What happened to the Army in Pacific Conflict? Hear what the U.S. Army has to say. (Epoch Times Cartography)
[The Epoch Times, November 12, 2023]In today’s society, the role of weapons and the military is given a deeper meaning than killing. Strong military power is often used as a deterrent to maintain world peace and human security. The war, though it became covert, never ceased.[Current Affairs and Military]takes you to the front to see clearly the details and truth of the battle between good and evil.
Among the various forms of potential conflict between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party in the Pacific region, the operations of the Army or Marine Corps in the Pacific Islands may be one of the important tactical backgrounds. At the same time, the US military emphasizes that armored forces are also needed on the restricted terrain of the Pacific islands. However, due to limitations in transportation conditions, the US military needs to reconsider the successor of the Abrams tank.
Recently, the United States and the armies of four other countries just completed a joint exercise to exercise the cooperation capabilities of the troops. In late October, a joint force of more than 5,000 soldiers from the United States, Indonesia, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the New Zealand Army was deployed on a series of islands from Hawaii to Palau in the Western Pacific. The two-island chain conducted a large-scale exercise simulating large-scale engagements with adversaries in jungle and archipelago environments. The U.S. Pacific Fleet, Special Operations Command and Marine Corps also participated in the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC) 24-01 training exercise. This 20-day exercise was held on November 10 Finish.
Charles Flynn, commander of U.S. Army Pacific and head of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, said that U.S. partners in Asia can check and balance the CCP. Although the Army faces logistical and joint force obstacles in the Pacific, the Army Training Center is confident that Joint forces remain available in the Indo-Pacific.
While Army officials gave no further details about the exercise, the actions indicate they are preparing for the possibility of conflict with China in the Pacific, which is no secret.
U.S. Army Capt. Sam Soliday said: “As the U.S. Army, we have not seen a conflict like this and its complexity since World War II, involving the transfer of assets between different islands and across different distances. waters. This requires support from the Aviation Task Force’s transport aircraft. The terrain on the islands varies from steep canyons to desolate hills. Therefore, combat training in the austere environment of these islands is indeed a light combat vehicle operation. A good way to train.” He believes that the main difference between this training and the past is the different battlefield environment. This time it simulates typical land and sea operations on islands and between islands.
Flynn said that this is the first multinational joint training since the Pentagon certified the Pacific Joint Multinational Readiness Center in June this year, and it is crucial to prepare for possible future conflicts in the Indo-Pacific region.
Previously, the U.S. Army typically transported personnel and equipment separately, which meant soldiers would be separated from their equipment for weeks or even months. This problem was even greater in the Pacific. People have been saying that the cruel ruler of the Pacific is “distance.” Especially for the US military, their biggest problem in fighting in the Indo-Pacific region is crossing large-scale spatial distances. The US military calls it the “tyranny of distance.” Transportation costs are another factor. The key is that long-distance attacks take time, which will seriously affect the response speed of troops in contact with their opponents.
For the US military, if a conflict occurs in the Taiwan Strait, how long it will take for its widely distributed military assets to reach the conflict area has become a key issue. Therefore, when the U.S. military considers any operational issues related to conflicts in the Taiwan Strait, the first thing it must clarify is how and how long it will take for troops or any other strike force to arrive at the combat location. This is why the US military strives to implement a forward deployment strategy and pays increasing attention to cooperation with allies in the Pacific region.
The United States’ regional allies also know that the length of time for the US military to establish a military presence in the Indo-Pacific region depends on the help of regional allies, as well as the nature and extent of such help. For their own security reasons, these regional allies also need the protection of the United States. This is why there is already a group of partners who want to cooperate with the United States and believe that the United States is their first choice for security. These partners include countries in the Western Pacific region and countries surrounding the South China Sea. The United States hopes to achieve its intention of containing war by establishing a strong network of partners. At the same time, the U.S. Army has full confidence in the cooperation of regional allies in technology, tactics, procedures and equipment, which they believe is a guarantee for forming a joint front against the enemy.
Flynn cited a series of bilateral Army exercises with partner nations that were once low-key but have now expanded in scope. Australia’s “Saber Saber” exercise was once just a bilateral army exercise between the United States and Australia. It has now expanded to a large-scale joint exercise involving more than 30,000 people from 15 countries. The Hawaii exercise integrates multinational joint forces to exercise the interoperability, readiness and confidence of these forces. Interoperability refers to the ability of one country’s military to use another country’s training methods and military equipment.
Flynn said he sees China’s insidious and irresponsible behavior in the Indo-Pacific region, which is bad news. But the good news is that multilateral and transnational exercises have increased tenfold. The Indo-Pacific is often thought of as an air and maritime theater, but this is not the case. This is a joint operations area that faces joint challenges from multiple countries, multiple regions, and multiple fields, and needs to be faced through joint multinational solutions.
Flynn sees the U.S. Army as the backbone of the joint force, playing a key role in these solutions. He believes that the CCP is trying to build an arsenal suitable for anti-access/area denial strategies. The design goals of the Chinese Communist Party’s military and the development of its military equipment are mainly to defeat air and sea power, and secondarily to deny, weaken and disrupt space and networks, while relatively little attention is paid to improving and strengthening the combat capabilities of ground forces. This may create an opportunity for U.S. Army Pacific. Mobile, distributed, and rapidly replenishable U.S. ground forces deployed in archipelago environments during conflicts in the region can hide in the chaos and inflict fatal blows to adversaries.
The Hawaii exercises highlighted a change in the U.S. approach to defense and deterrence in the Pacific, placing greater emphasis on small-scale ground maneuver operations on islands off China’s coast. The exercise includes airdrops, airborne landings, long-range air assaults, and air and sea resupply. It reflects the importance of projecting power in the Pacific, including seizing and establishing bases of operations and protecting and controlling critical infrastructure such as airfields.
For 10 years, the U.S. military has been reforming its Pacific defense strategy, increasing the size and frequency of exercises with partners in the Indo-Pacific region, and rethinking how the Army and Marine Corps operate in the Pacific’s first and second island chains. The islands provide a platform for mobile units to launch anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, and these mobile units can also be rapidly deployed and quickly transferred. In the past two years, the U.S. military has been considered to be at a quantitative disadvantage compared to the CCP. In fact, the number of U.S. troops that can be deployed in the Indo-Pacific region is definitely limited. Mobile ground force operations are an effective way for the U.S. military to overcome its numerical disadvantage.
When it comes to ground force maneuver operations, heavy armor, including tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, cannot be avoided. Infantry fighting vehicles are okay, but are tanks needed on the scattered Pacific islands?
As early as the Pacific War of the 20th century, tanks had already played a role in infantry battles in rugged wilderness or on beaches, whether on islands or on the East Asian continent. Today, the Army is fully aware that tanks have value as part of a combined arms force, even in theaters unfriendly to armor.
Flynn said in an interview in September that tank and armor capabilities in the Pacific are absolutely necessary to conduct missions in restricted terrain. There are many similar terrains on the Pacific Islands.
This does not mean that the vehicle has to be tailored for these terrains. But fifth-generation combat vehicles for the Pacific conflict, including successors to the Abrams tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicle, must be light enough to accommodate air and sea transportation.
If it cannot reach the battlefield, no matter how good the tank is, it is useless. The U.S. Army Science Board cited the Army Analytical Center’s war game, which proved the value of armored forces in Taiwan’s defense. However, difficulties in deployment and support hindered the U.S. military from achieving a sufficient number of armored units before the Chinese Communist Party completed the fait accompli of conquering Taiwan. Troops arrive in Taiwan.
The threats of drones and anti-tank missiles make the maneuverability of the 70-ton Abrams tank unacceptable from both a tactical and technical perspective. Any new technology, such as robotics or automation, retrofitting these aging tanks will also not help counter advances in anti-tank missiles. For the next generation tank development program, the U.S. Army is trapped in a choice between mobility and protection. A 60-ton tank equipped with a 130mm gun and a crew of 3 is not maneuverable enough. The 40-ton light tank has a heavy gun and insufficient protection. This has led the U.S. Army to become interested in the Air Force’s “loyal wingman” concept, a 30-ton unmanned combat vehicle equipped with ultra-high-speed missiles that can accompany manned tanks.
The Army has spent 20 years looking for the next generation of armor, and current projects include the XM30, a successor to the Abrams tank that weighs over 50 tons, and the 40-ton M10 Booker (which may be considered a light tank). Whether these tanks can meet the requirements of the battlefield environment in the Pacific region has yet to be determined.
Written by: Xia Luoshan (reporter of “The Epoch Times”, who has experienced military life for more than ten years, mainly engaged in military teaching and some technical management work)
Produced by: Current Affairs Military Production Team
Follow “Current Affairs and Military Affairs-Xia Luoshan”: https://www.ganjing.com/zh-TW/channel/1f6pro4fi585ppZp9ySKkwd0W19f0c
Editor in charge: Lian Shuhua#