The U.S. Army is being urged to take on a greater role in Asia after being largely left out of the Pentagon’s new strategy for the region previously dubbed “Air Sea Battle.”
According to The Washington Times, a new report by the CNA Corp., a federally-funded think tank, is urging the Army to adjust its forces for a greater role in maintaining peace and stability in Asia, mainly against the growing threat from China and continued dangers posed by North Korea.
A 92-page report by CNA revealed that U.S. Army forces must be prepared to fight major combat operations and to complement Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force troops in preparing to counter China and North Korea.
In addition, the reports called for maintaining “positive engagement” with China and warned that there is growing concerns about the Obama administration’s lack of transparency and intent when it expresses its conciliatory views on the increasingly aggressive world power.
In Asia, the report stated, the Army can play a key role in maintaining peace and security, stating, “Deterring potential aggression, such as that which might occur on the Korean Peninsula, or acts of coercion and intimidation, such as over disputed territories in the East and South China Seas, is an important aspect of achieving that objective. In the event that deterrence fails or the unpredictable occurs, the Army will need to be able to surge tailored force packages into and across the region.”
Currently, the Army has approximately 80,000 troops in the Asia-Pacific region, including 20,000 troops in South Korea and 22,500 troops in Hawaii. However, the numbers are being reduced due to mandated defense budget cuts.
The Washington Times reported that the Air Sea Battle concept was unveiled in February 2010 as an Air Force and Navy plan to break through China’s so-called “anti-access” and “area denial” weapons, such as missiles, submarines, anti-satellite weapons and cyber warfare capabilities, that are designed to drive U.S. forces from the Asia Pacific.
Several years later, the Marines were added to the plan. Because the Army was left out, it abandoned. This year the Pentagon did away with Navy and Air Force dominated Air Sea Battle and renamed it the “Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Common and thus incorporating all branches of the U.S. military.