Jim Mattis Is Pushing the U.S. Navy to Act Unpredictably
Well, there is a reason he cops to the nickname “Chaos.” Last month Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis set the naval community aflutter by musing, Hamlet-like, about jettisoning the U.S. Navy’s effort to rotate carrier, amphibious and surface forces from home port to foreign stations on a foreseeable cycle. To be predictable,... Read more
Why a U.S-China War Over Taiwan Won’t Be Anything Like the Syria Strikes
Great powers have a habit of intervening to shield weak allies from rival great powers and advance their own purposes. Last week it was Russia vowing to shoot down American missiles bound for Syrian chemical-weapon sites. Judging from recent Chinese words and deeds, next week could see the U.S. Navy attempting... Read more
It’s Time to Radically Remake the U.S. Navy Surface Fleet
So Adm. Phil Davidson, the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, has come out in favor of longer, more rigorous training before aspiring surface warfare officers step aboard their first ships. Good, and not a moment too soon. But let’s ask why it took a series of shipboard disasters to jolt... Read more
No, China Doesn’t Want Confrontation in the South China Sea
It’s been said that groupthink is a bad thing, that creative tension is a good thing and that appointing a “devil’s advocate” represents the best way to counteract the former while generating the latter. With any luck the give-and-take of debate yields better insights into ambient circumstances and how to manage them. To assure there is some... Read more
The U.S. Navy Can’t Fight North Korea Alone
How can the U.S. Navy destroy North Korea should Washington give the word? It can’t. Or at least it stands little chance of doing so by its lonesome barring improbable circumstances. What the Navy can do is contribute to a joint or multinational campaign that destroys the northern regime... Read more
Could North Korea Sink an American Aircraft Carrier?
Could North Korea’s armed forces sink an American aircraft carrier? Yes — depending on what type of carrier they confront, how skillfully U.S. Navy commanders employ the flattop and its consorts, how well North Korean warriors know the tactical surroundings and, most crucially, whom fortune favors in combat. Fortune... Read more
China’s Blustering Over Taiwan Means Xi Jinping Is Blowing It
So now China is overtly threatening cross-strait war should U.S. Navy vessels tarry at seaports in Taiwan. Congress and the Trump administration contemplate such port calls in the text of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. Pres. Donald Trump has just signed the act into law. Afterward, diplomat Li Kexin announced that... Read more
The General Who Could Have Replaced George Washington
Queries the great Sheldon Cooper: “How would the Civil War have gone differently if Lincoln had been a robot sent from the future?” None can tell. But we can essay some critical analysis about how the revolution would have gone had the Patriots rejected Washington as commander-in-chief and embraced the alternative... Read more
What If Japan Had Never Bombed Pearl Harbor?
Suppose Robert E. Lee had laid hands on a shipment of AK-47s in 1864. How would American history have unfolded? Differently than it did, one imagines. Historians frown on alt-history, and oftentimes for good reason. Change too many variables, and you veer speedily into fiction. The chain connecting cause to effect gets... Read more
What Teddy Roosevelt Taught Mao About Naval Power
Theodore Roosevelt was an avowed Mahanian. He was also a closet Maoist! Or at least, his convictions about strategies for lesser competitors ran parallel to those made popular by Mao Zedong during the Chinese Civil War and Second Sino-Japanese War, as transposed to marine warfare by the Great Helmsman’s... Read more

James Holmes

Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College.

  • 100% ad free experience
  • Get our best stories sent to your inbox every day
  • Membership to private Facebook group
Show your support for continued hard hitting content.
Only $19.99 per year!
Become a War is Boring subscriber