U.S. Expeditionary Base Operations Taiwan Can Play Key Core?

According to the Central News Agency on Sunday, a study by Taiwan’s National Defense Academy pointed out that in response to possible military conflicts in the Indo-Pacific region, the U.S. Marine Corps believes it must transform itself into a small force with long-range precision strike capabilities and execute expeditionary forward base operations, while Taiwan can serve as a key nucleus for inter-island maneuver operations and deploy missile launchers to counter the Communist forces.

The Ministry of Defense think tank, the Institute for National Defense and Security Studies, released the latest edition of its biweekly defense and security report, titled “The New Operational Model of the U.S. Marine Corps and Taiwan’s Possible Role,” an article analyzing the role that the U.S. Marine Corps could play in the event of a war in the Taiwan Strait.

The National Defense Council pointed out that in response to a possible military conflict with China in the Indo-Pacific region, the U.S. Marine Corps top brass believes that in the future, the Marines must transform into a small, dispersed force with “long-range precision strike capabilities” to perform “Expeditionary Advance Base Operations” (EABO). The mission is to use vertical takeoff and landing MV-22 Fish Hawk rotorcraft, coastal combat ships, and raid speedboats with unmanned vehicles to quickly conduct raids and rapid withdrawal maneuvers between selected islands and reefs, with the goal of transforming a series of islands and reefs around the opponent’s domain into missile positions.

Marines demonstrate their will to fight during the Han Kwang exercise in Taiwan on July 16, 2020.

The latest plan recently revealed, the U.S. Marine Corps is hoping to expand the expeditionary forward base into a network of land and sea positions through amphibious assault ships, barges and even floating platforms, to strengthen support for ground and air mobility forces outward assault, while Taiwan can be the key core of the “expeditionary forward base operations. The National Defense Council said that the U.S. Marine Corps is planning to launch Precision Strike Missiles (PrSM) with a range of more than 500 kilometers through M142 HIMARS multiple rockets. Since the average width of the Taiwan Strait is about 180 kilometers, PrSM deployed in the aforementioned location can easily cover the entire Taiwan Strait, thus reducing Taiwan’s defense pressure.