Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Defense in Depth

We have major bases in Okinawa and Japan proper and South Korea. Plus a significant ally in Taiwan. After that, we have to go back to Hawaii and our West Coast. By creating major bases in Australia and Guam to project power forward, we help defend the forward line in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

With Chinese military power increasing, our close bases are more vulnerable to attack by the PLA. If these forward bases are knocked out, we have to go back a long way to generate power and push it to the Western Pacific.

So we are moving out of South Korea. And moving out of Okinawa in favor of Guam. Plus we will have Stryker brigades in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington state. And now we are going to have bases in Australia:

A new base at Bradshaw in the Northern Territory would be equipped with a landing strip for giant C-17 military transport aircraft and accomodation for some 750 roops, roughly the number in a US marine expeditionary battalion, the Financial Review said, quoting defence sources.

This would give the US a major forward base to station and rotate troops and equipment for deployment to regional trouble spots.

A base further south at Yampi Sound on the northwestern coast of Western Australia would host joint US-Australia training in amphibious seaborne landing techniques, the paper said.

Guam and Australia are far enough back to be a little safer from Chinese attack yet forward of our Hawaii and West Coast forces. And the barracks seems more useful for air ground crews and headquarters elements since the bases are likely to be staging areas to push forces forward to the battle area northwest or north.

Plus the Australians are building heavy forces to fight with us.

This intermediate line of defense makes it less likely that China will think it can successfully carry out their own Pearl Harbor on our most forward forces since we will not be pushed back to Hawaii at a stroke.

Neglecting, of course, that the first one didn't work out too well for the Japanese. But Peking may forget that small detail. It is prudent to guard against such a miscalculation.