China’s military buildup in the Pacific has the Pentagon considering a pair of moves to bolster its efforts in the region, including a permanent naval task force dedicated to China and a Pacific-oriented operation.
The latter would permit Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to allocate more dollars and resources to defense against China’s buildup, sources told Politico.
The sources leaked the details after the news this week that NATO is aligning with America’s more concerned stance against China’s aggressions and military buildup.
“We are looking at a number of proposals in the Indo-Pacific and across the Department, to better synchronize and coordinate our activities,” a source told Politico. “However, as the secretary said, now is the time to get to work, there are many details and specifics still to be finalized.”
Biden commissioned a Pentagon China Task Force in March to weigh defense policies, processes, and readiness, and sources told Politico the two moves in the works have come from there.
Biden nominee Ely Ratner led the task force, recently concluded the work, and brought recommendations to Secretary Austin, although the plans have not be finalized, according to Politico sources.
“The task force and the named operation suggest to me that they are going to elevate the oomph and the power of the Western Pacific oriented force,” Trump administration official Elbridge Colby told Politico.
The work shows the Biden administration is ready to move resources from the Middle East into the Pacific region to address China.
“Whether it’s focused on China explicitly or implicitly, it’s got bureaucratic oomph to say ‘hey, no [Central Command], just because you have a knee-jerk reaction to something happening you can’t steal our assets,” Colby added to Politico.
The model for the task force will be the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic launched by NATO in Europe during the Cold War, sources told Politico.
The NATO task force helped coordinate assets to aid in immediate responses to threats, the Telemus Group’s Jerry Hendrix told Politico.
“[It’s] deterrent because it demonstrates a unity of effort in countering Chinese excessive threats to the concept of a free sea and free trade with their large territorial sea claims,” Hendrix added.
It is not yet clear whether the U.S. task force would coordinate just American military or allies as well.
A briefing to Congress is yet to come.
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