BREAKING: Indo-Pacom Seeks Billions to Move Forces ‘West of International Dateline’

By Stew Magnuson and Meredith Roaten

Army photo by Sgt. Sarah Sangster

Indo-Pacific Command will ask for some $9 billion in its budget to move forces closer to China over the next six years.

Adm. Phil Davidson, Indo-Pacom commander, wants to be able to “negate any preemptive military action from any of our adversaries," George Ka’iliwai III, director of requirements and resources at Indo-Pacom, said March 8 at the National Defense Industrial Association's Pacific Operational Science and Technology conference.

Indo-Pacific Command will also ask for $4.7 billion in the fiscal year 2022 budget request to buy equipment and capability to deter Chinese aggression.

That is less than seven-tenths of 1 percent of the Defense Department’s total spending obligations, Ka’iliwai noted.

The figures are the result of an independent analysis of Indo-Pacom resourcing requirements that Congress requested. It includes an additional $22.7 billion from fiscal years 2023 to 2027, he said.

The command also wants to redistribute forces west of the International Dateline where they would provide a “credible demonstration of U.S. resolve and commitment,” slides presented at the conference said. That would come to $2.3 billion in 2022 and $6.7 billion from 2023 to 2027.

The breakdown would be: $1.6 billion to redistribute forces and build training facilities for U.S. territories and states in 2022, plus $4.6 billion over the following five years; $114 million in Oceania nations in 2022, and $481 million over the next five years; $51 million for Southeast Asia plus an additional $879 million from 2023-2027. “Construction activities” in the regions would come to $474 million in 2022, plus $673 million in the following years.

To strengthen a network of alliances and partnerships against China, Indo-Pacom is asking for about $533 million in 2022 for fusion centers, training, international security cooperation and State Partnership Program funds, and another $2.8 billion for these efforts from 2023-2027.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Minihan, Indo-Pacom deputy commander, said: “Persistent presence through forward-based and operational joint forces is the most credible way to demonstrate our resolve to Beijing, while providing assurance to our partners and allies.”

Technology on the wish list includes: a Guam-based missile defense system with a 360-degree capability that would cost $350 million initially, plus $1.3 billion from fiscal years 2023 to 2027; a space-based persistent radar for $100 million, plus $29 million over the next five years; and enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for $41 million, plus $165 million from 2023-2027.

Ground-based long-range fires for the First Island Chain would have a price tage of $408 million, plus $2.9 billion over the subsequent five-year period. An over-the-horizon radar for Palau is $168 million in fiscal year 2022 and $29 million thereafter.

“What we're essentially talking about here is reestablishing conventional deterrence — that we want to make sure that we can win this without fighting,” Minihan said. “Of course, there's the lens of the high-end fight that always needs to be there. But we want to be positioned so that we don't allow China to establish a new status quo.”

Ka’iliwai showed a series of four charts demonstrating how China’s military has dramatically built up over the past two decades, along with projections out another five years.

“What they are doing is anti-access/area denial and meantime, our forces have not grown much over that span of time,” Ka’iliwai said.

Minihan added: “If the conventional deterrence continues to erode, ... if we're not communicating our will, if we're not imposing a cost, and if we're not denying benefit, then certainly, China has the ability to not only achieve their [desired] outcomes, but possibly to do it without fighting.”

Topics: Budget, Missile Defense, Precision Strike

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