As Captain Edward H. Lundquist points out in "The Entire Indian Ocean Is Up for Grabs," the story of piracy in 2010 is a mixture of good news and bad news. The bad news is that hijacking attempts have increased in number; the good news is that the number of successful hijackings has decreased considerably. But while a beefed-up naval presence in the Gulf of Aden is having a dampening effect on piracy there, the pirates have adapted by expanding their hunting radius farther out to sea.
Lieutenant Commander Akash Chaturvedi of the Indian Navy tells us of an emerging alliance between piracy and maritime terrorism. As the line between the two blurs, a unified effort will be needed to resolve the problem, with Somalia being the focus of that effort.
Maritime security specialist Dr. Martin Murphy compares the situation in the waters off that failed state with the fight against piracy in the Strait of Malacca. He believes that a true solution to the Somalia problem would require a much deeper involvement than naval forces, an unpalatable option for a U.S. administration already engaged in two wars.
Press reports began surfacing late last year that the Army Soldiers in the July 2008 Battle of Wanat in Afghanistan complained about the performance of their Colt M4 carbines in the battle. The fighting was so fierce, some said, that the weapons overheated and stopped firing. Curious after hearing that no Marines, at least the ones we consulted, complained about the weapons, and fairly certain we would be unable to persuade anyone on active duty to take on the story, we brought in Kirk Ross. Kirk is very familiar with Afghanistan, having embedded with Marines there for his Naval Institute General Prize-winning article "Where Marines Could be Marines," and we knew he was well-versed in firearms. So we cut him loose to do an exhaustive investigative report on the M4 for this issue. Readers may be surprised by his conclusions.
A new editor joined our staff in June. Don Ross has more than 30 years of editing and writing experience, the bulk of it in the newspaper business. In 1982 he assisted in the start-up of USA Today . He left in 1998 to take a position as senior editor at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Don served in South Vietnam (1969-1970) with the 1st Marine Division. In 1994, articles he wrote for USA Today , chronicling his return to Vietnam 25 years later, were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Welcome aboard Don!