Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Be Careful Out There

The American commander for Pacific Command wants more forces near China. Be careful out there.

Every commander wants more forces:

The nominee to be the next chief of the U.S. forces in the Pacific has called for an increase in U.S. forces from all three services stationed in the vital region, adding that China is now effectively able to control the South China Sea and challenge the U.S. presence in the region.

Although the admiral correctly speaks of adjusting the footprint to account for Chinese capabilities, putting forces forward within range of enemy forces tempts an enemy to strike first to take out forward-deployed American forces.

It is true that the loudly proclaimed "pivot" to the Pacific has not been terribly impressive in the context of a shrinking total force that can provide forces for the Pacific.

And continued problems in the Middle East plus renewed threats in Europe again compete for assets.

So there is no safe region to pivot from these days to reinforce PACOM.

But it really freaks me out to think we can forward deploy enough to win the war against a peer competitor with what we start the first battle with. I just want to avoid and absorb the first blow, survive, build up reinforcements, and then win the war.