Senate Defense Bill Increases Focus on Military Readiness to Counter China’s Aggression
Do you support ensuring the military is prepared to counter aggression by China?
by Causes | 7.1.20
What’s the story?
- The Senate is considering the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 this week, which includes several provisions aimed at countering the increasing military belligerence of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
- The NDAA, which passed the Senate Armed Services Committee on a bipartisan 25-2 vote, could pass the Senate before the end of the week.
What is China doing to assert its military strength?
- Since early May 2020, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has engaged in a series of skirmishes against the Indian military in Ladakh ― a disputed part of the Kashmir region in the Himalayas. One of the most significant escalations occurred in late June, when hand-to-hand combat involving iron rods, clubs, and batons broke out between the opposing troops that reportedly led to the deaths of 20 Indian troops & 35 Chinese troops from the melee & subsequent hypothermia.
- In late May 2020, a senior Chinese general said that the PLA would use military force against Taiwan & “take all necessary steps to resolutely smash any separatist plots or actions” if the self-governing democratic nation (which the PRC regards as a rogue province) pursues its formal independence. His remarks verbalized the message sent recently to U.S. allies in Asia when a Chinese carrier task force conducted training near Taiwan & Japan.
- Additionally, the PRC is racing against Russia & the U.S. to field hypersonic missiles. It has also been aggravating territorial disputes in the East China Sea, where the PRC claims its EEZ extends into maritime zones where Japan & South Korea claim rights; and in the South China Sea where the PRC has been building islands out of reefs & asserting maritime rights within the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of neighboring countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
- In Hong Kong, the PRC is implementing a new national security law that violates the "one country, two systems" principle it agreed to uphold through 2047, prompting sanctions by the Trump administration. And in Xinjiang, the PRC is imprisoning over a million Uyghurs in "re-education" camps aimed at eliminating the culture of the Muslim minorities, in addition to forcing Uyghur women to undergo abortions & sterilization.
How would the NDAA address China’s aggression?
- The Senate’s NDAA would establish a new Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) modeled after the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) ― which the U.S. uses to assist European allies & partners in deterring Russian aggression ― to counter aggression by the People’s Republic of China in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The PDI would be authorized with $1.4 billion in FY2021, and a topline budget of $5.5 billion would be authorized in advance for FY2022 with the DOD tasked with developing a spending plan for those resources.
- The PDI would seek to enhance the lethality of the U.S. Joint Force in the Indo-Pacific by improving active & passive defense against theater cruise, ballistic, and hypersonic missiles for bases, operating locations, and other critical infrastructure.
- The PDI would transition the Joint Force’s design & posture from large, centralized, and unhardened infrastructure to smaller, dispersed, resilient, and adaptive basing; increase the capabilities of expeditionary airfields & ports; enhance pre-positioning of forward stocks of fuel, munitions, equipment, and material; and improve logistics & maintenance capabilities in the region.
- The PDI would strengthen alliances & partnerships to increase capabilities, improve interoperability & information sharing, and support information operations capabilities with a focus on countering malign influence.
- The NDAA would express America’s commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act, which assures Taiwan of U.S. military support to ensure its self-defense capabilities needed to resist any use of force or other form of coercion that would jeopardize its security. The bill would also call for deepended bilateral ties with Taiwan.
- The NDAA would also increase funding for the Hypersonic & Ballistic Tracking Sensor and additional missile defense batteries.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen (USAF) / Public Domain)
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