Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Strongly Worded Note is Not the Solution

China will use satellites to track American aircraft carriers in order to strike them far out to sea with their anti-ship ballistic missiles. Well, yeah. So let's deal with it.

China will use something that has been around for quite a while and is no secret weapon:

In a recent issue of the Chinese-language state-run China Youth Daily newspaper, a report claims that the Gaofen-4 geostationary earth observation satellite will be launched by the end of this year with the express purpose of hunting US aircraft carriers.

Well, yeah. That's the first part of the kill chain that I describe that goes from finding our carriers and ends with impact on our carriers:

First, the carrier has to be identified far out to sea with satellites, ships or submarines, or patrol aircraft.

So that's what the Chinese are doing. My post explores points in the kill chain that we can counter to keep our carriers safe.

I think it holds up pretty well compared to a later description of the same thing by an expert.

Back to the linked article, I have no idea what to make of this criticism:

The tragedy, according to Ian Easton, a China military specialist at Project 2049 Institute, is that China has made clear its intention to target US carrier groups with ballistic missiles.

“Yet the Obama administration chose not to issue a diplomatic demarche or raise the issue with [Chinese President Xi Jinping] at the White House,” Easton said.

Huh? What's the point of a protest? China does lots of things to build up their military as many nations do. They aren't going to cancel this system because we protest, and our failure to protest does not legitimize what is inherently a legitimate use of state power.

I don't have to like what China is doing. I certainly want to counter it. But protesting what China is building is kind of pointless and would just make us look weak when China naturally ignores us.

Better to say nothing and quietly deploy anti-satellite weapons.

And demote our carriers from its top billing as a sea control platform (which is different than its power projection role).