New China strat­egy

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

De­fense Sec­re­tary-des­ig­nate Leon E. Panetta re­vealed an emerg­ing U.S. mil­i­tary strat­egy to­ward China that is gain­ing ur­gency as ten­sions be­tween China and sev­eral states in South­east Asia con­tinue to rise.

In a lit­tle-no­ticed state­ment in Mr. Panetta’s writ­ten an­swers to ques­tions from the Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, he said he is launch­ing a re­view of U.S. force pos­ture in Asia in re­sponse to the “rise of new pow- ers”, code for China.

Asked what spe­cific force en­hance­ments he plans for the U.S. mil­i­tary in Asia, Mr. Panetta stated: “If con­firmed, I will re­view [the Pen­tagon’s] pos­ture in Asia and make ap­pro­pri­ate rec­om­men­da­tions on any en­hance­ments.”

Mr. Panetta, cur­rently CIA di­rec­tor, said he agreed that U.S. forces must be bol­stered in Asia and noted that U.S. al­lies in the re­gion “must re­main con­fi­dent in the con­tin­ued strength of our de­ter­rence against the full range of po­ten­tial threats.”

The Pen­tagon “should main­tain an en­dur­ing mil­i­tary pres­ence in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion that pro­vides a tan­gi­ble re­as­sur­ance that the United States is com­mit­ted to Asia’s se­cu­rity, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and the pros­per­ity es­sen­tial to the re­gion’s suc­cess,” he said.

Se­cu­rity pri­or­i­ties in Asia in­clude pro­tect­ing U.S. ter­ri­tory, cit­i­zens and al­lies; de­ter­ring ag­gres­sion and main­tain­ing re­gional sta­bil­ity; and main­tain­ing free and open ac­cess to the mar­itime, air and space do­mains, in ad­di­tion to coun­ter­ing vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism and arms pro­lif­er­a­tion, Mr. Panetta said.

Out­go­ing De­fense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates also high­lighted the new strat­egy dur­ing weapons, the Navy and Air Force are de­vel­op­ing “a new con­cept of op­er­a­tions” called the Air-Sea Battle Con­cept “to en­sure that Amer­ica’s mil­i­tary will con­tinue to be able to de­ploy, move and strike over great dis­tances in de­fense of our al­lies and vi­tal in­ter­ests,” Mr. Gates said, with­out men­tion­ing China.

On June 14, Sens. Jim Webb, Vir­ginia Demo­crat, and James M. In­hofe, Ok­la­homa Repub­li­can, the chair­man and rank­ing mem­ber, re­spec­tively, of the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions East Asian and Pa­cific Af­fairs sub­com­mit­tee, in­tro­duced a Se­nate res­o­lu­tion con­demn­ing China’s use of force in the South China Sea.

The res­o­lu­tion high­lighted sev­eral in­ci­dents of Chinese ha­rass­ment, in­clud­ing two re­cent en­coun­ters when Chinese ves­sels dis­abled the ca­bles towed by Viet­namese en­ergy-ex­plo­ration ships. The res­o­lu­tion also noted the re­cent at­tempted ram­ming of a Philip­pines ship by a Chinese ves­sel and Chinese ha­rass­ment of U.S. Navy ships in the past.

The um­brella con­cept is called “ex­tended de­ter­rence” and com­mits U.S. nu­clear forces to de­fend­ing Ja­pan from nu­clear strikes or threats.

“There are some in Ja­pan that are dis­cussing in­dige­nous nu­clear de­vel­op­ment in Ja­pan, partly due to a lack of con­fi­dence in the U.S. ex­tended de­ter­rence,” said the cable from the U.S. Em­bassy in Tokyo, la­beled “se­cret.”

The Ja­panese were as­sured by de­fense of­fi­cials that the U.S. nu­clear-de­ter­rence pol­icy “re­mains strong,” said the cable, made pub­lic on the anti-se­crecy web­site Wik­iLeaks.

The cable also stated that Ja­pan was step­ping up mil­i­tary space op­er­a­tions. The pro­posed mea­sures in­cluded bol­ster­ing space-based in­tel­li­gence func­tions and in­creas­ing tech­nol­ogy co­op­er­a­tion with civil­ian space com­pa­nies.

The cable also stated that Ja­pan was con­sid­er­ing de­ploy­ment of space “as­sets and tech­nol­ogy, such as ear­ly­warn­ing satel­lites, sig­nal-in­tel­li­gence satel­lites, com­pact re­con­nais­sance satel­lites, and sen­sor and jam­ming re­sis­tant tech­nolo­gies.”

Bill Gertz can be reached at in­sid­e­ther ing@wash­ing­ton­

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