In recent years, the Chinese Communist Party has trampled on the bottom line of the international community, suppressing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and shaping the Biden administration’s perception of the U.S. and China as “democracy versus dictatorship. By turning the South China Sea into an “internal lake” and allowing the virus to spread around the world, Beijing is demonstrating that the Communist regime is too dangerous and accelerating the West’s coalescence.
In light of this, the United States is accelerating its diplomatic and military focus from fighting terrorism in the Middle East to dealing with the great power competition from the CCP. On the military front, the U.S. is withdrawing troops from the Middle East and Afghanistan, deploying them to the Western Pacific, launching the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, and establishing the Pacific U.S. Special Operations Forces and the Pacific Naval Task Force, among others.
These strategies are maturing and are now taking shape. The CCP is creating “enemies” every day, and now it has invited them to its doorstep.
Establishing a Permanent Pacific Naval Task Force
On June 15, the Pentagon is considering establishing a permanent naval task force in the Pacific to deal with the growing military power of the Chinese Communist Party, Politico said, citing two sources.
The naval task force is modeled after NATO’s Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, a rapid reaction force of six to 10 destroyers and frigates from several NATO countries that served as a deterrent to the Soviet communist bloc during the Cold War.
Much of the Naval Task Force is classified, but experts speculate that this Pacific Naval Task Force, which should include is Britain, France, Japan and Australia included.
In March this year, former U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis wrote an article leaking that the United States hopes to convince Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Vietnam to participate in the South China Sea patrol. The U.S. goal is to create a global maritime alliance to deter the Chinese Communist Party.
So it seems that this permanent naval force in the Pacific is supposed to routinely patrol the South China Sea region to ensure free navigation in the South China Sea and to serve as a deterrent and to combat the Chinese Communist Party’s anger.
However, such regular patrols are only a deterrent in peacetime, and in the event of war, these large ships would instead become targets for CCP missiles, so the U.S. military is also talking about how to deploy more offensive missiles in wartime to conduct intelligence and guerrilla warfare to pre-empt and destroy the CCP’s missile launch system.
Changing strategy to deploy more missiles in the Asia-Pacific region
Traditionally, the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, based in Japan, has been the main deterrent to Chinese Communist expansion, but that advantage has been eroded by the Communist ship-building spree and possible missile saturation attacks.
The Voice of America reports that a June 7 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), “China’s Strategic Military Power 2021,” shows that 20 years ago the U.S. military had one aircraft carrier and four amphibious assault ships in the Western Pacific, while China had zero, but last year the U.S. military’s power in the region remained the same, while China was armed with a large number of ballistic missiles of all ranges, two aircraft carriers, six amphibious assault ships, 46 multirole warships and 48 submarines, and has built a solid anti-access/area denial defense perimeter that extends beyond the first island chain.
The BBC reports that the U.S. Department of Defense’s 2020 China Military and Security Posture Report to Congress last year said that China’s (CCP) missile deployments in the Pacific have gained an advantage over the United States.
The report found that “China (CCP) has developed a conventional missile force that is not bound by any international agreements. China (CCP) has deployed more than 1,250 land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 kilometers,” while the United States currently has only one conventional ballistic missile with a range of 70-300 kilometers and no U.S. cruise missiles.
Such ballistic missiles, capable of reaching beyond the first island chain, not only threaten U.S. bases in the second island chain, but may also pose a threat to targets further away, and can even pose a threat to the U.S. homeland and U.S. allies and partners.
It is for this reason that Foreign Policy magazine also broke the story on June 7 of a heated debate within the Pentagon to decide whether to place U.S. forces and high-end weapons within range of Communist Chinese missiles in the Western Pacific.
In a June 15 article in Foreign Affairs, Michael Beckley, associate professor of political science at Tufts University, noted that the U.S. has vast resources to contain the Chinese Communist Party’s military expansion. But the U.S. Defense Department has not developed a good strategy.
Beckley says the Pentagon does not favor the deployment of cheaper and easier-to-install cruise missiles in the Asia-Pacific region, but instead pushes large military platforms (such as aircraft carriers and destroyers) for a variety of peacetime missions. And these warships and fighter jets in exposed bases are living targets for Communist missile attacks in times of war.
Worse, Washington has been exporting this concept to its allies, such as by having Taiwan buy U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets and Abrams tanks, draining Taiwan’s military spending.
Beckley noted that to many military experts, the choice for U.S. leaders is simple: they can deploy low-cost missiles and sensors (shooters and sensors) in the Asia-Pacific region and quickly restore the military balance in East Asia, rather than continuing to waste resources on irrelevant missions and expensive weapons systems.
Rather than waiting for war to begin and then moving vulnerable aircraft carriers into East Asia, the United States should preposition missile launchers, armed drones and sensors by prepositioning them at sea and on allied territory near the Chinese coastline, Beckley said. These decentralized munitions networks would be difficult for the CCP to counter and would not require large bases or fancy platforms. Instead, they can be mounted on almost anything that floats or flies, including converted merchant ships, barges and aircraft.
In fact, the Los Angeles Times reported last June that the Pentagon, with the support of the Trump administration, was preparing to deploy hundreds of conventional missiles in Asia, a move that could quickly and easily shift the balance of power in the Western Pacific back in the U.S.’s favor, as the Pentagon became increasingly concerned that the Chinese Communist Party’s expanding missile arsenal and military capabilities threatened the security of U.S. military bases and allies in Asia.
The Pacific Deterrence Initiative also aims to establish a precision strike network in the first island chain of the Western Pacific that can withstand Chinese communist attacks, deploy a ground-based SHIELD missile defense system in Guam, deploy a tactical multifunctional radar in the Pacific island nation of Palau, and establish multiple operational training bases throughout the region so that U.S. forces and allied forces can train together and work together. and allied forces can train together and fight together.
Infiltrating China’s Coastline for Intelligence Warfare
In response to a “saturation attack” by Chinese missiles, U.S. military generals are also considering conducting intelligence and guerrilla warfare off China’s coastline to pre-empt and destroy the Communist missile launch system in the event of a war.
The Washington Times reported March 31 that in Senate Armed Services Committee testimony, General Richard D. Clarke, commander of Special Operations Command, disclosed that the U.S. military is preparing to establish the first Joint Task Force-Indo-Pacific (JTF-I) to operate in the Indo-Pacific region. One of the task force’s most important missions is information warfare.
Information warfare is part of a U.S. military modernization program that includes better intelligence capabilities, artificial intelligence systems, encrypted communications and electronic warfare weapons, General Clark said. “In order for us to compete effectively in the future, we must modernize both our precision strike and (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities) so (forces) can quickly see and sense the battlefield where they might be ready to fight in a time of crisis.”
Kenneth S. Wilsbach, commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces, said in a June 5 report on the U.S. Naval Institute News Network that the United States “is going to be watching closely through intelligence gathering and is also trying to find ways to defend itself” in the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s increased military capabilities over the past few years.
The Washington Post reported April 21 that Marine Corps Commandant David H. Berger also proposed a new strategy: reconnaissance and counter-surveillance operations. Berger wrote in the U.S. Army magazine Military Review, “Given the geographic realities and expanding precision strike regimes, Navy and joint forces will need an ‘internal’ or ‘in-theatre’ force that can sustain operations in the enemy’s weapons engagement zone (WEZ). ‘ force (stand-in force).”
Berger said the Marines’ new mission will include reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance missions against Communist Chinese forces (PLA), as well as conducting activities in the Chinese offshore. Reconnaissance is to detect enemy activity, while counter-reconnaissance is to deter enemy attacks on U.S. forces.
This new approach reverses earlier plans, which had previously focused on deploying Marine ground forces and F-35 fighters to small bases close to China.
The new Marine Corps strategy is in response to the Chinese Communist Party’s rapid development of long-range precision-strike missiles and weapons that make land bases vulnerable to attack. Large Navy ships are now also vulnerable to the new Communist Party anti-ship ballistic missiles Dongfeng-21 (DF-21) and Dongfeng-2 (DF-26), Berger said.
In response, Berger wrote, “a light, self-sufficient, mobile naval expeditionary force approaching China’s coastal areas” would provide military commanders with critical capabilities and a means to locate and track high-value targets such as Chinese Communist military reconnaissance platforms, reconnaissance forces and other command, control, communications, computers, networks, intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting systems, among others, to provide critical support.
This mobile Marine force would be able to target those (enemy) systems with missiles and other weapons, as well as provide leads to other naval and military forces, which Berger said would be “a highly lethal naval and combined firepower high kill chain.