. Over the past decade, it has carried out more than a dozen forecasting projects, including prediction markets, in which people can bet money or points on the outcome, and prediction polls, like Cosmic Bazaar. The most prominent tournament was the Aggregative Contingent Estimation (ace) programme, run from 2010 to 2015 by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (iarpa), a blue-sky research body for American spooks. A curated team of superforecasters from the Good Judgment Project, a scheme led by Dr Tetlock, were found to be at least one-third more accurate than other research teams.

ace and similar programmes inspired Britain to create Cosmic Bazaar. One of its purposes is to identify a group of persistently successful forecasters who could help answer difficult questions in a crisis. The top 20 or so competitors are “incredibly accurate”, says Charlie Edwards, who trains British intelligence analysts. They are obsessed with their Brier scores, a measure of accuracy over time, and, in common with findings from the Good Judgment Project, share sources of data and news enthusiastically. The only rewards are virtual badges and branded notebooks. But for analysts accustomed to working with secret intelligence, where success remains in the shadows, a high score here—and the merchandise to prove it—is a “badge of honour”, says Mr Edwards.

The game’s afoot​

Yet the point is not just to pick star performers. It is also to encourage “cognitive diversity” by ensuring that intelligence draws on talent beyond Britain’s smallish pool of full-time analysts. Cosmic Bazaar’s anonymity produces an egalitarian backdrop: a junior data scientist can contest the predictions of a veteran ambassador, and the reasoning behind them, without the shadow of rank. The site encourages debate and discussion. Users can “upvote” perceptive comments by others, and questions are supplemented with seminars by experts. Moreover, since the system is unclassified (unlike most of its American-government counterparts), officials can log in from home, or abroad.

The programme is also intended to identify blind spots in analysis. Officials say that so much government attention is spent on covid-19 that slower-burning or more distant matters tend to be missed. In October, for instance, Cosmic Bazaar asked users a question on Mozambique, responses to which suggested that the risk of jihadist activity was greater than thought (as would later prove true), prompting others to look more closely at the matter.

At the moment, Cosmic Bazaar is the largest forecasting tournament in Europe. But others are getting interested. Britain hopes to draw European allies into the contest. Adam Siegel, a co-founder of Cultivate Labs, the firm which wrote the software for Cosmic Bazaar, says that the Czech Republic is using his company’s platform for public tournaments involving several government agencies, and that another European government has run a classified version. Regina Joseph of Sibylink, a consultancy, has run tournaments for the Dutch government and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Yet America’s experience with forecasting is a cautionary tale. Despite the attention attracted by ace, American tournaments and prediction markets have struggled for money and mainstream acceptance. There are no active forecasting tournaments in American intelligence agencies today, though some remain in the Pentagon and elsewhere.

One reason for this, suggests “Keeping Score: A New Approach to Geopolitical Forecasting”, a recent paper by Perry World House, a research group at the University of Pennsylvania, is that such platforms threaten to expose poor analysts and up-end existing hierarchies. “Established employees”, the paper’s authors write, “may view the potential disruption wrought by a mechanism that outperforms many traditional analysts with a sense of impending doom, as a factory worker might view a new assembly robot.”

However, the larger issue may simply be that the feature which makes precise forecasting possible also limits its appeal. A basic requirement is that questions be falsifiable, so that it is unequivocal, after the fact, who got it right and who wrong. This means there is no room for what psychologists have called “clairvoyance”, or the post hoc claim that a vague prediction came true. Yet policymakers are often drawn to bigger and vaguer questions that resist such score-keeping, such as: “what does Russia want?” or “will China become more aggressive?” Dr Tetlock calls this the “rigour-relevance trade-off”.

One way to approach this problem, says Steven Rieber, who oversees forecasting at iarpa, is to draw on an advanced statistical technique known as Bayesian networking, which uses conditional probabilities. Forecasters can be asked to judge, for example, the probability that China would seize an island in the South China Sea by a particular date if it were becoming more aggressive—and also the probability of it doing so even if it were not. A big and elusive question can thus be broken down into several smaller and more tractable ones, known as “Bayesian question clusters”. Foretell, a project run by the Centre for Security and Emerging Technology (cset) at Georgetown University, which also uses the Cultivate platform, employs this methodology to predict the course of technological competition between America and China. It is not yet clear whether that approach will be successful.

For now, forecasters are enjoying a moment in the sun. In Britain, Cosmic Bazaar’s insights are trickling into policy teams that work on covid-19 and counter-terrorism. In America, President Joe Biden, one day after his inauguration, announced his intention to establish a National Centre for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics. In March the administration hired Jason Matheny, a former chief of iarpa and the founder of cset, as an adviser on technology and national security.

The long-term viability of forecasting will depend, though, not just on accuracy, but also explainability. “It's not enough to learn that there’s a 70% chance of war breaking out between these two countries in the next year, and not the 30% you thought,” says Dr Rieber. “You need to understand what leads to that higher probability judgment.” An assessment paired with a colourful psychological profile of Xi Jinping is more likely to resonate with a prime minister or president than a percentage figure. “You have to build up a trust relationship with these decision-makers,” says Mr Siegel. “You need to put a story together alongside the numbers.” ■

A version of this article was published online on April 14th, 2021.

How spooks are turning to superforecasting in the Cosmic Bazaar
 

Blackadder1916

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. . . So there is one China, yes, but the government is on Taiwan. We have Pierre to thank, in part, for the current configuration.

Ah yes, it must have been the recognition by Canada in 1970 that convinced the rest of the world. Or were we 20 years late in accepting reality?

7 January 1950: Unconditional recognition of Mao Zedong’s regime as the legitimate government of all China sees the withdrawal of support from Nationalists

(of course there's more to the story)
 
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