Army Chief Warns Conflict With China Will Result In Strikes On US Mainland
By PNW StaffMarch 01, 2023
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Speaking at a recent event at the American Enterprise Institute, Christine Wormuth, Secretary of the Army, outlined the potential risks facing the U.S. homeland in the event of conflict with China. She explained that the Chinese military could launch kinetic and non-kinetic attacks, including cyberattacks on power grids and pipelines, in an attempt to erode support for any conflict.
Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, Commander of U.S. Army Pacific, urged that American forces must be prepared and should accelerate their preparations, emphasizing that 2023 is an important year to create "enduring advantage." He stated that the U.S. military is ready to respond to any threat that may arise and urged his forces to position themselves strategically to be ready to respond should the situation escalate beyond control.
Tensions have been rapidly escalating between China and the United States as experts warn that the two superpowers may be on a collision course towards war. In November 2021, Chinese dictator Xi Jinping ordered his troops to prepare for war and declared unifying Taiwan with mainland China "must be achieved". Most experts predict that Beijing is "all but guaranteed" to attack Taiwan - it is just a matter of when.
Such a conflict would cut off U.S. access to world-leading semiconductors and other critical components manufactured in Taiwan. Not to mention the numerous pharmaceutical and consumer products we already rely upon China directly for. U.S. supplies of many products would soon run low, shutting down many businesses who rely on just in time inventory. Rationing, unemployment and inflation are all sure to follow.
Many US Department of Defense officials believe China is watching the war between Russia and Ukraine with great interest to learn how to avoid a similar situation and will aim to "hit Taiwan hard from the start" and "sever them from the outside world." Unlike Ukraine, Taiwan would be cut off from all aid and for that reason some believe the only way Taiwan could survive such an assault is to prepare for that invasion now with a massive arms build up.
China has also taken note of how the provision of military hardware to Kyiv has depleted American stocks of some key military systems. Rebuilding them could take years. Yet the war in Ukraine is relatively small-scale compared with the likely demands of a major war in the Indo-Pacific. China controls most of the shipping lanes and getting US supplies to the area would be extremely difficult.
The situation has prompted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to warn that "what is happening in Europe today could happen in East Asia tomorrow." China regards the self-governing island as part of its territory and has vowed to reunite it with the mainland - by force if necessary. This has led to fears that a potential invasion would force the US to either abandon the island or face full-scale war with China.
In preparation for such a conflict, the United States has plans to deploy between 100 to 200 troops to Taiwan as well as expanding it's presence in the Philippines. The Philippines have announced a new agreement that will allow America to expand its military presence in the Southeast Asian nation, providing a new front to bolster deterrence against China. The agreement will also provide for conducting joint maritime patrols with the Philippines. Cooperation from the Philippines would be crucial in the event of a conflict with China, given its proximity to Taiwan and surrounding waters.
Although the US maintains a powerful advantage in aircraft carriers, with 11 to China's three, Republican Mike McCaul said the odds of conflict with China over Taiwan are "very high." Gen. Mike Minihan, head of the US Air Mobility Command, wrote in a memo that "My gut tells me we will fight in 2025."
To prepare for the fight, Minihan calls for the creation of a "fortified, ready, integrated, and agile Joint Force Maneuver Team ready to fight and win inside the first island chain." The memo also sheds light on a capability the US is considering for possible conflict with China: drone swarms.
Up until recently it was primarily Russia that was attacking Ukraine with Iranian made drones but now Ukraine is launching drone attacks of it's own. Clearly the type of battles being fought is changing rapidly and just as the US is expanding it's drone capabilities, there have been growing concerns that China has developed drone swarms that could evade aircraft carrier defenses and overwhelm it with drone strikes.
Last week, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro raised the alarm that China's fleet was now larger than the US's, with around 340 ships compared to the US's less than 300 ships. Del Toro also claimed that China plans to field a fleet of 440 ships by 2030, far surpassing the Pentagon's goal to have 350 manned ships by 2045.
Although the US Navy may have a powerful advantage in aircraft carriers, with 11 to China's three, experts warn that in a full-scale naval war, the bigger overall fleet usually has a decisive advantage. Republican Mike McCaul said the odds of conflict with China over Taiwan are "very high." He believes that if China fails to take control of Taiwan bloodlessly, then "they are going to look at a military invasion, in my judgment."