Previously on the Forum:
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A recent article by Zachary Keck in The Diplomat highlighted the importance of Taiwan in PRC calculations in asserting their new air defense identification zone.
Again to remind our readers, the PRC is insisting that any air traffic passing through their self declared zone, even areas including other people’s territory, identify themselves even if they have no intention to enter Chinese air space.
To say the least, this in an innovation; and not a good one, in international practice.
If China can deny U.S. and allied forces the ability to operate in the waters and airspace covered by the ADIZ, the U.S. would be unable to use its immense military resources in South Korea and Japan in defense of Taiwan.
Instead, the U.S. military would have to travel from Guam, the Philippines and other nations located around the South China Sea (until China establishes an ADIZ over that body of water as well). This is where the tyranny of distance really weighs heavily on U.S. forces.
It’s worth noting, in this context, that China has demanded that aircraft flying in the East China Sea ADIZ identify themselves even when their destination is not the Chinese mainland.
This is different from most nations’ ADIZs, which only require aircraft identify themselves if they intend to enter national airspace.
Notably, soon after China declared the East China Sea ADIZ last month, its sole aircraft carrier, Liaoning, passed through the Taiwan Strait on its way to the South China Sea.
The Director-General of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, Tsai Der-sheng, said this week that the Liaoning’s passage through the strait demonstrated that there was an inevitable imbalance of military forces between China and Taiwan.
At the same time, Tsai told Taiwan’s parliament that the country is prepared to use force to protect its ADIZ. Thus, far Taiwan has joined with South Korea, Japan, and the United States in defying China’s new ADIZ.
For the full article see the following:
Recently, the Emperor of Japan visited India and his visit highlighted the evolving Indian relationship with Japan.
In a piece by Sreeram Chaulia, a Professor and Dean at the Jindal School of International Affairs in Sonipat, India, the Emperor’s visit provided an opportunity to analyze this evolving relationship.
Economic factors are crucial to the blossoming Japan-India ties.
The level of Japanese aid and investment in India’s development and infrastructure sectors is second to none. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have the southern Indian metropolis of Chennai on their itinerary, in order to support the large number of Japanese automobile, electronics and food processing corporations which have commercial bases there.
According to the Indian newspaper, The Economic Times, as many as 360 Japanese firms with over 700 Japanese expatriates are operating in the state of Tamil Nadu alone, of which Chennai is the capital.
The exponential growth in Japan-India trade (currently valued at 18.5 billion dollars per annum) is occurring due to the vast market potential that India’s consumer base with rising incomes presents to Japan’s exporters and investors.
Japan-India economic momentum is headed upwards particularly because of a shift in Japan’s foreign investment focus away from the trouble-ridden Chinese market, where political animus has periodically burnt the business prospects of Japanese companies.
India remains a nightmare for foreign investors due to its regulatory and labor market conditions, but these are less problematic than the hatred that animates Chinese public opinion towards Japan and leads to targeted attacks and boycotts of Japanese assets during flare-ups in territorial disputes.
Nonetheless, there are limits to the Japanese and Indian rapprochement with regard to the PRC.
The time-tested realpolitik maxim— “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”— has some resonance in the way India and Japan eye each other vis-à-vis China.
But India is more reticent about Prime Minister Abe’s desire to confront China openly by organizing a club of democracies that are ideologically distinct from and superior to Beijing’s model of authoritarian capitalism.
In the Indian worldview of alignment with all and alliance with none, Beijing has its own special place that cannot be jeopardized by cozying up to Japan with any hostile intent towards China.
The volume of China-India trade is four times greater than that between Japan and India. China and India share common interests in promoting a multipolar world, while Japan would presumably be happy in a US-dominated international order.
The Cold War-era phobia that India had about a Japan as an Asiatic extension of American and Western interests is long gone, but the basic search for a more equitable global order in which the Americans cannot dictate terms to Indians or others in the developing world remains entrenched in New Delhi.
India’s own great power ambitions require it to lean closer to BRICS and other emerging economies that want to reduce American shares and voices in global institutions.
To be fair, Japan itself has tried on occasions to lead Asia out of the American-driven Bretton Woods economic architecture.
It was ironically America’s staunch ally, Japan, which visualized an Asian alternative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the latter bungled the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997.
For the complete article see the following:
In the dynamic Pacific region, key players are shaping their approaches to 21st century operations.
For Vietnam, a key element is building out its maritime security and naval capabilities.
They have bought maritime patrol aircraft from Airbus Military and new submarines from Russia.
And the Indians are helping train the Vietnamese with regard to those submarines.
According to a Thanh Nien story drawing upon a Times of India story:
India’s navy is training over 500 Vietnamese submariners as part of the countries’ resolution to expand bilateral military ties, the Times of India reported last week.
During talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Communist Party general secretary Nguyen Phu Trong last Wednesday, it was decided that India would issue Vietnam a US$100 million line of credit for the purposes of enabling the latter to acquire four naval patrol vessels from the former, the report said.
The ongoing training of Vietnamese sailors in “comprehensive underwater combat operations” at the Indian Navy’s submarine training center, INS Satavahana in Visakhapatnam, is a major bilateral initiative of the nations’ emerging strategic partnership.
Over 500 Vietnamese sailors will be trained in batches at the center, which is equipped with state of the art technology, by the Indian Navy, according to the report.
In December 2009, Vietnam signed a $2 billion deal to buy six submarines from Russia, which is due to deliver them all by 2016.
The Indian Navy’s extensive experience in operating Russian Kilo-class submarines, which dates back to the mid-1980s, will be invaluable to Vietnam as its navy learns how to handle their new underwater vessels, according to the Times of India.
In the past, India has supplied spare parts for Russian Petya class warships and Vietnamese OSA-II class missile boats.
“India will continue to assist Vietnam to modernize and train its defense and security forces, including via the $100 million line of credit for defense purchases,” said PM Singh.
And the Japan Times added additional information which highlighted the importance of the recent Vietnamese-Indian summit:
India and Vietnam made serious efforts to upgrade their bilateral relations earlier this month during the visit to New Delhi by Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong. Eight pacts were inked, including ones on energy cooperation and protection of information, which are strategically significant areas that will influence the trajectory of this bilateral relationship. Vietnam has offered seven oil blocks to India in South China Sea, including three on an exclusive basis where Hanoi is hoping for production-sharing agreements with India’s state-owned oil company ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL).
In a significant move, India has also decided to offer a $100 million credit line to Vietnam to purchase military equipment. Usually a privilege reserved for its immediate neighbors, this is the first time that New Delhi has made such an offer to a more distant nation. Delhi and Hanoi have been working toward building a robust partnership for the past few years.
It is instructive that India entered the fraught region of the South China Sea via Vietnam. New Delhi signed an agreement with Vietnam in October 2011 to expand and promote oil exploration in the South China Sea and then reconfirmed its decision to carry on despite the Chinese challenge to the legality of an Indian presence. Beijing told New Delhi that its permission was needed for India’s state-owned oil and gas firm to explore for energy there. But Vietnam quickly cited the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to claim its sovereign rights over the two blocks in question. Hanoi has been publicly sparring with Beijing over the South China Sea for the last few years, so such a response was expected.
What was new, however, was New Delhi’s newfound aggression in taking on China. It immediately decided to support Hanoi’s claims. By accepting the Vietnamese invitation to explore oil and gas in Blocks 127 and 128, OVL not only expressed New Delhi’s desire to deepen its friendship with Vietnam, but also ignored China’s warning to stay away.
The PRC is creating a fertile ground within which the US and its allies are looking to craft a 21st century strategy for Pacific defense.
Our recently published book on The Rebuilding of American Military Power in the Pacific: A 21st Century Strategy takes a hard look at the way ahead.
The recent Philippine relief effort plus the rapid turn around to a USN-Japanese naval exercise both highlighted growing collaboration between the US and Japan.
And the AFPAC commander, General Hawk Carlisle highlighted the importance of the relationship as well in his perspective on evolving Pacific defense.
In the interview, he noted that the U.S.-Japanese relationship was undergoing a fundamental transformation as major challenges emerged in the Pacific which the Japanese have clearly identified as central and which they believe requires a more effective working relationship with the United States.
An example of an evolving response is the reshaping of U.S.-Japanese capabilities to provide for more effective defense coordination.
“We have moved our air defense headquarters to Yokota air base and we are doing much closer coordination on air and missile defense with the Japanese.”
The General highlighted that the USAF was stepping up its collaborative efforts and capabilities with key air forces in the region, including with Australia, Singapore, South Korea and Japan.
It is clear that this is not just about the United States, it is about allied investments in real capabilities.
A recent article in Japan Today highlighted the nature of some of those capabilities.
China’s growing maritime power has emerged as the biggest challenge to the Japanese military since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tokyo this year halted a decade of declining military outlays with an 0.8% increase to 4.9 trillion yen.
Defense outlays next year are expected to increase more sharply by about 3% according to senior Japanese military officials. Japanese military analysts believe their navy still holds a clear advantage in technology and firepower over its Chinese rival but the gap is closing.
“The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force is the second-largest and second-most capable navy next to the U.S. navy,” says retired Admiral Yoji Koda. “The Chinese navy is very much afraid of the Japanese navy’s real capability.” Koda and other security experts estimate that it will take China about 15 years to match the Japanese and U.S. naval power in East Asia if Beijing can maintain its double digit annual increases in military spending.
China this year increased its defense budget by 10.7% to $119 billion but some foreign experts estimate Beijing’s real spending could be as high as $200 billion.
As Tokyo increases military outlays, it is also repositioning and re-equipping its military. Throughout the Cold War, the Japanese Self Defense Force concentrated the bulk of its firepower in its northern islands, ready to confront the Soviet Union and assist the U.S. navy in monitoring the powerful Russian submarine fleet.
There clearly is an evolving approach in the Pacific to deal with the PRC.
But it is about Pacific defense and not a PRC-US face off.
What the allies see as their interests, their approaches and their capabilities are central to any Pacific defense strategy and the nature of the approach or challenge of the PRC within that region.
The U.S. simply does not control the agenda; it is a lynchpin power in pulling an approach together which can constrain Chinese actions; it is not about classic deterrent strategy a la the Soviet Union and the Cold War.
As the Chinese come out from the mainland and shape capabilities and policies, the allies and the U.S. clearly are concerned both with the capabilities and the approach.
It is more akin to a constrainment than a deterrent strategy.
We are concerned with both capabilities and policies and how those interact in the effort to project power from the mainland.
And to repeat: the U.S. is not the definer of the Pacific response, but a player, even if a central one.
In the next step in the PRC working to bring more closer together the interests of the two greatest maritime powers of the 20th century, the PRC has unilaterally announced an expansion of the air defense zone.
According to a Japan Times article:
The (Japanese) government branded as “very dangerous” China’s announcement Saturday that it has set up an East China Sea air defense identification zone that includes the Japan-held Senkaku Islands.
The Chinese Defence Ministry said the zone was created to “guard against potential air threats,” but the move will only inflame a bitter sovereignty row over the islets, which China claims as Diaoyu.
Later Saturday, China scrambled air force jets, including fighter planes, to patrol the new zone…..
(The new zone) covers a wide area of the East China Sea between South Korea and Taiwan, and includes the Senkaku islets…..
Along with the new zone, the Chinese ministry released a set of aircraft identification rules that it says must be followed by all aircraft entering the area, under penalty of intervention by China’s military.
Aircraft are now expected to provide their flight path, clearly mark their nationality and maintain two-way radio communication in order to “respond in a timely and accurate manner to identification inquiries” from Chinese authorities….
The largest storm on the globe slammed into the Philippines and the US Military and many others are now helping a nation suffering.
The storm continued across South China Sea and hit Vietnam.
We were grateful to receive this current report from Vietnam about the status of the 48 schools built by the Vietnam Children’s Fund (VCF).
It is gratifying to see the construction was strong enough to come through with relatively minor damage.
The VCF has been a two-decade pro bono effort to reach out to the people of Vietnam.
The first school was dedicated to the late Lew Puller Jr who made the focus of the program to build schools.
For 20 years the Vietnam Children’s Fund has been building elementary schools in the most remote and desperate communities in Vietnam. The organization, founded by Lew Puller, built the first school in his name in Dong Ha, Quang Tri Province.
We received this report from Sam Russell and Lan Vien providing us with an in-country update:
The brunt of the typhoon hit Quang Ninh and Hai Phong province.
Luckily on it’s way north the epicenter was off shore, which kept the damage to a minimum. In most cases the people that died or were injured was because they were careless trying to strengthen their house before and during the storm.
Of course, there were many houses that had their roofs damaged but the good thing our schools were built to last so there was no damaged. I have made several phone calls to our schools near the coast and below is the news from them.
1/ Pham Phu Thu school in Quang Nam province: This school is in a flood zone but this time the storm mostly missed Quang Nam province. There was no damaged or flooding.
2/ Xuan Lam school in Ha Tinh province: there was no damaged during the storm. In general the school is still in good shape after 11 years since it was built, only the doors need to be repaired or replaced.
I remember once in the past it was a flood refuge for the village. It seems there are no more floods in this area. The teacher told me that in the past during a heavy rain the yard would flood up to 40cm (1’4”) in the schoolyard.
3/ Xuan Trung school in Nam Dinh province: no storm damaged. The teachers said they remembered to close all the windows and doors properly to minimize the damage during the storm. During last years typhoon there were some windows that broke and some trees that fell down.
4/ Our first school, the Lew Puller School in Dong Ha, Quang Tri province: no storm damaged. Only some tree branches were broken off. During the typhoon, 3 storms ago, the toilet roof blew off but it was repaired.
5/ Dai Dong school in Hai Phong province: part of the roof tore off and the school has already fixed it. 70% of the glass in the widows were broken. Since the school was built in 2002 there has been no major damaged to the main structure but it needs maintenance so it looks old. The school yard level is now lower than the new road this causes it flood every time it rains. I have asked the school to send me some photos and the estimate for maintenance.
6/ Hoa Nghia school in Hai Phong province: is in good shape. The locals have funded 16 more classrooms. The school is applying for National standard certification this year.
We are so happy that most our schools are in good shape even though most of these schools were built over 10 years ago.
For more information and how to donate the VCF visit the following:
We have focused frequently on what Paul Bracken has called the Second Nuclear Age.
Put succinctly, the rules are being made with every crisis involving the smaller nuclear powers or aspirational nuclear powers.
These powers are not deterred by the old rules of the Cold War nuclear game and the question boils down to what will deter these new powers from acquiring or using nuclear weapons?
Earlier this year, the North Korean crisis laid down some rules of the road going forward.
We argued earlier that Secretary Hagel faced his first real test with the challenges from North Korea:
How will the Obama Administration shape the rules of engagement in the Second Nuclear Age? History has shown American intelligence about capability and intentions of North Korea is murky at best and often wrong. On Aug. 24, 1998, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton, a very decent and honest man, wrote a letter to Sen. Jim Inhofe stating that there we would have at least a three-year warning of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile threat, such as the Taepo Dong-2.
Unfortunately, on Aug. 31, 1998, a three-stage North Korean missile was launched over Japan and splashed down much closer to America than anyone liked. So much for the three-year window! Even though the launch might have been a three-stage Taepo Dong-1, the distinction did not matter to Japan or our fellow citizens in Alaska and Hawaii.
The deploying of new missile defenses is one part of Hagel’s approach. But the shaping function requires more than this. We need to put in play new combat capabilities the U.S. has deployed –including the “Cold War” weapon, the F-22. An exercise last year highlighted some of its capabilities. This would be a time to remind the North Koreans of how effective an integrated force structure approach can be.
In the continuing process of shaping Western policy in the Second Nuclear Age, Iran is seeking to cut a deal with the West to end the crisis of their efforts to become a nuclear power. These efforts are directly connected with the incomplete Syrian crisis.
Earlier, the Administration declared that the Syrians were using weapons of mass destruction, namely chemical weapons, against their own people and that this would not be tolerated. A military strike was declared to be on offer; then it was put on hold to discuss with the Congress; and then a proposed deal to remove these weapons was put in place with the Russians as key players in the removal of these weapons.
The only problem is that removal has not yet happened; and the initial deal has not come close to being implemented. According to a November 7th CNN report:
While the inspection progresses, the United States is looking at new classified intelligence suggesting that Syria might not fully declare its chemical weapons stockpile, CNN has learned.
The intelligence is not definitive, but “there are various threads of information that would shake our confidence,” one U.S. official said. “They have done things recently that suggest Syria is not ready to get rid of all their chemical weapons.”
CNN has spoken to several U.S. officials with access to the latest intelligence on Syria, who confirmed the information. All declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the data. U.S. intelligence agencies, the Defense Department, the State Department and White House are all reviewing the information.
The new Iranian leadership has used this time to promote the concept of making a deal with the West to get rid of sanctions in return from some sort of arrangement to deal with their nuclear materials. The problem is that in the hazy world of not yet completed control of Syrian WMD, what kind of confidence can one have about the implementation of any Iranian deal?
The trick is not simply concluding a “deal” but rather putting in place a process which ensures that Iran not only complies but does not rapidly break out in a future crisis to claim credibly the possession of nuclear weapons able to affect regional security.
In an exclusive interview on Breaking Defense, the Iranian foreign minister highlighted the interest of the current Iranian leadership in a deal. And as Michael Adler noted in the interview:
A previous agreement, a fuel swap agreed in Geneva in October 2009 , foundered when opponents to then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad torpedoed the deal once it had been brought back to Iran for final approval. Zarif is here negotiating on behalf of new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who has the support of the real power in Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei.
But the mandate from the Supreme Leader for striking a deal is believed to be short, perhaps only a few months as there is strong hardline opposition in Iran to compromising on the nuclear program under pressure from the United States.
Of course, the issue can be rather simply put: if there is such paper thin support for an agreement within Iran, what sort of agreement would it taken to ensure that the Iranians simply do not break out of an agreement rapidly down the road?
Put another way, with the Syrians and Russians playing the chemical removal game, are we going to face at the same time the nuclear weapons shell game from Iran?
And is this basically laying down a key aspect of the way ahead in the Second Nuclear Age, namely, using diplomacy to remove pressure in the current situation in order to expand options for breakout when needed to shape outcomes in future crises?
The talks this weekend have not yet lead to a breakthrough and part of the reason why was articulated by the Iranian President:
Iran’s president Hassan Rohani said on Sunday that its “rights to enrichment” of uranium were “red lines” that would not be crossed and that the Islamic Republic had acted rationally and tactfully during nuclear negotiations, Iranian media reported.
“We have said to the negotiating sides that we will not answer to any threat, sanction, humiliation or discrimination. The Islamic Republic has not and will not bow its head to threats from any authority,” he said during a speech at the National Assembly, Iran’s ISNA news agency said.
“For us there are red lines that cannot be crossed. National interests are our red lines that include our rights under the framework of international regulations and (uranium) enrichment in Iran,” he said.
With the ambiguous handling of the so-called military option against Syria, is a military option against Iran credible?
Certainly, the current Israeli government is concerned that it is not.
That feeling may have intensified in recent days in Israeli government circles as a result of what seems to be an American effort to undercut its own pledge to keep the military option “on the table” in its dealings with Iran. A US “senior official” told reporters in Geneva that a military attack on Iran “would not end, in our view, Iran’s nuclear program. It would set it back, but it would not end it.”
In internal discussions, Administration figures have also said that even if there was a US attack on Iran’s nuclear installations, the sides would still have to return to the negotiating table to work out a the same kind of deal that they are discussing now.
And any agreement must have very clear inspection of the sort that Iran has rejected repeatedly in the past. The means to ensure compliance are even more important than reaching an agreement, notably when the credibility of a response to breaking out of an agreement in a crisis is the key point of shaping an effect response to the Second Nuclear Age.
Put bluntly, the West needs to have two combined capabilities in dealing with a Second Nuclear Age power: conventional and or nuclear means to destroy the nuclear force of a Second Nuclear Age power or an agreement with intrusive inspections which can clearly indicate any intelligence signals that the Second Nuclear Age power is preparing to break out of any agreement to deny itself having nuclear weapons.
Anything short of this is simply an agreement in self-denial by the West, not a step towards greater global stability.
Recently, Don De Marino sent the editor of Second Line of Defense Forum, Ed Timperlake the following letter.
The SLD team believes this provides an exciting opportunity to support Wounded Warriors in honor of Veterans for this year’s Veterans Day.
SLD itself will donate $100 to this effort.
We invite our readers to support the effort as well.
The letter follows and outlines the event and the opportunity to support our Veterans.
When my Marine son, LCpl Will De Marino, passed away in 2010, you were so kind to remember him in your Forward to the SLD publication “The F-35 Maintenance Revolution”.
He proudly worked on the MV-22 ‘Osprey’ as part of the Aviation Logistics Squadron 26. As you so aptly put it: “It is a combat team. It is the combat pilots and operators, the Marines on the ground and the maintainers who ensure readiness.”
I know you share my strong belief in supporting all elements of the combat team, and especially your Marines who have been seriously wounded.
That is why I am asking you to announce in Second Line of Defense a program that would give 24 wounded Marines the opportunity to participate in a 10 day ‘riverrun’ on the Colorado river at the Grand Canyon.
The Marines will be coming via the USMC Wounded Warrior Regiment (www.woundedwarriorregiment.org) and the trip is being sponsored by the Grand Canyon River Runners Association (www.gcriverrunners.org) a very lean 501(c).
These river guides are a fantastic bunch with real experience with disabled rafters. The ‘expense’ principally comes from all the equipment, preparation and additional staff needed. The guides are 100% motivated to giving these Marines a great time on the river at one of America’s most majestic sites.
The guy who’s bright idea this is, Lt Col Hank Detering (USMC- Ret), served20 years in the Corps, is on the Board of the GC River Runners Assoc., and is an old friend.
When Hank first wrote me about this idea for the Marines, he mentioned that his daughter was a river guide:
“Two years ago, Susan was the trip leader on a ‘Persons with Disabilities’ trip, and her passengers included a blind man, a paraplegic and a quadriplegic. What they taught her about the river, and about its creeks and side-canyons, was unbelievable. For the passengers, the trip was more than uplifting. All of her passengers said the experience on the river – camping and hiking, negotiating the rapids, the terrain and the elements, overcoming the risks – had made them feel more alive than ever before. The trip changed their lives.”
I can think of nothing more fitting for your readers than to contribute to on this 238th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps!
United States Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment Grand Canyon-Colorado River Rafting Trip
A Marine Adventure!
Please make a tax-deductible contribution to this worthwhile project!
A retired US Marine Corps board member of the Grand Canyon River Runners Association is spearheading a 10-day river rafting trip for 24 active-duty Marines from the Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment.
This will NOT be a float down the river.
Our Marines will paddle through world-class whitewater, explore side canyons and archaeological sites that are known only to river travelers, make camp each night at the rivers edge, and sleep under the stars.
This trip is about being alive, being active, and abandoning limitations.
The trip of a lifetime for the average American, this adventure may well be a life-changing experience for these disabled veterans who face a long and difficult road to recovery after serving and sacrificing for our country.
Donate on-line, or for mail-in and sponsorship information:
The Sponsor: The Grand Canyon River Runners Association, http://www.gcriverrunners.org
a 501 (c.) 3 group working to preserve public access to the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park.
The United States Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment:
http://www.woundedwarriorregiment.org provides and enables assistance to wounded, ill and injured Marines, sailors attached to or in support of Marine units, and their family members in order to assist them as they return to duty or transition to civilian life.
Our Guides: Arizona Raft Adventures:
An authorized concessioner of the National Parks Service in Grand Canyon National Park and a member of the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association. AzRA has extensive experience aiding persons with disabilities in rafting the Colorado River and they will provide the boats, the guides, and the special equipment required to make this trip possible.
Our partner, India Strategic, has provided an interesting look at how a senior US Army commander looks at the future of the US Army in the Asia Pacific region.
According to Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander, US Army Pacific (USARPAC):
“We intend to put into motion a pathway of activity (for the Army) into multiple countries for extended periods of time, linking a series of events and exercises on a variety of topics.”
Units that will see duty in the Pacific region will be a mixture of high-readiness brigades as well as small units of expertise and may include some that are not at the highest readiness level within the Army Force Generation cycle, he said.
The full piece from India Strategic is as follows:
India a critically important player in Asia Pacific: US commander
By Arun Kumar
Washington. Calling India a “critically important player” in the Asia Pacific region, a top US commander would like to increase cooperation between the armies of the two countries besides the ongoing naval cooperation.
Although maritime cooperation is going on with India, Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander, US Army Pacific (USARPAC), “wants to increase land-force cooperation and interoperability as well, as India is a critically important player in the entire region”.
The US is looking ahead to increase the opportunities as much as possible, “which is governed by the pace of our relationship”, said Brooks, who had to cancel his first trip to India earlier this month due to the 16-day US government shutdown.
“The opportunities for defence cooperation between India and the US are abundant,” he said at a press engagement Monday at the Association of the US Army’s 2013 Annual Meeting and Exposition here, according to US Army News Service.
“We are seeking to increase amount of work that we do together. It can be in a number of issues like disaster response, we have done some interoperability in high altitude, for example, our troops in Alaska go to India and train in the mountains,” Brookes said.
Countries throughout the Asia Pacific region are “excited by our increased participation here”, said Brooks, a four-star general.
“We intend to put into motion a pathway of activity (for the Army) into multiple countries for extended periods of time, linking a series of events and exercises on a variety of topics,” he added.
Units that will see duty in the Pacific region will be a mixture of high-readiness brigades as well as small units of expertise and may include some that are not at the highest readiness level within the Army Force Generation cycle, he said.
In the way ahead, Brooks sees an increase in aviation, both manned as well as unmanned, in the region, fully integrated with air assets of the other services.
Missile defence will be fortified as well, he said, as “adversaries are increasing the range and lethality of their surface-to-surface missiles and we’re actively involved in addressing that now”.
© India Strategic
The U.S. has been a Pacific power since the end of the 19th century, and the U.S. entered World War II because of Japan not Germany. The U.S. has been the lynchpin for Pacific defense since the defeat of Japan and has fought two major wars in the Pacific since World War II.
So a Pivot to the Pacific should come as no surprise. However, the dynamics of change in 21st century the Pacific clearly affect the US role and what is expected from it. In addition, new defense technologies and approaches will reshape the entire concept of Pacific defense. The US will shift from its classic projection of power forward into the region to a distributed force structure engaged with allies and seek to be able to provide capabilities enhancing their ability to defend themselves and their interests.
Clearly a key factor is the rise of the PRC as an economic, political and military power which although rooted in the region has global significance. The PRC military is in the throes from benefiting for worldwide arms transfers, global engagements and operations from the Indian Ocean, African and other global locations.
One can argue that this is the beginning rather than the highpoint of PRC global reach, but global reach it is and a Pivot to the Pacific (the term coined by President Obama) alone would be an inadequate global response to the rise of the PRC.
It is also important as well to understand the role of key Pacific powers in the changing Pacific defense dynamic. The Pivot to the Pacific is not ABOUT the United States; it is about a new Pacific defense context INVOLVING the United States.
It is about the Second Nuclear Age and the role of North Korea and China. It is about conflicts among key players in the Pacific maritime region. It is about the shift of China away from a primary “soft power” play to something more threatening to the interests of a number of Pacific powers.
Any U.S. Pivot to the Pacific is occurring in a shifting global context, and not one dominated by the United States. The so-called U.S. pivot to the Pacific really is a response to pressures from US allies. Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia among others feel the pressure from the Chinese and have placed demands on the U.S. to respond. All of these allies are buying the F-35 and many have Aegis missile defense systems, the same missiles being deployed by the Obama Administration in Europe.
Japan is the key ally for the U.S. in dealing with Pacific defense. Indeed, the PRC is driving the two greatest maritime powers of the 20th century into a reinforced alliance. In the recent meetings with Secretary of Defense Hagel, the Japanese highlighted that new F-35s, P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and Global Hawk long-range reconnaissance UAVs would be deployed to Japan. Indeed, by 2020 it is planned to have 5 squadrons of F-35s deployed to Japan, two with the USMC, two with the USAF and one by the Japanese Air Force.
For the United States, the pivot also involves shifts in forces. Notably, the USMC is moving from parts of Japan to Guam and will forward operate from Australia as well. It is also working with the Philippines and Australia to build a light footprint force in the region. This is facilitated by the contributions of the new USMC aircraft, the Osprey that can fly rapidly and at significant range. It can be refueled in flight and is being converted to a refueling platform as well.
Shaping a new military strategy around supporting the allies who are always forward deployed with new collaborative systems, such as the F-35, which can support distributed operations, is a key aspect of forging a 21st century strategy for the US military.
By leveraging the new platforms which are C5ISR enabled and linked by the F-35 across the USN, USMC, USAF and allied FLEETS are new Pacific strategy can be built. And this strategy meets the needs of this century, and the centrality of allied capabilities, not the last decade where the U.S. pushed power forward as needed, or rooted in the defense of South Korea.
A key aspect of the pivot is how the U.S. can play a balancing role. Although some may see this as about the U.S. confrontation with China, it really is about the projection of power by China in the region and Asian reactions. And in these reactions, U.S. allies are looking to the U.S. for new systems and capabilities as well.
In other words, the pivot may be the language of President Obama.
But the rebuilding of Pacific defense is the reality.
The argument introduced here is developed more fully in our new book by Robbin Laird, Ed Timperlake and Richard Weitz, Rebuilding American Military Power in the Pacific: A 21st-Century Strategy (Praeger Publishers, October 28, 2013).
Ed Timperlake and I will be discussing the new book at the forthcoming Air Force Association’s 2013 Pacific Air & Space Symposium in Los Angeles in November 22, 2013 as well.
We are offering the readers of Second Line of Defense a special discount on the book, if they use the following form and ordering code: