Global SITREP for Wednesday, 14 February 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Wednesday, 14 February 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Wednesday, 14 February 2024.

  1. CHINESE CONSUL TO PH: 2016 RULING “ILLEGAL, NULL, AND VOID”: China’s Consul General in Manila Zhang Zhen described the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s 2016 ruling on the South China Sea as  “illegal, null, and void,” adding that China “has never and will never accept it” during a Chinese New Year celebration in the Philippines.
  • The Permanent Court of Arbitration is an international court to settle territorial disputes between nations and issues binding rulings.
  • China and the Philippines verbally agreed last month to de-escalate tensions in the South China Sea.

Why It Matters: China is demonstrating a top-to-bottom disregard for international law, stability in the region, and respecting territorial integrity, all of which it appeals to constantly. On the international stage, this will appear to mean that when China calls for reason and obeyance to the law, they really mean to impose their will. Many Asia Pacific nations are already seeing that, and some major members of the Non-Aligned Movement, such as Indonesia, are likely to seek other protectors and allies to avoid taking on China alone. – J.V.

  1. NAVY’S WEST24 CONFERENCE FIRST TAKEAWAYS: West24, a major conference for the U.S. Navy, is ongoing. Yesterday, panelists disclosed a cost-saving countermeasure for Red Sea drone threats, among several other initiatives.
  • The Surface Warfare Boss disclosed that destroyers in the Red Sea had proved an anti-drone capability with the 5-inch cannon. He also said that Damage Control training is now focused on topside fuel fires to prepare for a missile strike on a ship instead of its engine room fire focus of the last 20 years.
  • Acting Marine Corps Commandant Lieutenant General Heckl repeatedly discussed the cost-exchange balance and confirmed that the Marine Corps and Navy were implementing new ways to save money with the technology at hand.

Why It Matters: The heads of every warfare area are already implementing ways to save money while using existing capabilities in new ways in preparation for a war in the Pacific. Generally, this will support a leaner Navy, but the recruiting crisis went unaddressed, which, if left unsolved, will leave these game-changing adaptations and capabilities improperly fielded – J.V.

  1. IRAN DEMONSTRATES ARMED MERCHANT PROOF OF CONCEPT: Iran successfully test-fired a containerized anti-ship ballistic missile from one of its converted cargo ships. The location is undisclosed, but this particular ship was last reported in the Caspian Sea.

Why It Matters:The ship had no apparent combat systems, numerous modules for strapping on containerized weapons, and the normal merchant “Group 3” profile. The only indicator that it was a warship was the gray color scheme. The world now has a proof of concept for a modern armed merchant. Shipping is likely to be more imperiled as navies implement this technology and potentially more protected as shipping companies can implement this for point defense. I expect navies to continue following the gray color scheme, as moving to the merchant orange would violate international norms even if it did provide an opportunity for surprise attacks. – J.V.

THAT’S A WRAP: This does it for today’s edition. Thank you for reading. If you know folks who would also like to receive this email, would you please forward it to them? We appreciate you spreading the word. – M.S

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