WASHINGTON – US military officials have outlined a new spending request to strengthen deterrence against China, including new weapons, new builds and closer military cooperation with American allies in the region.
A report by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command presented to Congress on Monday provides for additional spending of around $ 27 billion between 2022 and 2027. with $ 4.6 billion for the next year alone. With some important changes from last year’s proposal, the request calls for new missiles and air defenses, radar systems, staging areas, information exchange centers, supply depots and test areas across the region, as well as exercises with allies and partners.
The new proposal is the Pentagon’s first since Congress introduced the Pacific Deterrence Initiative in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021. Last year’s version of the report from Indo-Pacom Commander Adm. Philip Davidson, suggested spending $ 18.5 billion by 2026 and formed the basis for the PDI.
“The requirements set out in this report are intended to convince potential adversaries that preventive military measures are too costly and likely to fail by projecting credible combat effectiveness at the time of crisis,” an unclassified summary from Defense News said. “This includes providing several flexible deterrent options, including full ones [operational plan] Execution if deterrence fails. “
Days after a Pentagon memo highlighting long-range fires as an acquisition priority for the upcoming 2022 budget, Indo-Pacom’s report once again calls for a network of ground-based long-range missiles with a range of more than 500 kilometers to protect aircraft and ships. China has an overwhelming advantage in land-based cruises and ballistic missiles.
The report comes days after President Joe Biden announced plans for the Pentagon to review its national security strategy for China, recognizing that the US is facing increasing challenges from China’s modernized and more assertive military. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has committed to a new approach.
At his Senate confirmation hearing last month, Austin said he was in favor of a recent Pentagon report that China’s goal is to develop a military by 2050 that is equal to and in some ways superior to that of the United States. In written responses to Congress, Austin, PDI named a “useful tool” that he would work with Congress to implement.
“There is no question that we in the Indo-Pacific need a more resilient and dispersed armed forces stance to respond to China’s capabilities and counter-intervention approaches supported by new operational approaches,” Austin said before his confirmation. “If this is confirmed, I will review our stance in the Indo-Pacific, including our presence, capabilities, logistics, exercises, infrastructure and capacity building, and working with allies and partners.”
This year’s $ 574 million “Logistics and Security Promoters” package included a $ 226 million “Information Operations” proposal that increased “Malicious Control Propaganda Tools” fivefold from the previous year. Also includes a new $ 44 million request for “Electromagnetic Warfare … and Intelligence Assistance in Exploiting, Assaulting, Protecting, and Managing Military Activities”.
The Defense Ministry has determined that if China used military force against Taiwan, it would likely complement its air and sea blockade operations with disruptive and network attacks and intelligence operations to isolate the Taiwanese authorities and the population while controlling the international narrative of the conflict.
Indo-Pacom again called on the US to build a permanent and integrated 360-degree air defense capacity in Guam of $ 1.6 billion, supported by a $ 200 million high-frequency radar system for Pulau and a constellation of space-based radars worth $ 2.3 billion is supported. In addition, long-range ground-based fires with a range of more than 500 kilometers worth $ 3.3 billion are proposed to create “viable precision strike networks along the First Island Chain”.
Davidson said his top priority is to establish an Aegis Ashore system in Guam by 2026 that would help protect U.S. citizens and the armed forces there. The battery of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense on Guam is said to protect against a North Korean missile launch, although the single AN / TPY-2 radar is considered vulnerable and does not offer 360-degree coverage.
The combinations of weapons in the proposal would “create temporary windows of local air and sea superiority and enable maneuvers” by US forces – including amphibious forces capable of forced-entry operations, the report said. All of this would be made possible through the development of “expedition aerodromes for diffusion and ports for distributed fleet operations” with allies. The price: $ 8.9 billion.
Among the projects proposed in the report to encourage better collaboration with allies, more than $ 2.5 billion would be spent on programs to build, train and equip national security forces in the Allies and partner countries. Another priority is a nascent Oceania Fusion Center for fiscal year 2022, one of several proposed centers for information sharing.
In anticipation of tighter defense budgets under the Biden administration, this year the report includes new language in which the PDI is “a pragmatic and economically viable approach to implementing a deterrent strategy to defend US interests in the Indo-Pacific while mitigating and avoiding risks Escalation ”is highlighted. ”
The $ 4.6 billion proposal for FY2022 “represents less than seven-tenths of 1% of the Department of Defense’s total commitment authority in FY21 and two-thirds of the amount spent on the European Defense Initiative in FY20 , 9 billion USD), ”the report reads.
The multiannual European deterrent initiative that inspired the Pacific deterrent initiative was used to increase the US presence in Europe after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
“This report is the result of a bipartisan agreement in Congress that the department’s current plan to stem the growing military imbalance in the Pacific is inadequate,” said Eric Sayers, a former Indo-Pacom official. “The PDI funding is a good opportunity for the Biden DoD to forge an early alliance with Hill to fill this operational gap.”