Commentary

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The urgent coronavirus crisis has not eclipsed pre-existing strategic conundrums like Russian threats to Europe and NATO and the urgency of adapting the alliance to meet them. Moscow shows no sign of negotiating on Ukraine or reducing its information warfare and other threats to European security, quite the opposite.

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 If the last week of social distancing and routine change have taught me anything, it’s that Adams, Kennedy and Churchill were dead-on. With the right mindset and willingness to take and give critical feedback, ample opportunity to learn and improve lies within this crisis. 

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Today, NATO advertises itself under version 3.0 — a forward-looking orientation to renewing the strength and readiness of its forces while addressing emerging challenges that confront the Alliance. If versions one and two addressed Cold War challenges and out-of-area operations, this third incarnation reinforces the solidarity of the Alliance through increased readiness, strengthened capabilities and credible deterrence to face new challenges. The Allies are engaging in new domains (space and cyber), reinvigorating the command structure and the political controls governing it, recognizing new competitors (China) and facing old adversaries (Russia) with firmness and resolve. There is much to be optimistic about in NATO’s agenda.

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By Vice Adm. Richard Hunt, USN Ret.

The US Navy is at the beginning of designing and building its future surface combatant force. This is more than simply replacing old ships with new ones, more than just fielding platforms with upgraded sensors and weapons. It is an opportunity to introduce proven, industry-best practices to create a foundation for sailors to excel.

In designing the next surface combatant, the Navy must always keep warfighting first, but also consider total-ownership cost savings, maintainability, and human-factors engineering to ensure sustainable operational effectiveness and safety. Additionally, new ships must be ready to operate in today’s environment of cyber threats. Warfighting relevance will depend on the ability to fight through strong cyber attacks.