China's Anti-Piracy Mission: Turning Blue-Water Theory into Practice and the Implications for the U.S. Navy
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Chinas Peoples Liberation Army Navy Gulf of Aden anti-piracy mission is now well into its second year and fifth rotation of warships. The anti-piracy mission has provided the PLAN an opportunity to exercise a range of blue-water navy competencies in a relatively benign environment. China is quickly turning blue-water navy theory into practice in the Gulf of Aden. As the PLAN incorporates the experience it builds in the Horn of Africa, the nature of its operations will change, with the potential for a significant impact on the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Navy has conceptualized and planned toward a China whose navy is capable of a strong defense of the littorals. The PLAN is rapidly building a blue-water naval capability due to its commitment to the anti-piracy operation. A PLAN capability to extend and sustain operations at greater distances will challenge the U.S. Navy in the following areas 1 planning for an adversary capable of operating in multiple theaters 2 response time to Western Pacific contingencies 3 maritime domain awareness and 4 protection of sea lines of communication. The U.S. Navy needs to move quickly to recognize that the PLAN will have a capacity to sail well beyond their own shores and conduct operations. Now is the time for the U.S. Navy to take action to ensure success across the range of peacetime and conflict scenarios.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics