Monday, December 12, 2011

A Strategy For The 21st Century, Part 2: Asia

     Asia. Since the Communist Chinese took over China in 1949 there has been a secret war waged along the west side of the Pacific Rim. After that was the Soviet naval buildup under Admiral Gorshkov, that turned the Soviet Navy into a true blue-water navy. However, with the collapse of the Soviet Union (and it's navy) there is only one real Communist nation that poses a threat in the Pacific, the People's Republic of China. Just in the last few weeks China's president Hu Jintao urged the PLAN to prepare for combat. This comes as tensions continue to rise over the Spratley Islands in the South China Sea, and the PLAN stopped an Indian Navy ship just outside Vietnamese territorial waters. As China continues to buildup their military, the United States must respond. Here is what I believe the U.S. must do to stop China.
     1. Build new bases, and reopen old ones. Since the U.S. took over the Philippines from Spain in 1896, we operated Naval Base Subic Bay, and Clark Air Base a few miles away. However, after the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, Clark AB was covered in ash. The year after in 1992 the treaty leasing NB Subic Bay expired. Thus, the U.S. lost 2 very valuable bases located only 1100km from China. With the U.S. backing the Philippines in the Spratly Islands dispute, it would be in the Pilippines' and the U.S.'s best interests to reopen NB Subic Bay, and if possible Clark Air Base, as the former Clark Air Base is now Diosdada Macapagal International Airport. Also, the Marine Corps is in the process of stationing 2500 Marines near Darwin, this should be augmented with a full-fledged Air Force base and Naval Station in Australia, if the Australians are willing. Bases should also be established in Taiwan, and Singapore, existing bases on Guam, Hawaii, and Okinawa should be expanded.
     2. Cease the construction of "Supercarriers", and design and build a new class of aircraft carriers about the size of the USS Midway-class. In that last few years the Chinese have begun developing the DF-21D, as a means of denying most of the Western Pacific to U.S. aircraft carriers. This coupled with the proliferation of supersonic cruise missiles, and Kilo-class submarines poses a grave threat to U.S. naval air power throughout the Pacific. Furthermore, in this case quantity is better than quality, because at the moment if one carrier is lost there is a gaping hole the Navy's capabilities until the next carrier is completed. Thus, it is necessary that the Navy instead of building very few "Supercarriers", build a smaller class of carriers with a displacement not to exceed 65,000 tons, a max speed of 40 knots, and a complement of  50 aircraft. This is feasible as the USS Midway had a displacement of 62,000 and could carry 65 aircraft as of it's decommissioning in 1992. 
     3. Resurrect the Navy's ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) capability. During the Cold War the U.S. Navy was the best in the world at ASW. However, since the USSR collapsed in 1991 the Navy's ASW capability has gone down hill. This can be rectified by, 1. Extending the life of Perry-class frigates 2. Investing in more SOSUS systems and towed array sonars. 3. Developing a new class of frigates specifically for the ASW role.
     There is more that I will lay out in future posts, but the ideas I have laid out in this post, I believe are a good start to beating China and maintaining the U.S.'s national security.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy


  1. The Spratly islands were a point of contention even back when I was stationed out that, a long time ago.

    Getting back into the Philippine islands might be a trick. There was much crowing and political hoo-haw when we were "kicked out" so many years ago. Although, the same philippino politicians who did all the crowing definitely left a few quiet channels open to the U.S..

  2. Well, as the saying goes "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". The Philippines may have kicked us out, but now it's a choice of wether they want to bullied by the Chinese or allow U.S. soldiers back on their soil. Frankly, I think it will the latter, as the Philippines need help dealing with the Chinese, and they don't have a snowball's chance in heck of beating the Chinese in a shooting war.