The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think-tank based in Washington D.C., released a 275-page independent review of US Defense Strategy in the Asia-Pacific in January, 2016. The comprehensive report takes into account China's growing multi-directional assertiveness as a rising power, her rapidly increasing military capabilities, particularly A2/AD (Anti-Access and Area Denial), as well as other threats in the region, including North Korea and Russia.
The Report delves into building a stronger security architecture in the Asia-Pacific underpinned by the United States military and its regional allies, in preparation for a high degree of readiness for possible air and naval conflict with a peer-competitor (code for China), a ground battle on the Korean Peninsular, as well as regional nuclear rivalry and other state and non-state threats including natural catastrophes.
Various military concepts are examined, such as "Joint Concept for Access and Manoeuvre in the Global Commons", "Air Superiority and Global Strike", "Freedom from Attack and Freedom to Attack", "Strategic Mobility Infrastructure", the agility of "Places not Bases", and "Joint Mission Defense with Allies".
Reference is made to the development of the "Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B)", missile defense systems such as "THAAD- ER (Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense - Extended Range)" with 9-12 times the range and anti-hypersonic-delivery characteristics, "Directed Energy" (laser) and "Electromagnetic Rail Guns" technologies, as well as unmanned and space-based assets. It covers a gamut of scenarios including cyber and electronic warfare and examines Russian and Chinese strategic interests in the Arctic.
In sustaining the Re-balance, the Report recommends -
- Align Asia strategy within the US government and with Allies and Partners;
- Strength Allies' and Partners' capability. capacity, resilience and inter-operability;
- Sustain and expand US military presence;
- Accelerate development of innovative capabilities and concepts.
President Xi Jinping of China has recently adorned a new US-styled title of Commander-in-Chief as head of a newly-reorganized Joint Battle Command. This follows on the heels of a revamped 2015 Military Strategy, a complete re-structuring of China's defense forces, including the development of a blue-water navy, a new Rocket (Missile) Force, a more centralized command, and reorganization into "battle zones". Click here On 12 April, China test-fired DF-4, a 12,000-km range Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of reaching all of the United States. These developments suggest that China, too, is alive to and gets prepared for risks of military conflict in the region, including an all-out war.
What does it take to manage the increasing geopolitical rivalry between the United States as the existing global superpower and its perceived challenger? In a TV interview with CCTV in Beijing, Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, a China expert and former Prime Minister of Australia, argues for "Constructive Realism", isolating the red-line issues that cannot be resolved and working on developing trust or cooperation for the rest. Whether this will work remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, while deepening awareness of military risks acts to propel a spiraling of a classic "security dilemma", it also incentivises both sides to enhance mechanisms to manage mutual relations and to avert unwanted escalations.