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US military's vulnerabilities vs. China, Russia

CBH99

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Weinie, I think you bring up a good point. And one that I've addressed in previous posts, without knowing the answer to.

It may very well go badly for China in the end. But the end of what?

With more shipyards, and those shipyards pumping out ships at a faster rate than American ones, and a government that does not need to debate or play politics with itself (as a democracy such as the US has to) - in addition to being able to engage the enemy closer to their own shores (which also have substantial fire support).... even if the fight does go badly for the Chinese, they will be able learn lessons, rebuild, and pose a similar problem shortly down the road again.


Short term, I agree. I think it would be China's loss in the end.

Long term, I see them learning from the lessons. Rebuilding at a frightening rate. And posing the same danger down the road, if not more capable than they are now.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Perhaps, or maybe the pundits, for lack of anything substantive to opine about, are filling the space.

I am pretty confident that the U.S. has a number of COA's to deal with China in the event of either limited or full on conflict, notwithstanding all the conjecture that has been posed. I am also pretty confident that the PRC knows this, and it may explain why they have been very aggressive in all arenas; diplomatic, economic, informational, regional, when it comes to China/US relations, but have only blustered when it comes to the military.

Several folks on this site have posited that it is only a matter of time before China and the US go at it. That may be true, but I still think it would go badly for the Chinese in the end.
I agree and think that it would go very badly for the Chinese as well. Everyone talks about China's A2AD capability and certainly that allows them to assert control over the SCS but those assets would be of very little value if things went kinetic. There value is more political than anything else.

China is pumping out a lot of ships, on average 6 to 7 major war vessels a year, 1 to 2 submarines a year and many other smaller coastal defence vessels.

The real question is what is the actual quality of these ships and does PLAN actual have the technical and institutional sophistication to use any of that shiny kit effectively?

China has almost no recent combat experience. In fact, the one war the PLA did fight, the Sino-Vietnamese War, they did very poorly despite having vastly superior forces in all aspects. There is something to be said about combat experience and having lots of it, which the Vietnamese certainly did.

I feel a fight against the US Military would have a worse outcome for the Chinese. They would be coming up against a Military force with vastly superior experience in combat and a seasoned warfighting culture.
 

CBH99

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As we all know, quantity has a quality all it's own. And being able to fight close to home, logistics, supporting fires, and supporting aircraft - are all in favour of the Chinese.

As for their A2AD caspabilities - those remain to be seen. Yes, it gives them some political power in regards to SCS matters. But if it also has the ability to rain down anti-ship ballistic missiles in the dozens, or hundreds - that is a kinetic danger that can't be underestimated at first. It would only take one or two of them to hit their targets, and they would most likely be at least mission-kills on the ships they hit.



Do the Americans have superior technology, a more seasoned warfighting culture, and vastly more experience conducting complex operations? Absolutely, they are a well oiled machine.

But the Chinese have the benefit of focusing their efforts on a relatively small geographical area. Whereas the US still insists on having forces all over the place, and hasn't really 'prepared' their fleet for such an undertaking in terms of readiness. (Technology, sure. But readiness? Iffy)

I.e., The US insists on using it's supercarriers far more often than they need to be used, and that has led to a massive backlog in carrier maintainence, with a majority of the Nimitz class fleet currently down & in various states of repair/maintenance.
 

Kirkhill

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In commenting on the British defence budget on D&B's British Military Current Events I noted the switch to long range missiles and the presence of the 40,000 islands of the western pacific in which to hide them.

A bit more digging got me to noticing a common tendency: Raytheon.

Raytheon produces the following systems

SPY-6
Aegis
Patriot
NASAMS
C-RAM
Phalanx

Standard SM-6
Standard SM-3
Standard SM-2
ESSM
AMRAAM AIM-120
Peregrine BVRAAM
Sidewinder
Sea RAM
Stinger

It has also produced the current US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin - AKA "the, the, ah former general. I keep calling him general, but my, my — the guy who runs that outfit over there,"

Is it fair to talk about a Raytheon Strategy - a forward based "Iron Dome" designed to contain and control inimical forces?

Prototypes are already in the place on the Black Sea (Romania) , the Baltic and Japan (Aegis Ashore)


The Hypersonic market seems to have been designated to Lockheed Martin while Northrop Grumman has got the ICBM upgrade.
 

Kirkhill

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And while on the subject of missiles, and in particular Raytheon, their suite includes

Javelin (127 mm)

Griffin (140 mm)
Carl Gustaf Guided Munition (84 mm)
Pike (40 mm)

What is noteworthy about the last three is that they are all SAL guided - meaning they require a laser designator.
Pike is launched from the H&K M320 GL underslung on a C7, with a separate laser attached to the same C7. Apparently it is currently in services with CanSOF.

Other SAL weapons include the 180mm Hellfire and Brimstone suites of Lockheed and MBDA, now supplemented by the Spear 3 missile (130 km range from an F35 or Typhoon). These can all be salvoed and autonomously targeted.

What is the effect of a Hypersonic vehicle delivering a mixed load of SPEARS, Griffins, CGGMs and Pikes to the battlefield where the platoons' 40mm grenadiers and CG-84 gunners are also laser designators?

What could these developments mean for the future roles and kit requirements of the LIBs and the SOF types?
 

daftandbarmy

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And while on the subject of missiles, and in particular Raytheon, their suite includes

Javelin (127 mm)

Griffin (140 mm)
Carl Gustaf Guided Munition (84 mm)
Pike (40 mm)

What is noteworthy about the last three is that they are all SAL guided - meaning they require a laser designator.
Pike is launched from the H&K M320 GL underslung on a C7, with a separate laser attached to the same C7. Apparently it is currently in services with CanSOF.

Other SAL weapons include the 180mm Hellfire and Brimstone suites of Lockheed and MBDA, now supplemented by the Spear 3 missile (130 km range from an F35 or Typhoon). These can all be salvoed and autonomously targeted.

What is the effect of a Hypersonic vehicle delivering a mixed load of SPEARS, Griffins, CGGMs and Pikes to the battlefield where the platoons' 40mm grenadiers and CG-84 gunners are also laser designators?

What could these developments mean for the future roles and kit requirements of the LIBs and the SOF types?

It's instructive to have a look at these islands with sovereignty in mind.

The majority of the South China Sea islands are Vietnamese (France) and the remainder are either Filipino (US) or Malaysian (UK).


I suspect that we'll see an influx of re-roled Marines (US, UK, Fr, NL) with hypersonic ground based missiles to interfere with China's efforts. Here's an indication of some recent French activity in the region, which you don't hear much about because, well, 'France': https://www.france24.com/en/france/...uth-china-sea-with-a-nuclear-attack-submarine

Of course, following, we'll see a big uptick in PRC insurgency activity in the SEA region...
 

Kirkhill

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In commenting on the British defence budget on D&B's British Military Current Events I noted the switch to long range missiles and the presence of the 40,000 islands of the western pacific in which to hide them.

A bit more digging got me to noticing a common tendency: Raytheon.

Raytheon produces the following systems

SPY-6
Aegis
Patriot
NASAMS
C-RAM
Phalanx

Standard SM-6
Standard SM-3
Standard SM-2
ESSM
AMRAAM AIM-120
Peregrine BVRAAM
Sidewinder
Sea RAM
Stinger

It has also produced the current US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin - AKA "the, the, ah former general. I keep calling him general, but my, my — the guy who runs that outfit over there,"

Is it fair to talk about a Raytheon Strategy - a forward based "Iron Dome" designed to contain and control inimical forces?

Prototypes are already in the place on the Black Sea (Romania) , the Baltic and Japan (Aegis Ashore)


The Hypersonic market seems to have been designated to Lockheed Martin while Northrop Grumman has got the ICBM upgrade.


Lockheed Martin Shutters 2 Navy Plants, Heralding New Technology On The Waterfront​


Lockheed Martin's Middle River Plant is set to close in two years.


Lockheed Martin's Middle River Plant is set to close in two years.
LOCKHEED MARTIN
Anticipating big changes in naval warfare, Lockheed Martin LMT -1.8% announced the impending closure of two manufacturing plants focusing on the Freedom class Littoral Combat Ship, the Mk 48 heavyweight torpedo and the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System.


Lockheed Martin is responsible for the F35, the MRLS/Himars systems and the Hypersonic programmes.

The Freedom LCS is the USN's monohull version which was a late entry into the LCS game and an early problem child with a fore-shortened delivery plan.

The Independence LCS is the Aussie trimaran, based on the Austal JHSV technology adopted by the USMC and the US Army, and with a lengthened production run. The Army and Marines were relieved of responsibility for the JHSV by the USN who transferred them to the civilian manned Military Sealift Command. The JHSV contract is also extended to produce MRTs and Ambs for the LCS/JHSV fleet.



 

Kirkhill

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Meanwhile the USMC/USN are moving to another Australian product as a large, long-range Ship-to-Shore connector

E266 (1).jpg

australian-landing-craft.fc65bf.jpg



Designed to operate with the USMC's Littoral Regiments centered on the 185 km, 400 kg Raytheon-Kongsberg NSM launched from unmanned Oshkosh JLTVs.



USMC-will-likely-integrate-the-NSM-on-unmanned-JLTV-ROGUE-Fires-vehicle.jpg

SAS-2019-NSM-missile-now-part-of-US-Marine-Corps-force-structure.jpg

So....

An island based campaign to establish a No-Go area in the South China Seas exploiting China's failure to make friends with its neighbours.

USMC replaces island based Hellcat and Corsair raider squadrons with NSM batteries.
Higgins Boats are replaced with JHSVs and Light Amphibious Warships.
LCS replaces PT boats.
All operated under an umbrella of a Raytheon, Aegis based "Iron Dome".

By 2023.
 

MarkOttawa

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Note desire to chop old systems to take on PRC (and Russia):

New Pentagon No. 2 Hits China In First Speech As Tensions Rise

Beijing represents “a threat to regional peace and stability, and to the rules based international order on which our security and prosperity, and those of our allies, depend,” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said​


Capping a tense week in US-China relationships, recently confirmed Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks used her first public remarks today to take aim directly at China. But she also had a warning for American defense bureaucrats and contractors, emphasizing that to compete with China, the Pentagon must make “difficult choices” in jettisoning older weapons systems to make room for modern force [emphasis added].

By threatening neighbors in the Pacific region and using predatory economic practices, Beijing represents “a threat to regional peace and stability, and to the rules based international order on which our security and prosperity, and those of our allies depend,” Hicks told students at the National Defense University.

Hicks’ remarks come a day after a surprisingly tense and angry exchange between top US and Chinese officials at a highly-anticipated summit in Alaska, where the two sides met in their first high-level face to face of the Biden administration.

Underpinning the new administration’s focus on China, last Friday President Biden met virtually with leaders of Australia, India, and Japan, known as the Quad. While the word “China” never appears in the official transcript, Biden took the opportunity to push for “stability” in “a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

This week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been criss-crossing the Indo-Pacific region, landing in India Friday during a multi-day swing that also took him from Japan to South Korea, where he huddled with allies also confronting an aggressive China. While in Seoul, Austin that the United States and allies “have a lot to look forward to as together we address global security challenges and engage in a long term strategic competition with China.”

Hicks continued that blunt line of talk. Speaking virtually from the Pentagon, the DepSecDef said Beijing “has demonstrated increased military confidence and a willingness to take risks, and it has adopted a more coercive and aggressive approach to the Indo-Pacific region.”

She ticked off examples in which “Beijing escalated tensions between itself and a number of its neighbors,” including Australia, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, and the deadly confrontation between Chinese and Indian troops along their border last year...

Hicks is taking lead on a number of issues relating to the 2022 defense budget, including a new multi-billion dollar missile defense system that is sitting on her desk awaiting approval.

With the ‘22 budget expected to come in at about $703 to $708 billion — or equal to the 2021 budget — there will have to be some hard choices made within the Pentagon about what to prioritize, as the budget is unlikely to increase enough to keep up with inflation. One major point of contention will be the Navy’s shipbuilding budget, which many expect to rise as the service tries to build new submarines, frigates, and unmanned ships to counter the rapid expansions of the Chinese navy.

“Making room for new capabilities will require difficult choices where the nation’s security needs are no longer being met,” Hicks said
[emphasis added]. “The department will work closely with Congress to phase out systems and approaches optimized for an earlier era.”

That alliance with Congress on getting rid of older weapons systems — aircraft, armored vehicles, or again ships — will be complicated, as lawmakers have rarely shown themselves willing to zero out any major piece of military equipment that provides jobs and feeds multi-state supply chains that cut across districts.
Mark
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MarkOttawa

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An extended island-hopping campaign with the army following on the Marines? Really? Note final para quoted:

‘Soldiers aren’t fighting Marines for a job in the Indo-Pacific, chief says​

The Army’s interests in the Indo-Pacific region have some wondering whether soldiers are wading into Marine territory, but the Army’s top officer dismissed those concerns Tuesday [March 30], saying the two services would bring complimentary capabilities to a fight in that part of the world.

The Marine Corps is overhauling its force so it can quickly move expeditionary units between islands in the South and East China seas and within range of Chinese forces. The recipe calls for a lighter and more mobile Corps than what existed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Army is going through similar changes to prepare for any possible confrontation with a great power.

Both services are developing long-range fires and anti-ship missiles, but Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville believes the differences lie in mobility.

“The systems we’re developing are more along the lines of a campaign rather than a quick expeditionary-type,” McConville said during a Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion Tuesday.

“I don’t see us as in competition with the Marine Corps,” he added. “They have roles and missions that are extremely important, as does the United States Army.”

The Corps is ditching its tanks and cutting down on the number of tube artillery batteries it owns. In return, Marines are creating a new littoral regiment, building more mobile rocket batteries and putting ship-killer missiles on Joint Light Tactical Vehicles.

Similarly, long-range fires is the Army’s top modernization priority, and the service is expecting some of those investments to start coming to the force in 2023, including the first hypersonic weapon, precision strike missiles and a prototype mid-range missile.

Army Pacific commander Gen. Paul LaCamera, who was also present during the CSIS discussion, said the difference also lies in the “mass” that the Army can bring to war.

If the Marines are “there first and we come in behind them, that allows them to continue to move on,” LaCamera said. “It’s really based on, ‘how do we work well within the concept of design that the commander of INDOPACOM” is using during a war…’
Soldiers aren’t fighting Marines for a job in the Indo-Pacific, chief says
Mark
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FJAG

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An extended island-hopping campaign with the army following on the Marines? Really? Note final para quoted:
.... Army Pacific commander Gen. Paul LaCamera, who was also present during the CSIS discussion, said the difference also lies in the “mass” that the Army can bring to war.

If the Marines are “there first and we come in behind them, that allows them to continue to move on,” LaCamera said. “It’s really based on, ‘how do we work well within the concept of design that the commander of INDOPACOM” is using during a war…’

Mark
Ottawa

I ran across Gen Paul LaCamera's name when I wrote a novel on Operation ANACONDA in the Shah-I-Kot valley in Mar 2002. LaCamera commanded the 1-87th Inf (from the 10th Mtn Div) which air assaulted into a position at the foot of Kakur Ghar (on top of which the Robert's Ridge incident took place). The 1-87th had a very major fight there but eventually was able to withdraw from a very perilous situation without any fatalities.

LaCamera went of from there to command the 3rd Bn of the 75th Ranger Regt, the 75th Ranger Regt itself, the 4th Infantry Div (1 ABCT/ 2SBCTs) and finally the XVIII Airborne Corps. On top of that he's had staff positions as Director of Operations, Joint Special Operations Command from 2007 to 2009. In 2009, he became the Assistant Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command. From 2010 to 2012, LaCamera served as the Deputy Commanding General (Operations), 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii.

In short the man has a tremendous amount of experience with everything from light infantry, to airborne, to mechanized, to Ranger to Tier 1 special operations. Service with the 25th Inf Div would have also put him into close contact with the Marines and the Navy.

Off hand, I'd say that if anyone knows what he's doing in this new environment that the US Army faces in the Pacific then LaCamera would probably be that guy.

🍻
 

MarkOttawa

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Off hand, I'd say that if anyone knows what he's doing in this new environment that the US Army faces in the Pacific then LaCamera would probably be that guy.
Meanwhile what the Marines are thinking (and US Army to follow after them? Still seems to me there needs to be a lot more coordination to avoid equipment and missions duplication):

Historic Marine Plan to Reinvent The Corps EXCLUSIVE

The document outlines an evolving effort to stand up a series of small, agile units tasked with air defense, anti-ship and submarine warfare, and seizing, holding and resupplying ad hoc bases to support an island-hopping campaign in the Pacific.​

An ambitious new Marine Corps planning document outlines historic changes in how the service plans to equip, organize, and train over the next decade to meet the challenges of Chinese and Russian competition, ushering in changes not seen since the 1920s.

The unreleased 180-page document is meant as a first iteration of an effort to create a series of small, agile units tasked with air defense, anti-ship and submarine warfare, and seizing, holding and resupplying small temporary bases as part of an island-hopping campaign in the Pacific [emphasis added].

The Tentative Manual For Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations, a copy of which was obtained by Breaking Defense, calls for putting into practice by 2030 the vision Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger has been hinting at for years. There are plans for small, ad hoc bases to launch missiles and refuel and resupply tropps on the move. New generations of precision-guided missiles to sink ships. Classes of manned and unmanned ships to both shoot and quickly ferry troops and supplies amid contested islands, and partnerships with the Navy and special operations troops to secure shipping lanes and austere outposts.

“The scale of the problem today cannot be met by merely refining current methods and capabilities,” the authors proclaim, opening the door for their demand to overhaul of how the Corps does business.

Their solution suggests there will be a unique list of demands in the 2022 budget coming this spring, and the five-year projection that accompanies it.

On the equipment side, the assumptions are sweeping and significant, putting a range of new and developmental gear into the field quickly and at scale.

By 2030, the Marines call for having over 100 Long Range Unmanned Surface Vessels (LRUSV) in the fleet, performing surveillance and strike missions using small, precision-guided drones capable of loitering over targets before hitting their target[emphasis added]. The Corps recently contracted with Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark to start building the first LRUSVs, which look to be a version of the company’s 11-meter ships.

Those ships will be joined by larger, crewed Light Amphibious Warships which are “envisioned as the principal littoral maneuver vessel” for units working amid small islands or jumping between archipelagos to deny an enemy fixed targets to strike. The ships will deliver personnel and equipment to relatively shallow inlets and keep the troops on the ground from having to rely on ground resupply.

The manned and unmanned ships will be loosely configured within Littoral Maneuver Squadrons, which also include “next-general logistics ships, and other connectors that enable movement of the littoral force” quickly and relatively stealthily.

Significantly for the emerging Marine vision to support the Navy at sea from agile land-based batteries, the new plan also calls for standing up 14 new precision strike batteries dubbed NMESIS (Navy-Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System). By 2030, the Marines call for 252 launchers stacked with hundreds of Naval Strike Missiles, a powerful threat to hold enemy ships out of the 115 mile range of the missile. The Corps’ launchers consist of an unmanned JLTV chassis with a HIMARS-like launcher firing the precision missile [emphasis added].

Those ships will help support a litany of new units, which have gone unnamed until now.

Berger and other Marine leaders have long talked about standing up three Marine Littoral Regiments in the Indo-Pacific within the next several years, but the new document fleshes out what the units falling under that umbrella will look like by 2030.

Those units include Littoral Combat Teams, Littoral Logistics Battalions, and Littoral Antiair Battalions. These units are at the heart of the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) concept the Corps has been developing.

“I’d ask folks to stretch out their brains for us and think of EABO much wider than” a ground support battery for the fleet, Berger said late last year. “I think a huge aspect of how we’re going to use EABO going forward is what the naval force might call scouting and counter-scouting, or the Army calls reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance” deep inside contested areas.

The combat team, about the size of the battalion, will be tasked with running multiple small bases “that are conducting sustained operations to enable fleet operations via sea denial,” including outposts responsible for re-arming and refueling forces in the region as well as “conducting major combat operations
[emphasis added].”

Littoral Antiair Battalions will play a key role in protecting and supporting troops deployed within the range of advanced aircraft and precision weapons. The units “will be a composite battalion that includes elements from the Marine wing support squadron, Marine wing communications squadron, Marine air support squadron, Marine air control squadron, and ground-based air defense.”..

To pay for these new drones, ships, and missiles, Berger has said he plans to divest of the Corps’ inventory of Abrams tanks and shed 12,000 Marines, along with towed artillery, aircraft and helicopters. He has also pledged to reduce the number of F-35s in squadrons while questioning the role the aircraft will play in his plans going forward. Those ideas will now run into the desires of members of Congress with jobs, and prestige at home, on the line.

Mark
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FJAG

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Meanwhile what the Marines are thinking (and US Army to follow after them? Still seems to me there needs to be a lot more coordination to avoid equipment and missions duplication):

Mark
Ottawa

I would expect that the coordination is ongoing albeit tinged with the usual interservice rivalry.

During WW2 there seemed to be a general division of labour which had the Marines doing the amphibious assaults while the Army provided the bulk of the follow up forces that landed into secured beachheads and completed securing the island/country etc and established secure logistics and airfield nodes from which to expand further.

Much of the future is just high level navel gazing with strategy, tactics and division of roles to be decided by the capability of the new weapon systems coming on line. Air defence (particulalry anti-missile defence) will play a big part as will long range (particulalry anti-ship) strike capabilities. Added to this will be some form of close-in local security for installations and a suite of offensive and defensive EW and cyber tools and the usual signals and logistic enablers.

I see no particular reason why there cannot be duplication of these weapon suites with the Marine role being more in line with accompanying the fleets and conducting the amphibious taking and securing of the more forward areas portion while the Army moves in behind the Marines or even ahead into already secure countries and installs and runs more secure areas in depth. That way more assets can be deployed but the Marine portion can be used for the more mobile, amphibious operations.

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MarkOttawa

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USAF not best pleased with US Army's new focus on long-range fires:

Air Force general says of Army’s long range precision fires goal: ‘It’s stupid’​


The U.S. Air Force general in charge of managing the service’s bomber inventory slammed the Army’s new plan to base long-range missiles in the Pacific, calling the idea expensive, duplicative and “stupid.”

“Why in the world would we entertain a brutally expensive idea when we don’t, as the [Defense] Department, have the money to go do that?” Gen. Timothy Ray, who leads Air Force Global Strike Command, said during the Mitchell Institute’s Aerospace Advantage podcast recorded March 31.

“I’ve had a few congressmen ask me. And you know what? Honestly I think it’s stupid,” he said. “I just think it’s a stupid idea to go and invest that kind of money that recreates something that the service has mastered and that we’re doing already right now. Why in the world would you try that? I try to make sure that my language isn’t a little more colorful than it is, but give me a break.”

The long-range precision fires effort currently ranks as the Army’s top modernization priority, and the service has plans to field a ground-launched hypersonic missile system by 2023.

In March, the Army unveiled a new strategy paper laying out its plan to function as an “inside force” that would forward-deploy troops and ground-based missiles in the Pacific capable of destroying Chinese defenses.

Developing strategic counterfire and hypersonic weapons is “hugely important” for the Army to be able to neutralize ships, air defenses, and anti-access/area denial capabilities that could suppress the service’s maneuverability, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said during a March 25 event at the Brookings Institute...[read on]
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GR66

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While I understand the USMC's shift to light and dispersed for operations against China from a tactical point of view, I'm not sure I'm convinced from a strategic point of view.

What's the plan? Drop small, mobile groups of Marines onto the numerous small islands of the Spratly and Paracel Island chains where they can launch their mobile missiles against Chinese ships and aircraft in range?

Taiping Island is the largest island in the Spratly Islands at 110 acres - mostly runway and is currently administered by Taiwan. The total land area of the Spratly Islands is about 490 acres. The 130 coral islands and reefs of the Paracel Islands only have 7.5 sq. km. (1850 acres) of land area between them. Woody Island is the largest at about 2.1 sq. km (520 acres) and is controlled by China and has a population of about 1,000. By far the largest of the uninhabited Senkaku Islands (Uotsuri Island) is 4.32 sq. km (1070 acres) with a total land area of the Senkaku chain being 7 sq. km (1700 acres).

That's a total land area of all three of these island chains combined of 4040 acres. By comparison CFB Edmonton has an area of about 25.5 sq. km (6300 acres).

If war were to break out between China and the US wouldn't it be easier to simply blast any of these tiny specks of land that show any signs of enemy activity, fire anything, or emit anything EM with heavy missiles that have much longer range than anything mobile that the Chinese or Marines could move to the islands...and interdict the airspace and seas around them to prevent any resupply? I think it would be far easier to deny the use of these islands by your enemy than to take and hold them with your own forces and keep them supplied and combat effective.

If the Chinese move beyond the First Island Chain to the larger islands of Japan, The Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia proper then I think the whole calculus of the conflict is different. What advantage is it to China to invade larger, populated islands of their neighbours? Unless they continue on with a full invasion of the largest, most highly populated islands in order to defeat the nations outright then they'd be faced with having to defend their gains permanently. Capture part of the Japanese islands? Some of the Philippines? Half of Malaysia? If the Chinese have to go all in for conquest of their neighbours then maybe light, mobile forces are NOT the solution. The Chinese would have to deliver their land forces by air or sea so we'd likely be better off facing their light forces with heavier forces on our side.

There are two other scenarios that are different. The Chinese could continue to "creep" forward in the First Island Chain. Building up uninhabited reefs, bullying foreign fishing vessels out of the waters, etc. The question is, would the US fire on Chinese fishing vessels? Coast Guard ships? "Civilian" construction crews? Is the US going to go to war with China over a tiny rock in the South China Seas? I'm guessing that China is betting no. And is initiating open war by re-taking some of these rocks with the USMC a wise political/strategic option?

The other scenario of course is Taiwan. Light forces might be able to deploy to Taiwan more quickly than heavier forces, but being so close to China the transports (small and fast or large and slow) will all be at risk from attack en route. Air and Sea forces would likely be the best initial response to try and counter an attempted Chinese landing as well as their re-supply after an invasion. Land forces like the USMC would likely be too busy fighting the ground fight (where tanks and artillery might be more use than anti-ship missiles) to spend much effort focusing on Chinese naval targets.

The bigger question is will/should the US (and the West) go to war over a Chinese invasion of Taiwan? Unlike the other territories discussed above, Taiwan IS Chinese territory. It's just controlled by the losing faction of the Chinese civil war. The PRC categorically considers Taiwan as an integral part of China...not an historically integral part of a greater China. To Beijing Taiwan IS China. As such they don't see an invasion of Taiwan as expansion or invasion of a foreign territory. It is re-integration of a rebel-held portion of China into the country. Western interference in what China considers an internal matter would clearly categorize us as "enemies" taking side in their civil war rather than as "rivals". It would be like Russia backing Quebec if they were to separate.

While I totally sympathize with the Taiwanese people and their aspirations for freedoms that they wouldn't have as part of the PRC (same goes for Hong Kong), I'm not sure I am willing to send my children off to war to take sides in that fight. And it's a fight that would NEVER end as long as there is a PRC. If a Chinese invasion is pushed back we'd have to continue to defend the island forever.
 

MilEME09

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While I understand the USMC's shift to light and dispersed for operations against China from a tactical point of view, I'm not sure I'm convinced from a strategic point of view.

What's the plan? Drop small, mobile groups of Marines onto the numerous small islands of the Spratly and Paracel Island chains where they can launch their mobile missiles against Chinese ships and aircraft in range?

Taiping Island is the largest island in the Spratly Islands at 110 acres - mostly runway and is currently administered by Taiwan. The total land area of the Spratly Islands is about 490 acres. The 130 coral islands and reefs of the Paracel Islands only have 7.5 sq. km. (1850 acres) of land area between them. Woody Island is the largest at about 2.1 sq. km (520 acres) and is controlled by China and has a population of about 1,000. By far the largest of the uninhabited Senkaku Islands (Uotsuri Island) is 4.32 sq. km (1070 acres) with a total land area of the Senkaku chain being 7 sq. km (1700 acres).

That's a total land area of all three of these island chains combined of 4040 acres. By comparison CFB Edmonton has an area of about 25.5 sq. km (6300 acres).

If war were to break out between China and the US wouldn't it be easier to simply blast any of these tiny specks of land that show any signs of enemy activity, fire anything, or emit anything EM with heavy missiles that have much longer range than anything mobile that the Chinese or Marines could move to the islands...and interdict the airspace and seas around them to prevent any resupply? I think it would be far easier to deny the use of these islands by your enemy than to take and hold them with your own forces and keep them supplied and combat effective.

If the Chinese move beyond the First Island Chain to the larger islands of Japan, The Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia proper then I think the whole calculus of the conflict is different. What advantage is it to China to invade larger, populated islands of their neighbours? Unless they continue on with a full invasion of the largest, most highly populated islands in order to defeat the nations outright then they'd be faced with having to defend their gains permanently. Capture part of the Japanese islands? Some of the Philippines? Half of Malaysia? If the Chinese have to go all in for conquest of their neighbours then maybe light, mobile forces are NOT the solution. The Chinese would have to deliver their land forces by air or sea so we'd likely be better off facing their light forces with heavier forces on our side.

There are two other scenarios that are different. The Chinese could continue to "creep" forward in the First Island Chain. Building up uninhabited reefs, bullying foreign fishing vessels out of the waters, etc. The question is, would the US fire on Chinese fishing vessels? Coast Guard ships? "Civilian" construction crews? Is the US going to go to war with China over a tiny rock in the South China Seas? I'm guessing that China is betting no. And is initiating open war by re-taking some of these rocks with the USMC a wise political/strategic option?

The other scenario of course is Taiwan. Light forces might be able to deploy to Taiwan more quickly than heavier forces, but being so close to China the transports (small and fast or large and slow) will all be at risk from attack en route. Air and Sea forces would likely be the best initial response to try and counter an attempted Chinese landing as well as their re-supply after an invasion. Land forces like the USMC would likely be too busy fighting the ground fight (where tanks and artillery might be more use than anti-ship missiles) to spend much effort focusing on Chinese naval targets.

The bigger question is will/should the US (and the West) go to war over a Chinese invasion of Taiwan? Unlike the other territories discussed above, Taiwan IS Chinese territory. It's just controlled by the losing faction of the Chinese civil war. The PRC categorically considers Taiwan as an integral part of China...not an historically integral part of a greater China. To Beijing Taiwan IS China. As such they don't see an invasion of Taiwan as expansion or invasion of a foreign territory. It is re-integration of a rebel-held portion of China into the country. Western interference in what China considers an internal matter would clearly categorize us as "enemies" taking side in their civil war rather than as "rivals". It would be like Russia backing Quebec if they were to separate.

While I totally sympathize with the Taiwanese people and their aspirations for freedoms that they wouldn't have as part of the PRC (same goes for Hong Kong), I'm not sure I am willing to send my children off to war to take sides in that fight. And it's a fight that would NEVER end as long as there is a PRC. If a Chinese invasion is pushed back we'd have to continue to defend the island forever.


Taiwan has never been Chinese territory, not communist any way. We sacrificed Tibet to China, Crimea to Russia, if we let china invade a sovereign nation and take it over, we fail as a nation and none of the west's treaties would be worth anything. The PRC has never exerted any control over the ROC, but because we have been courting China for decades for business purposes we have isolated the Republic of China. That policy has only lead to China growing stronger. In a war against China, the RoC will be a crucial strategic objective to hold in order to split PLAN naval control between the south and east China seas.
 
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GR66

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Taiwan has never been Chinese territory, not communist any way. We sacrificed Tibet to China, Crimea to Russia, if we let china invade a sovereign nation and take it over, we fail as a nation and none of the west's treaties would be worth anything. The PRC has never exerted any control over the ROC, but because we have been courting China for decades for business purposes we have isolated the Republic of China. That policy has only lead to China growing stronger. In a war against China, the RoC will be a crucial strategic objective to hold in order to split PLAN naval control between the south and east China seas.
From Wikipedia:

"In 1662, Koxinga, a loyalist of the Ming dynasty who had lost control of mainland China in 1644, defeated the Dutch and established a base of operations on the island. His forces were defeated by the Qing dynasty in 1683, and parts of Taiwan became increasingly integrated into the Qing empire. Following the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, the Qing ceded the island, along with Penghu, to the Empire of Japan. Taiwan produced rice and sugar to be exported to the Empire of Japan, and also served as a base for the Japanese invasion of Southeast Asia and the Pacific during World War II. Japanese imperial education was implemented in Taiwan and many Taiwanese also fought for Japan during the war.

In 1945, following the end of World War II, the nationalist government of the Republic of China (ROC), led by the Kuomintang (KMT), took control of Taiwan. In 1949, after losing control of mainland China in the Chinese Civil War, the ROC government under the KMT withdrew to Taiwan and Chiang Kai-shek declared martial law. The KMT ruled Taiwan (along with the Islands of Kinmen, Wuqiu and the Matsu on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait) as a single-party state for forty years, until democratic reforms in the 1980s, which led to the first-ever direct presidential election in 1996."

So, like many East Asian nations it was controlled by Western powers (in this case the Dutch) in the 1600's. But from 1662 until 1895 it was part of the Ming/Qing Dynasties of CHINA. It was occupied by the Japanese after the Sino-Japanese war in 1895 and ceded back to the Republic of CHINA as part of the peace agreement in 1945 (Nationalist Government of China...but China nonetheless). After the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek lost the Chinese civil war the Republic of CHINA continued to rule the island while the communist forces took control over the mainland.

So I'd argue your claim that "Taiwan has never been Chinese territory". Agreed that the communists never ruled it, but that would be like saying that if rather than total defeat, the US Confederacy and retreated and held on to just Florida that Florida was never part of the United States.

It is of note that only 14 Nations recognize the Republic of China with full diplomatic relations....and that does not include the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, The Philippines, any EU or NATO members. This is part of the "One China Policy". And as per the Shanghai Communique of 1972 "the United States acknowledges that Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States does not challenge that position."

In fact, the ROC Constitution itself claims the territory of the Republic of China encompasses ALL of the territories of the Republic of China as defined when their Constitution was written in 1947 which includes both mainland China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and the island of Taiwan. They refer to the areas under their control as the "Free area of the Republic of China".

A very messy situation and as I said I totally sympathize with the people of Taiwan, but even their own government views themselves as Chinese. I just question if this is a civil war we wish to fight (again).
 

Weinie

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From Wikipedia:

"In 1662, Koxinga, a loyalist of the Ming dynasty who had lost control of mainland China in 1644, defeated the Dutch and established a base of operations on the island. His forces were defeated by the Qing dynasty in 1683, and parts of Taiwan became increasingly integrated into the Qing empire. Following the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, the Qing ceded the island, along with Penghu, to the Empire of Japan. Taiwan produced rice and sugar to be exported to the Empire of Japan, and also served as a base for the Japanese invasion of Southeast Asia and the Pacific during World War II. Japanese imperial education was implemented in Taiwan and many Taiwanese also fought for Japan during the war.

In 1945, following the end of World War II, the nationalist government of the Republic of China (ROC), led by the Kuomintang (KMT), took control of Taiwan. In 1949, after losing control of mainland China in the Chinese Civil War, the ROC government under the KMT withdrew to Taiwan and Chiang Kai-shek declared martial law. The KMT ruled Taiwan (along with the Islands of Kinmen, Wuqiu and the Matsu on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait) as a single-party state for forty years, until democratic reforms in the 1980s, which led to the first-ever direct presidential election in 1996."


So, like many East Asian nations it was controlled by Western powers (in this case the Dutch) in the 1600's. But from 1662 until 1895 it was part of the Ming/Qing Dynasties of CHINA. It was occupied by the Japanese after the Sino-Japanese war in 1895 and ceded back to the Republic of CHINA as part of the peace agreement in 1945 (Nationalist Government of China...but China nonetheless). After the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek lost the Chinese civil war the Republic of CHINA continued to rule the island while the communist forces took control over the mainland.

So I'd argue your claim that "Taiwan has never been Chinese territory". Agreed that the communists never ruled it, but that would be like saying that if rather than total defeat, the US Confederacy and retreated and held on to just Florida that Florida was never part of the United States.

It is of note that only 14 Nations recognize the Republic of China with full diplomatic relations....and that does not include the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, The Philippines, any EU or NATO members. This is part of the "One China Policy". And as per the Shanghai Communique of 1972 "the United States acknowledges that Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States does not challenge that position."

In fact, the ROC Constitution itself claims the territory of the Republic of China encompasses ALL of the territories of the Republic of China as defined when their Constitution was written in 1947 which includes both mainland China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and the island of Taiwan. They refer to the areas under their control as the "Free area of the Republic of China".

A very messy situation and as I said I totally sympathize with the people of Taiwan, but even their own government views themselves as Chinese. I just question if this is a civil war we wish to fight (again).
So we just agree on the nine-dash line, and allow the PRC to run roughshod by relying on "self defined historical' interpretations.

Can the UK then reclaim most of the continent of North America, the Spanish a good chunk of South America, and the Dutch the West Indies, based on real life historical activities?

Asking for a friend.
 

Kirkhill

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My sense is that the Marine strategy is more one of containment - I dont think they will be putting NSMs on the Spratly's but instead will be scattering them around the first string of islands of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and places like Brunei and Malaysia. Possibly Vietnam and Indonesia.

Plugging up straits and holding the Chinese into the South China Seas and the Yellow Sea and reversing the Area Denial problem. The NSM/JLTV/Lt Amphib/LRUSV screen will degrade the performance of the Chinese surface fleet. The Anti-Air Battalion could reduce the ability of the Chinese to use their own missiles effectively.

Behind the Marine screen, on the open water side of the islands, perhaps we could see the USN 40 knot littoral assets operating - in a logistic support fashion and also for plugging gaps penetrated by the Fishing Boat Militia?

The Blue Water fleet would likely be standing well out of range in the vicinity of Hawaii?

I'm assuming a new Cold War - a forty year blockade - rather than a re-run of WW2.

The US gets a do-over tackling the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. This time with the Chinese in charge.
 
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