“I believe we are facing a serious threat to all of us. A fundamental divergence in values that leads to two incompatible visions of the future when we speak of the People’s Republic of China especially. Through fear and coercion our adversaries are seeking to bend break and replace the existing rules-based international order. In its place they seek to create a new international order, one that is closed and authoritarian. One where which nations large and small subordinate their own sovereignty to the interest of just one country. An outcome that displaces the stability and peace of the Indo-Pacific that has endured for some 70 years now.” – Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, speaking at the LANPAC Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 22, 2019
China’s massive development and deployment of missiles, the cutting edge technology of hypersonic maneuvering cruise, hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), and standoff delivery platforms are being utilized to create anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) zones and overmatch of U.S. and allied forces in the Pacific region. This strategy aligns and is in parallel with the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu’s “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” The Chinese goal is the dominance of the Pacific and its sea lanes that move $3 trillion worth of goods a year to the supremacy of an area and its resources that covers half of the Earth from Bollywood to Hollywood, and from the Arctic to the Antarctica.
The United States will not challenge China alone for a free and open Pacific. The area encompassing the economic highways through the Pacific are inhabited by U.S. allies that, like America, have Western norms and values that respect human rights while abiding to international law to preserve freedom of operation, navigation, and safety on all domains against an imposing threat. Only by working, training, and developing together to create an interoperable system will these Pacific allied coalitions be able to deter and succeed in any event.
“India’s global strategic partnership with the United States has overcome the hesitations of history and continues to deepen across the extraordinary breadth of our relationship. It has assumed new significance in the changing world. And, an important pillar of this partnership is our shared vision of an open, stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific Region.” – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, speaking at the Shangri La Dialogue on June 1, 2018
In the realm of the reemergence of great power competition, it is essential that the United States and allied coalitions exhaust every means of power and leverage that they can muster, including major conduits of power such as diplomatic, economic, cyber, and military capabilities. Imposing one of these instruments of power alone will not be able to properly ensure the safety of travel and navigation for land, air, sea and space forces, as all four will instead need to work together to produce a positive outcome and environment for a free and open Pacific.
“The DOD and army will procure new capabilities develop new concepts and enhance our capacity, but we will only be lethal if we have the readiness and ability to employ these alongside our allies and partners. That means we need compatibility, interoperability, and combined training to ensure our interdependence in armed conflict should deterrence fail.” – Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, speaking at the LANPAC Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 22, 2019
China’s overmatching amount of short- to medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles have been deployed and continue to evolve in quantity and capability so that it can unilaterally impose and project power in this region. The United States and its Pacific allies will never match these mass numbers with defensive interceptors in capacity and cost of doing so to negate their influence and projection of power into the region. While being one of China’s greatest strengths, these mass amounts of missiles also highlights one of its greatest vulnerabilities and opportunities to change the cost curve and exponentially increase deterrence in a regional environment. U.S. offensive capabilities fully integrated by command and control, with the use of artificial intelligence to fuse the best Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and the best sensors for tracking and fire control instantaneously together, with both deployed defense and offensive strike/long distance fires effectors, can ensure an extremely effective “left of launch” game changing strategy. This integration of long-distance fires and offensive strike across domains, that is capable to strike deep on the mainland and target land, air, ship and even space platforms while simultaneously negating their missile threat with missile defense systems deployed in the region changes the calculus a Chinese military advantage to preserve peace and stability in the region.
The U.S. Army is working diligently to integrate its land-based air defense artillery into its long-distance artillery/fires, fusing its best sensors with its best shooters throughout the region to provide the best efficiency, effectiveness, and reliability solutions. The Army’s own hypersonic strike development, coupled with the United States Navy, on a land-based launcher is one of many new long distance fire strike weapons being developed. The Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) forms a single air picture of air and missile threats and selects the best shooter to engage cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and air breathing threats as well as the best offensive shooters in its long distance fires portfolio to negate the source. IBCS has struggled as the initial requirement for the system came in 2009 and has yet to be Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and deployed. Regardless of the challenges IBCS faces in its development to become operational, it is too big, too vital, and too important to fail. For the national security of the nation and its allies, the stability of the Pacific as well as the rest of the world has to have this capability in place as the proliferation and evolution of the threats continue to expand. The United States Army will force functional changes in leadership, in acquisition, in vendors, and development to make IBCS initial operational capable, as a generational cost curve changer that is an effective and efficient weapon system that provides the land-based solution for left and right of launch.
The U.S. Navy already has a fused sensor and shooter architecture to leverage engage and shoot on remote sensors and platforms. It uses the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) to integrate sensor data and fire control capability to form a single air picture of air and missile threats and select the best shooter to engage threats in its defense of its Aircraft Carrier Battle Groups. The Navy CEC and its fire control processors, its effectors and its sensors need to be interoperable and shared where it can to the Pacific Allies Navy Forces.
The stage has been set and the curtain revealed, it is clear where China is putting emphasis to solidify its influence economically, diplomatically, cyber, and military over its neighbors, making all roads lead to China, it is now up to the United States and its Pacific Allies.
“And just as the way the rifle and the tank changed the way the army fought in the last century; land forces today must adapt to equally significant changes in the environment of the 21st century. And as our threats evolve we must be able to deter respond dominate and win.” – Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, speaking at the LANPAC Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 22, 2019