The recent emergence of “cyber warfare” in the contemporary strategic environment poses numerous conundrums, not the least of which is the basic meaning of this term. Is it a metaphor or a literal part of warfare writ large? A closely related issue is how cyber warfare relates to the law of armed conflict. In our lead article, “The Law of Cyber Targeting,” Michael N. Schmitt tackles this question. While developing cyber technologies and techniques have for some time been outrunning accepted international legal frameworks and assumptions, this situation is beginning to change. The publication in 2013 of the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare—of which Schmitt served as general editor—has gone a considerable way toward cementing a consensus among leading experts in the law of war on this subject. Here, Professor Schmitt systematically reviews the findings of that study, with particular emphasis on issues that remain controversial or contested. The central takeaway from his presentation is that in spite of the peculiar characteristics of cyber warfare and our so-far limited experience of it, existing international law in fact provides a workable if not completely satisfactory framework within which to place it. Michael N. Schmitt, a former U.S. Air Force officer, is the Charles H. Stockton Professor of International Law and director of the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law at the Naval War College.
In the post–Cold War era, as Milan Vego points out, the term “the littorals” has gained currency in naval circles in this country and elsewhere, yet the specific character of war of naval war in proximity to land is seldom carefully explored. In “On Littoral Warfare,” Vego argues that the differences between this form of warfare and “blue water” naval warfare are substantial and that they need to be understood properly if navies are to fight effectively in this medium in the future. What he offers is a “theory” of littoral warfare that can serve as a foundation for appropriate joint doctrine and operations, something that is very much lacking today. Ranging widely over historical examples from many parts of the world and several centuries, Vego shows that littoral warfare has actually been more the rule than the exception in recent times—a fact that has been obscured by the dominance in classical naval strategic thinking of strongly “blue water”–oriented theorists, such as Alfred Thayer Mahan. Milan Vego is professor of joint military operations at the Naval War College.
For many smaller navies today, the littoral environment discussed by Vego is in fact the virtually exclusive focus. Deborah Sanders offers a case study of one such navy. In “The Bulgarian Navy after the Cold War,” she reviews the history of Bulgaria’s efforts to rebuild its nation and armed forces following the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the demise of communist rule in Eastern Europe. Not surprisingly, the Bulgarian navy fell on hard times given economic troubles during this period, in particular the end of Soviet military assistance, and severe political instability at home. With Bulgaria’s eventual turn to NATO and the European Union and improvement in its economic situation, a modest program of modernization and professionalization of its navy could finally be undertaken. It remains unclear in what ways deteriorating relations between Russia and the West over Ukraine will affect NATO’s maritime frontier on the Black Sea for the future. Deborah Sanders is a senior lecturer in the Defence Studies Program of King’s College London.
The battle of Midway (4–5 June 1942) seems to be a gift to historians that never stops giving. In “A Question of Estimates: How Faulty Scouting Drove Estimates at the Battle of Midway,” Jonathan Tully and Yu Lu revisit the issue of the culpability of Admiral Nagumo Chuichi and his 1st Air Fleet staff in the Japanese defeat. They argue that the evidence now suggests that Nagumo’s failure to detect the American carriers on the morning of 4 June was not an idiosyncratic error but rather reflected standard Japanese scouting practice both then and later when intelligence otherwise had provided no indicators of the presence of possible enemy carriers. In fact, there is evidence that officers of the 1st Air Fleet staff later tampered with reports of the battle to obscure the fact that they were operating under an assumption that contact with the American carriers that day was unlikely. Indicators to the contrary were actually picked up by the Japanese but not disseminated to Nagumo, for reasons not altogether clear. Anthony Tully is coauthor, with Jon Parshall, of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway (2005).
Finally, in “Revisiting the Navy’s Moral Compass: Has Commanding Officer Conduct Improved?,” Captain Jason Vogt, USN, carries on a conversation that was initiated in these pages by Captain Mark Light, USN, in his “Navy’s Moral Compass: Commanding Officers and Personal Misconduct” (Summer 2012). Vogt concludes that while the Navy seems to be making some progress in this area, there is more that could be done to improve the situation.
The editors would like to recognize the contributions to the Naval War College Review of its longtime book-review editor, Phyllis Winkler, who will be retiring in January 2015. We wish her fair winds and following seas. For the future, Phyllis’s duties will be shared between our administrative assistant, Lori Almeida, and two Naval War College faculty members, Timothy J. Demy and Brad Carter. To them: Welcome aboard!
WILLIAM C. MARTEL (1955–2015)
It is with sadness that we note the passing of William Martel, a member of our Editorial Board for many years. Before moving on to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Bill was a popular teacher on the faculty of the Naval War College and a good friend. He will be missed by all who knew him.
MAJOR FLEET-VERSUS-FLEET OPERATIONS IN THE PACIFIC WAR, 1941–1945
The newest, twenty-second title in our Historical Monograph book series is now available: Major Fleet-versus-Fleet Operations in the Pacific War, 1941–1945, by Milan Vego. It studies three major naval operations of World War II and the battles of the Coral Sea, Midway/Aleutians, and the Philippine Sea, which resulted from them. Along with ample background on geographic and strategic context, Dr. Vego gives detailed accounts of the unfolding actions, utilizing much primary-source material from American and Japanese archives. Major Fleet-versus-Fleet Operations in the Pacific War, 1941–1945 is available for sale at the U.S. Government Publishing Office online bookstore, at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.
IF YOU VISIT US
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