The SDSR and why the choice of a maritime or a land doctrine is necessary

Article commissioned by Critical Reaction, a website on politics, culture and books.

“To understand why we have ended up with the SDSR we have, we need to see how these pressures came to be arranged just so. Doing so also explains why a fundamental strategic choice is necessary for Britain. We then to realistically see what the structural impacts of such a choice will be, and where this will leave Britain’s world role as a result. Britain’s armed forces will be transform over the course of the next five years, and that process will be governed by the SDSR, whether or not it has been the worthy exercise it could have been………………”

My thanks to the Critical Reaction team for the opportunity to write for their excellent site.

Critical Reaction is (permanently) down, so the article is republished here:

The Strategic Defence & Security Review has been an unedifying spectacle to witness, but this is a result of the competing pressures – operational, political, fiscal and doctrinal – which the armed forces are under. To understand why we have ended up with the SDSR we have, we need to see how these pressures came to be arranged just so. Doing so also explains why a fundamental strategic choice is necessary for Britain. We then to realistically see what the structural impacts of such a choice will be, and where this will leave Britain’s world role as a result. Britain’s armed forces will be transform over the course of the next five years, and that process will be governed by the SDSR, whether or not it has been the worthy exercise it could have been.

The context

A consensus emerged from the end of the Cold War that there should be a peace-dividend allowing the nation to reduce military spending from over 4% of GDP in order that it might be diverted to more socially useful ends. The government of the day held a long and considered Defence review resulting in the SDR98; a document detailing how the Armed Forces would be configured to implement a new world role for Britain, that of liberal interventionism, a mechanism for holding governments to account for their failure to uphold international law, and to meet international norms regarding basic human rights, which in the last resort could be enforced by expeditionary warfare.

As a result the Armed Forces resembled a mini-US, capable of broad spectrum power projection including the following key strategic capabilities: an army capable of fighting protracted and high-intensity wars; a navy capable of deterrence and over-the-horizon forced entry engagements; an ability to conduct theatre level engagements out of area with all the C2ISR that entails; and lastly a strategic deterrent.

Since, at the time of the SDR 98, the Defence budget occupied merely 2.7% of GDP during a period of rapid economic growth, this was actually a viable proposition. It was a stretch, but if this budget priority coexisted with continued growth then this was indeed a defence we could afford. But it wasn’t to be. The Defence budget slipped from 2.7% of GDP in 1997 to 2.2% in 2008, before the recession arrived which killed the economic growth that compensated for defence inflation. However, most lethally, Britain was embroiled in two wars whose endurance and intensity exceeded the planned operational tempo, and which the government paid for by hacking out chunks of the core Defence budget for operational costs, and accepting procurement programs which were completely unfunded.

It should be clear that broad spectrum power-projection hasn’t been affordable for some time, a fact compounded by the Gray report which effectively represents a 10% cut over the next decade, the Treasury insistence on Defence funding of the acquisition costs of the Trident replacement which represents a further 2% cut, and, a Treasury demand for up to a 10% reduction as part of the Defence contribution to balancing the country’s shattered public finances.

The result

If we are not to be capable of broad-spectrum power projection in the furtherance of the British national interest then we have but two choices; to become a narrow-spectrum Great Power, or, alternatively, to concentrate on home defence and give up a leading role in international affairs. The latter option only requires the following two duties: autonomous obligations for the UK’s defence, and contributory obligations for collective defence, whereas the former adds two more. Namely the requirement to be able to effectively wage elective war of both the autonomous and the contributory kind, for, presumably, reasons of national interest. There is nothing immoral in the latter ambition as we have an interest in promoting an international rules based system where laws and norms are adhered to. Responsibility to Protect, a ‘norm’ now quite accepted in International Relations is a case in point. Britain’s position on the Security Council is in part justified by the strategic bargain with friends and allies that we will work to achieve collective security in the widest sense. Thus do we need a force structure that provides an expeditionary capability in addition to meeting the basic and local requirements of collective and national defence.

Influence where?

The reality of Britain’s position in the world today is that while Britain will likely remain the seventh largest economy by 2050 our influence will inevitably decline as new powers rise. That we will need partnerships which will act as force multipliers in pursuit of British interests is the first reality realists should acknowledge. Second is the fact that we are inescapably an integral part of Europe, and it behoves us to encourage our immediate neighbours to become an effective instrument with which to leverage their combined diplomatic effect. A third and reasonable expectation of reality is the projection that the USA will remain the most significant international actor for perhaps the next forty years, and that we should work to discourage their declining interest in us by making Europe a valuable future partner. And the fourth fact is that outside of this EU/US axis we are allied to some of the fastest growing developed and developing economies. However, they exist in unstable regions and would benefit from the certainty of swift and strategic military assistance.

Europe has long tended to overestimate the value of soft-power, and taught a brutal lesson during the Balkans crisis. The result of this was the agreement to perform the Petersburg tasks: humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks & disarmament operations, tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking, and support to third countries in combating terrorism. In short the softer security elements separable, not separate from NATO’s obligation to manage territorial defence. Tony Blair’s government should be recognised for the St Malo achievement. By pooling sovereignty at an inter-governmental level (rather than delegated to a supranational level) the rest of Europe was persuaded, at least in principle, to perform security tasks in its near abroad, and for nations to specialise where necessary to facilitate this. This ‘uploading’ of British preferences was a vital first step, but London’s task is to see that Europe becomes a strategic actor in its own right. This requires instilling the collective will to act militarily abroad, and with harmonised structures capable of achieving this.

The US is in the process of gradually disengaging from Europe as its alters its posture to face the challenges of 21st century Asia, and the task for Britain is to retain the engagement of the world’s only superpower in order that this relationship remains a process whereby British interests are advanced. Europe, as a result of declining demographics in the wider region, is destined to become a strategic backwater in the 21st century, as the dominant economies in the next forty years will be China and India, with other extra-European actors biting at their heels. Accordingly, Britain’s utility to the US as an unsinkable aircraft carrier will diminish. As American hegemony declines in the face of aspiring new powers it will search for partners to share the burden and confer legitimacy, and Britain’s influence with the US will derive as much from creating and leading an effective Europe as it does from providing military assets. It is a judgement for Britain to make as to where it will gain most advantage – from a military that will enhance EU effectiveness, and thus build a superpower partner, or a military that will most effectively complement US requirements for sustained ground presence, by supplying force that confers multilateral legitimacy on US operations.

With regards to those nations, outside of the EU/US axis, whom we seek to influence, an expeditionary capability is both essential and entirely complementary to our obligations to overseas dependencies.

The choice

If Britain is therefore destined to become a narrow-spectrum power then it is restricted to two fundamental choices; maritime or land, and the choice will be governed by which is deemed most complementary to the goals set out above.

The choice of maritime or land is not absolute, our direction is constrained by our commitment to national and collective defence, but it does represent an emphasis that will preserve strategic capability for power-projection over one domain or the other. National defence requires a bare minimum over the land, sea and air domains of the following: an army of at least five brigades to permit defence of the homeland at division level, and defence of overseas territories at brigade level; a navy of a dozen major warships to protect the home waters; and an air-force of four air-defence squadrons to protect the skies above Britain. In addition to this we require sufficient strategic air/sea-lift to move those military assets in defence of overseas territories. Collective defence could add another brigade, so we can deploy a division against an Article V style threat, as well as two squadrons of strike aircraft, and a further three warships for standing tasks.

Everything beyond the absolute requirement for collective and national defence is the realm of elective and expeditionary warfare, and this is where the debate over the SDSR has become nasty and fraught with factional infighting. Each service is quick to claim that it can provide a tailored solution for autonomous and contributory warfare outside of obligatory requirements, and each is quick to claim that its elective solution is complementary to obligatory requirements, and thus cost effective.

The land argument takes the theme that Rupert Smith’s “wars-among-the-people” will come to characterise future conflict, where enduring and dispersed insurgencies will require significant ground forces to dominate a theatre over an extended period. Ideological conflict will be a generational affair and will require sustained effort on a wide scale to prevent failed states becoming hot-houses for new threats to home security and national interests.

At present there are nine combat brigades (including the Royal Marine brigade). This is sufficient to enter a theatre of war with three brigades, and thereafter to sustain a brigade and a battlegroup in theatre. If a land based doctrine is adopted, such as the “Global Guardian” described by RUSI, we might expect the army to increase in numbers from 105,000 to 110,000 on the premise of sustaining nine brigades which with a little juggling of harmony guidelines, would permit the sustained presence of a division in theatre, and justify the framework nation status that brings with it significant command input. The Navy would lose the amphibious fleet and carriers, and thus the justification for the Marines, leaving rapid reaction operations to airborne-forces limited to battle-group level.

The land doctrine’s utility for contributory warfare would be significant as it would provide forces for peacekeeping, collective defence and peacemaking at division level, as desired by the EU and US respectively. Its utility for autonomous operations would be problematic for, although the army is looking to create a lighter logistical footprint for its medium weight forces, staging such expeditionary operations requires host nation support for both deployment and supply, incurring considerable cost in time and political capital, and outside of US logistical support would be unlikely to deploy at more than brigade level.

The maritime doctrine considers the Georgian war as characteristic of future conflict, where regions subject to geopolitical ‘shocks’ will encourage states insufficiently wedded to the international system to renationalise their foreign policy and thus justify unilateral external action. The chosen response to this problem is the British “manoeuverist approach”, where freedom of the sea allows one to apply surgical force to an enemy’s critical weaknesses, rather than blunt force against the enemy’s main strength. It provides the ability to deploy, insert, command, and sustain a reinforced brigade in theatre, with full access to C4ISR in theatre along with organic air support. While the concept of “Go first, go fast, go home” has been tested to destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, it remains a viable posture for a nation specialising in theatre entry, as long as there are follow-on nations to relieve the burden.

Of the nine present combat brigades mentioned the two of especial importance to this doctrine are the Royal Marine brigade and the Air Assault Brigade. If a maritime doctrine were fully adopted, such as the “Strategic Raiding” described by RUSI, we might expect the army to contract to 80,000 men on the premise of sustaining five medium-weight brigades in addition to the two expeditionary brigades, which under the harmony guidelines would permit the sustainment of a brigade for contributory operations, as well as brigade strength rapid reaction forces. In US led coalitions UK forces would clearly be subordinate to US command at the theatre level, however EU deployments would allow theatre control of wider coalition assets. The Navy would keep its amphibious fleet, carriers, and Marines, and would be capable of wider deterrence/presence missions deemed essential for Defence diplomacy.

The maritime doctrine’s utility for contributory warfare would be modest as it would only be capable of providing force for peacekeeping, collective defence and peacemaking at brigade level, and would limit our influence within the EU and US. Its utility for autonomous warfare would be considerable as it would permit brigade level rapid reaction forces for defence of overseas dependencies, and in support of allies and interests. Its utility for conflict prevention is likewise considerable given the ability of amphibious forces to be rapidly positioned, remain poised to intervene, and then move on once the threat has passed – true strategic mobility is their ace.

In the short term, leading up to 2015, the structure of the armed forces will rightly be concentrated on the Afghanistan mission so we are unlikely to see much change to the army other than a gradual reduction in heavy armour, and a slow return from Germany as closing RAF bases free up space for returning brigades. It is quite possible that much of the amphibious fleet will be put into extended readiness in the same period, or scrapped, depending on the outcome.

The impact

The land doctrine would be a comfortable choice for the EU as well as the US: for the former it would provide a UK with plenty of boots on the ground to conduct soft security tasks in Europe’s near abroad, for the latter it would likewise provide a UK able to join enduring counter-insurgency wars.

The problem for Britain’s ambitions in Europe is that a land doctrine does not add anything that Europe doesn’t already have a great deal of, medium-weight brigades. It would undermine the St Malo pressure to forge Europe into a broad spectrum power over all domains: land, sea and air. Further, an EU that is struggling to be seen as a serious strategic partner would also be hard pressed to explain why its most capable naval power, in a group that is mostly devoid of maritime power projection, has transformed itself into a land power. The perception would be that the Britain had once again chosen the US over the EU, and was this not evidence that we were never truly committed to European Defence? Having British forces frequently hip-deep in unattractive American wars has, in addition, all too visibly encouraged the smaller European partners to let their defence spending atrophy. It has only been when our commitment to European Defence has visibly matched that of France that we have been able to persuade the smaller nations that collective defence is an obligation and not a right.

In contrast, Britain’s ambitions for the US under a land doctrine would no doubt benefit in the short term by being able to sustain a division in theatre wherever this generational epic of failed-state conflicts alights next. We would thereby demonstrate a commitment to the US that would no doubt be reflected in their maintenance of the intelligence and technology sharing functions that forms the real and, for us, beneficial core of the special relationship. However, as America’s interests move further east would the British public be willing to follow the US into wars that are perceived to be ever more remote from what’s recognisable as our national interests? In the 2020 time-frame, without a willingness to fight US COIN wars alongside them, and unable to present Europe as a willing and able partner in 21st century geopolitics, how will Britain keep the US engaged in our interests?

The maritime doctrine will be an easy sell within the EU but a difficult proposition for the US, for the former would perceive it as a move away from being an auxiliary for American ambitions, and the latter would likewise recognise the loss of a partner capable of making a significant contribution to enduring land operations. It could be all too easily seen as the British firing a continental bullet, and being willing to peacekeep to the last Frenchman.

Regardless of the chosen force structure, the problem for Britain’s ambitions in Europe would be to persuade European nations that they need to involve themselves with the harder edge of security provision – with peacemaking rather than just peacekeeping – for only this will prevent Europe’s abundant soft-power from being hamstrung on the international stage, and thus not co-opted to British ends the way we aim to co-opt American power. The challenge will be to push these nations to think of European security as a concerted whole to which they can contribute, rather than an irritation made irrelevant by the US security blanket. This does not require a Euro-army, or any further institutional integration, merely the fulfilment of the inter-governmental cooperation secured by Tony Blair at St Malo in support of the Petersburg tasks. This author takes the view that this will be more readily achieved if Britain configures its forces to meet the maritime element of the power projection spectrum for the reasons stated above. We can and should offer leadership.

The challenge for Britain’s ambitions for the US under a maritime doctrine lies in convincing Washington that reducing our capability to support their forces in theatre will increase the probability of delivering the EU that can be a genuine partner in a post-unipolar world. American scepticism of European commitment to deliver effective military capability is well justified. The cost of a maritime doctrine may be considered very-long odds contrasted against the capability we provide today. On the other hand, the US State Department has always be keen to see Britain thoroughly enmeshed in ever-deeper-union, presumably on the logic that if there is to be an EU it might as well be both effective and friendly to American interests, neither of which is assured without British involvement.

The question why

Britain’s Grand Strategy must be to retain the ability for sovereign and strategic power projection inside an ever more multi-lateral world. But that world will be one where our interests are best served by us delivering a NATO in twenty years time which is not fixed on Article V defence of European territorial integrity, but instead provides a genuine institutional bond linking the security and prosperity of North America and Europe. The needs of the West in its most vulnerable century arguably since the 15th is best met an SDSR mandating a maritime future for Britain’s Armed Forces: we have a role to play, and should not be afraid of doing so.

29 responses to “The SDSR and why the choice of a maritime or a land doctrine is necessary

  1. Interesting analysis, lots to think about. I like your answer, which has to be the correct one, for reasons more numerous than the basic eu-us argument you presented.

    DJ

  2. Nicely done; I’m pleased to see you finding a broader audience and, in this case, one that points out your talents to your (roughly) ideological peers.

    I see the wailing and gnashing of ensigns has gone up in force at TD and the Warships board over all the frantic crazy leaking at the moment, much of which not only contradicts recent statements (as you pointed out) but fails to make logical sense. Of course that also fits with the Ant and Dec clique being militarily as well as economically illiterate. But I suspect it’s mostly more chances to set off the “WE’RE DOOOOMED!” gene that resides deep in the English gene pool (the Scots, to their credit, usually think they’re doomed but fight it out anyway.) Wonder which of the genetic ancestors we can blame for that? I’d go for the Swedes, but not enough of them seem to have actually settled here.

    • You are very kind to say so, but the number of carrier related articles in the telegraph in the last 16 hours is disturbing, for not only does it contradict Fox’s eminently sensible statement that both would do as their title implies; fly combat aircraft, but it also goes against my maxim of maintaining strategic capabilities in a permanent manner.

      Having one carrier would be a very poor decision, not least on value for money grounds given that they cost only £44m/year to operate allegedly.

  3. OK, just reread the column and it’s actually better the second time :)

    Glad to see things have simmered down a bit at the Warships board. There seems to be more skepticism, flexibility, and less despair than presently at TD. Of course I have the advantage of enjoying the evening in a different part of the world, with a night’s sleep ahead before plunging into the (temporary and assuredly weasely) results of the “Strategic Defence Review.” That by itself is misleading: even the most outrageous current versions of the carriers story mean they’re hanging onto it long enough to change their minds, and have therefore proved it’s possible (only if the rumours are right) that it’s possible to be even more mendacious and shifty than The Tony. What this whole process clarifies for me is not just the “maritime” point of view and its virtues — you can even oppose that and agree on the second item, namely fighting to bull this “SDSR” aside in favour of something purposeful and definite. Again, internet politics didn’t exist the last time ’round in 1998, at least not really. Let’s make that matter this time. You, of course, with an “in” now to a portion of the largest governing party, are well placed to do that. And for the nation’s benefit I wish you luck.

    • “That by itself is misleading: even the most outrageous current versions of the carriers story mean they’re hanging onto it long enough to change their minds”

      This is my hope, that it is a misinterpretation, with the reality that whilst we have so small an airgroup we will operate only one, thus mothballing QE temporarily when PoW arrives.
      This is also why i have never been keen on cat-n-trap, because it is too easy not to spend the money on fitting both carriers with the equipment to operate fast jets, whereas Stovl is pretty much automatic in providing a two carrier capability.

      “You, of course, with an “in” now to a portion of the largest governing party, are well placed to do that. And for the nation’s benefit I wish you luck.”

      I think CR would argue that their raison-d-etre is precisely because conservative thought has been excluded from the tory party as a result of Cameron and the Coalition.
      Then again, while I have my pronounced sympathies which you apparently so readily recognised, I consider myself a classical liberal as much as anything else.

      • Well, there’s plenty of room in the modern Conservative Party (and that’s “modern” for values of “after Disraeli”) for classical liberals. As a matter of fact, for much of the time since then it’s been a fairly natural home for the right-hand side of classical liberalism. This, of course, much to the Liberal Party’s decay and dismay.

  4. …all pragmatic stuff – only really dodgy wicket appears the Nimrod call; best we aquire some alternate persistant ISTAR pronto.

  5. 5x Mutlirole Brigades
    1x Air Assault Brigade
    1x Marine Brigade

    1x CVF (second only in extended readiness)
    1x LPH (if only we had two)
    1x LPD (second only in extended readiness)
    3x LSD (real shame they are decommissioning a Bay)

    19x Destroyer/Frigates (could have been a lot worse)
    XXx C3 (no, i don’t believe the program has disappeared)

    all in all, its not a million miles away from what i would have wanted anyway, and a lot of the deficit is only moth-balled (and brand new) rather than turned into razor-blades.

    not totally unhappy, and impressed with Fox for keeping the cuts to ~8%, this could have been a LOT worse!

  6. Could have been oh so worse. The good thing is that by not cancelling the CVFs, we have so many more options at the next defence review in 5 years. Despite the shocking histronics displayed by the buffoon Paxman on last nights newsnight and much bleating from phalanxes of myopic punditry, the carrier issue has been handled well; conventional carriers mean cheaper de-(less)risked JSF (and makes Harriers, essentially, redundant anyway), the option of FR and US aircraft operating from them, means we can conduct some useful, concurrent training activity while we wait for our JSF – and if JSF goes belly up we still have a cat and hook platform which allows the purchase of a budget conventional CAG – sensible pragmatism. If things go as planned, we will hopefully be fair set to re-invest in sound Strategic-Raid (SR) capability after 2015, nearer, or at a sensible exit point in Afghan, with our prime SR asset already in place – CVF.

    The RAF issue is still a bit of a botch – I would have chopped the Tornado fleet for the sake of 8x GR4 in theatre (NATO has planty of Fast Air) and used the money saved to sort out the mess that is Typhoon and concentrate on the timely arrival of Taranis and other persitant ISTAR capability to fill the huge gap left by Nimrod – unless I’m missing something, the nuke boats must be feeling oh so much more vunerable? Also would still like to see High Wycombe cut to size, with just one ‘operational’ group.

    Can someone clarify what is happening to Lusty? I assume that either it or Ocean will be placed in extended readiness as the alternate LPH?

      • That reduced fleet (1/2) is to maintain a standing footprint of 8x FJ at KAF, turnabout with the CAS capable Typhoon; we should just kick the GR4 into touch and let another NATO player fill the gap at KAF when the Typhoon is not available – this issue is not about capability it’s about politics (internal RAF and external) – too many 20 minuters at HQ AIR. In a decades time most of our young blades will becoming towards the end of their useful flying career – as long as we retain the flexibility within the fg trg system we can surge (if we need too) IDC. I just dont buy the need to retain GR4 as a cabbage patch for JSF drivers. AIR has enough on its plate just trying to grip Typhoon and the tanker and transport fleet, without wasting time and resources on a obsolecant GR4 fleet that is increasingly unservicable and lacks spares.

  7. Awesome stuff as always, I can only say that I still disagree, “Go First, Go Fast, Go Home” is a valid strategy without either an occupation force of your own, or of willing Frenchmen.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punitive_expedition

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Years_War#British_amphibious_.22descents.22

    Not actualy the best list I admit, but there are plenty of others throughout history, where the goal has been to extract concessions or change attitudes, rather than occupy mud.

      • Must stop editing

        Go First, Go Fast, Go Home is fine without an allied occupation force.

        Provided you dont topple the current government or dont care who replaces it.
        Think about Israels two most recent wars, neither ended with any territory occupied or governments toppled, but both did end with foreign governments who think ill of allowing their territory to be used for rocketry.

        Would Gadaffi have armed the IRA a second time if two dozen Tornadoes had launched from Gibralter and hammered his personal residences and air defences following the first shipment?

        We shouldnt actualy care what he does in his own country, as long as it doesnt affect us.

  8. Great piece… the last paragraphs were particularly poignant as it is basically a situation where the US is afraid of the UK leaving its subservient position and working out a strategy for itself. Clearly both on a global and a European level the UK’s “comparative advantage” is in naval projection. The UK should be primus inter pares amongst European navies and build us a global “string of pearls” strategy using its territories (and some of those the French have left) as naval bases. While regional threats exist in various parts of the globe, the response from the UK to these (if the US demands a partner on hand) would be for the UK to provide the gunboat diplomacy part of the “assault”. Speaking brutally maybe 3/4 of the world’s nations are not in the position to do very much if a naval force turns up off their coast and starts lobbing shells “pour encourager les autres”.

    The threat that dare not speak its name is obviously China, and a combined naval force should be able to pen the Chinese into the Pacific and that should be the unspoken strategic goal of a revived Royal Navy strategy. To achieve denial of the Atlantic to the Chinese, the South Atlantic is vital and the Falklands sit very well positioned to block passage around Cape Horn and project farther east to the Cape of Good Hope.

    • Thank you.

      I agree on the string of pearls, britain is uniquely placed at most of the worlds choke-points:

      Gib and Cyprus at either end of the med, the Falkland on good hope, and the FPDA in the Malacca strait.

      This without mentioning our own position in the G-I-UK gap, our Carribean possessions, and the various close relationships with Oman and Bahrain.

      We could make europe an effective actor, I just believe it will be at its most effective where a collection of bilateral and multilateral agreements meet common purpose.

      • We should sell the Americans Diego Garcia for an outrageous sum of money… then develop some sort of base on one of the other atolls in that IOD system… then we should buy or do a very long lease on Fanning in the Pacific…. The Kiribatians are desperate now they have lost their cruise business..

        As for bilateral I think the French would be very interesting to cultivate a relationship with their own string of pearls.. The other European navies could be persuaded to go farther afield and use these bases…(or at least the Atlantic ones)..

        Denial of the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean to “potentially malevolent forces” would be the goal.. without rattling the cage too overtly…

      • I agree.. all symbolic and would be more of a “coaling station” to use the historic parlance ….

      • Let the cold war begin….

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/29/china-tension-air-defence-zone

        Fanning is just far enough a way from China to signal the Pacific is still an interesting area for us.. but with reduced risk of becoming a Pearl Harbour-like danger… we have Australian and NZ ports nearer in… there never was any action to make up for losing Hong Kong.. MoD presumably hoped no one noticed there was no foothold any more..

        Fanning interestingly enough was on the All Red Line cable route..

        A Germans ship (the Nurnberg) shelled the cable station in 1915 on the way to shell Papeete then headed to the battle of Coronel.

      • Hawaii is not ours…dependency is part of the problem… its all in the optics.. I am not suggesting spending any serious money anyway..

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