Wednesday, 10 December 2014

August - December 2014: Published Elsewhere

Well it's been a productive couple of months... carrying on those journal articles I mentioned last time... and still trying to turn my thesis into books. However, even with all that research/writing, and some teaching, I've still been doing other projects and here are what's been published, so far...please go to the sites to read them in full, but where possible I have included some of the beginning of them to give a flavour...

European Geostrategy

Europe and the future of cruisers, 08/10/2014,

Definition of a Cruiser:

Oxford DictionaryA relatively fast warship larger than a destroyer and less heavily armed than a battleship.
1992 Washington Naval Treaty – a warship of up to 10,000 tons displacement carrying guns no larger than 8 inches in caliber.
Ticonderoga Class CruiserThese two definitions of Cruisers are both illuminating, mainly because they are so wide and encompassing; traditionally a Cruiser had not been a class of ship, but a designation for ships which were below the Rate system of fleet ships. They were used for peacetime and wartime commerce protection, fleet scouting, inshore work, commerce raiding and (for want of a better phrase) ‘showing the flag’ or ‘Gunboat Diplomacy’. This meant in practice that the term ‘Cruisers’ referred to Frigates, Sloops, Brigs and all the other small ships. Cruisers were in reality first defined by the naval treaties of the 1920s; but with the growth of modern warships these no longer have any real meaning. For example, the Zumwalt class Destroyers that the United States Navy (USN) laid the keels down for in 2010 displace 14,798tons – well over the 1922 limit for Cruisers. However, despite this watering down the titles, Cruiser, Destroyer and Frigate still seem to have influence; hence the current debate taking place in America...

The US pivot: how far do European navies want to reach?, 28/09/2014,

Royal Navy Tide Class TankerDuring World War Two the United States Navy (USN) and the Royal Navy (RN) developed an amazing ability, it was called ‘Replenishment at Sea’ (RAS). Just as the name suggests, it allowed fleets to operate at sea unrestricted by using a combination of Auxiliary Tankers and Solid Stores (or Fleet Replenishment Ships) to refuel, restock food or rearm (although this is something which the missile age has reduced to a rarity). This is what enables fleets to be rapidly redeployed from one corner of the world to the other, to operate on the opposite side of the world from home and to conduct missions independent of Local Land-Based Support. It is therefore a critical mission, but uninterested observers could be excused for thinking that the ships that are used for it are far from critical, as they often do not receive the attention they warrant...

Europe and ship-to-shore manoeuvres, 28/10/2014,

US NavyAmphibious operations are a growing part of modern strategy, and the concept of sea-basing has added a further dimension to what was already a high value capability. The appreciation of the utility of amphibious warfare is most visibly demonstrated on a global scale by the amount of nations which are investing in it: some nations, such as Australia and Russia are seeking to enhance existing capabilities, whilst others like India are seeking to create the capability. The reasons for this acquisition are varied, as some nations are seeking strategic depth, whereas others are looking for an independent influence capability that is completely organic to them, and some are of course simply reacting to a change in threat, or national circumstance...


Protecting the Exclusive Economic Zones – Part I, 18/11/2014,


Maritime security is at its heart an exercise of risk reduction, action deterrence and event response – no nation ever has enough resources allocated to enable its forces to be everywhere they need to be all the time. So in reality defence and security has become a bit of a mirage; aiming to look more substantial and solid that it actually is. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the circumstance of maritime security, and the protection of a nations Exclusive Economic Zones, or EEZ. An EEZ is the area of sea/sea bed that a nation administers, for want of a better phrase ‘owns’, and therefore can control/monetize the extraction of resources (such as Fish, Gas, Gold or Manganese) from, and which are becoming increasingly important to national economies – in fact their societies as a whole. However, a nation cannot control or monetize anything if it doesn’t actually have control of it, and just as a city cannot be policed from the secured, nor a battlefield secured just from air[i], neither can an EEZ. Due to this, a specific type of vessel has not so much appeared (as navies have always fulfilled the role with other vessels) as evolved as the areas required to be patrolled have expanded. Although instead of reviving one of the old names, Brig, Sloop or Swan, as was done with ‘Frigate’ in WWII, a name based upon the role the vessel carries out has been generated; OPV...

Protecting the Exclusive Economic Zone – Part II, 19/11/2014,

Geographical and Oceanographical Factors

When designing OPVs the core question a nation will need to ask itself is how big in terms of area, where the EEZ is (i.e. Northern waters, or Equatorial waters), how far is it that area from the nation’s bases and how much is the EEZ worth.  Vessels which are required to operate in stormy or icy waters (i.e. those operated by Denmark) will need to be as structurally strong and survivable as possible, with a high freeboard to help with large waves, as well as having as much of their equipment internalised as can be, and all equipment that can’t be internalised made easy to clear of ice. In contrast vessels which are to operate in warmer areas (i.e. to an extent France) will need enhanced cooling systems, not only to keep the personnel at a workable temperature, but also the computers and machines. A vessel which could find itself in both situations equally (i.e. those operated by Australia or Britain), will of course need both attributes; it is very difficult to retrofit sufficient cooling into a small ship built to be strong, equally it is very difficult to strength a ship that is not built to be strong. Simply put, a lot of thought needs to be placed at the very beginning of the conception and design process with OPVs as to what is needed, what is wanted and what is best to make sure: because there is not the space available to do much rectifying at a later date...

Sea Control 62: 21st Century Fleet Design, Grand Vision or Ruthless Pragmatism: 08/12/2014,

An academic (Dr. Alexander Clarke), an operator (Cdr Paul Fisher, RN (ret)) and a builder (Douglas Clarke) discuss 21st Century Fleet Design and whether it should be driven by a ruthless pragmatism or a more grand design. Intelligent and all very British, they also mention Germany, The War, and railways. Well worth an hour of your commute this week!

Falkland's podcast series

Sea Control 48 (East Atlantic) – Falkland’s Series Introduction, 18/08/2014,

Alex Clarke of Phoenix Think Tank discusses his upcoming Sea Control Falklands series with associate editor Chris Stockdale.

Sea Control 51 (East Atlantic) – Falkands War and 45 Commando, 08/09/2014,

Alex Clarke interviews Ian Gardiner about the Falklands War and 45 Commando Royal Marines. This is part of the ongoing Sea Control East-Atlantic series on the Falklands War.

Sea Control 55 (East Atlantic) – Falklands Series 2: The Parachute Regiment, 06/10/2014,

The Falklands Series continues with Alex Clarke’s panel with  of the Phoenix Think Tank continues the Falklands series with a small panel on the British Army’s involvement in the war. He is joined by:
1. Retired Lieutenant-General Sir Hew William Royston Pike KCB DSO MBE, who was Commanding Officer of 3PARA during the Falklands War. Author of “From the Front Lines.
2.Maj. Philip Neame, whose exploits are mentioned in “Above All Courage” by Max Arthur.


I have been lucky enough to take part in the 'Big Question' program, and been successful a couple of times with articles...

Telegraph, What will Chuck Hagel's resignation mean for US defence policy?, 25/11/2014,

How has Chuck Hagel performed as Defence Secretary?
Chuck Hagel has had the dubious honour of being a defence secretary at one of the worst times to be one, although historically the post, whichever nation it is in, has always been a problematic one.
During his 20 months, Mr Hagel has been faced by issues such as 'Gays in the Military' and 'Women on the Frontline'. The ongoing saga that is the F35 program, an aircraft which represents either the solution to everything, or a compromise too far depending upon the viewer's perspective; and the Littoral Combat ship which has, during Mr Hagel's tenure, due to the realisation of its limitations now spawned a frigate program. These are just two, of the many, multi-billion dollar programs that are on-going...

Telegraph, Will Britain's new base in Bahrain make any difference?, 08/12/2014,

In 1968, in the depths of the Cold War and a financial crisis, Britain announced it was withdrawing from the world.
No longer would the Union Jack be a presence in Far East, the Middle East or the Indian Ocean – it would concentrate on Europe, the Atlantic and the Central Front.
For a nation that had fought, and won, two World Wars, a nation which had then only very recently administered the largest empire the world has ever seen, such a voluntary surrender of influence was unprecedented.
The decision was perhaps a symptom of era, of a time Britain was lost as it searched inside itself trying to figure out what it would become.
Alternatively, it was a short sighted measure which governments quickly minimised, if not reversed. For example, in the case of ‘East of Suez’, the government of Heath (that succeeded Wilson), signed the Five Power Defence Arrangement with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore... 

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