April 13, 2021

Pentagon turns to the stars to survive China's electronic warfare

Featuring Billy Fabian

Source: Nikkei Asia

Journalist Ken Moriyasu

Every newly commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy's surface fleet carries a copy of Nathaniel Bowditch's "The American Practical Navigator" (1802) on its bridge. This thick encyclopedia on maritime navigation is packed with data on the latitudes and longitudes of various landmarks -- from the Bugio Lighthouse in Lisbon, Portugal, to the Kannonzaki Lighthouse in Yokosuka, Japan.

It also provides detailed instructions on how to use a sextant to measure a ship's current location by observing the sun, moon, stars and horizon. Though the act of carrying the book on every ship was largely ceremonial, the threat of China's electronic warfare has increased the likelihood that the ship's quartermaster will reach for the Bowditch.

Read the full story and more from Nikkei Asia.


  • Billy Fabian

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program, Senior Analyst, Govini

    Billy Fabian is an Adjunct Senior Fellow in the Defense Program at the Center for New American Security. He is also a Senior Analyst at Govini, a national security focused dat...