Indo Pacific strategy

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
This is not just a delay. It’s the cancellation of the existing Naval Group’s contract with penalties to be paid and the start of a new SSN program — that is not going to be for a fleet of 12. The Collins class will be kept in RAN service with another deep maintenance cycle.

The RAN can’t hire enough crew for 12 SSNs and they will struggle to train and crew 8 to 9 boats. With nuclear power, they don’t need so many boats.
I think @Sandhi Yudha does realise that they have been cancelled and meant there will now be a delay to the entire Submarine build program which with the Attack SSGs was expected around 2033-34 for the first Sub. PM Morrison said in a Pressor a couple of hours ago it would be towards the end of next decade before we see the first SSN and the Collins are expected to serve for decades to come.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
I don't know. I think that the RAN may find attracting crew for their SSNs easier than for their SSK boats. The SSNs are seen as the pinacle of submarining and the crew comforts are better than on SSKs. We'll have to wait and see.
There has been tentative plans towards building a East Coast Sub base, which would definitely help with both recruitment and retention and the greater speed of an SSN would make a East Pacific approach to the SCS a more realistic option.
 

ngatimozart

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Verified Defense Pro
There has been tentative plans towards building a East Coast Sub base, which would definitely help with both recruitment and retention and the greater speed of an SSN would make a East Pacific approach to the SCS a more realistic option.
I think there has to be but I can just imagine all the luvvies along the Sydney waterfront near Garden Island getting their whinge into hyperdrive if someone suggests that the East Coast SSN base happens to be located at FBE. :D :D :cool:
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 1 of 6: The Taiwan factor in regional calculations

1. Taiwan has requested a change the name of its mission in the United States from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) to the Taiwan Representative Office.
(a) I view this as a Taiwanese attempt to provoke Beijing, with little to gain for the Americans. Renaming the office will not start a war with China, but the United States should NOT go ahead with the move.​
(b) The United States should keep in mind whether a policy sends mixed messages to Taiwan regarding the U.S. position on Taiwan independence and emboldens those on Taiwan who advocate for independence. It also should consider whether a proposed policy is intellectually consistent with the U.S. One-China policy.​

2. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense submitted a budget proposal of NT$471.7 billion (US$17.05 billion) to the Legislative Yuan for the procurement of defense systems in FY2022. Under President Tsai, the Taiwanese has developed an incomplete plan that has significant execution risk, to bring new capabilities to IOC. If this plan can be improved over the next 8 to 10 years, it can enhance deterrence.

3. Above is a silly Taiwanese TV discussion on NS, where they compare their short duration conscript service to Singapore and Israel. I know that I am harsh but given their defence policies, correctly understood, the average Taiwanese solider and citizen do not intend to defend Taiwan. Rather, they expect the Americans to do it. Taipei is Kabul on steroids. Lots of rage from the online media in Taiwan but actually impotent, when it comes to raising, training and sustaining a force.

(a) IMHO, a medium weight Taiwan 8x8 infantry brigade is a hollow force that can’t hope to fight and win against any Singaporean armoured brigade that is spearheaded by a Leopard 2SG battalion at its core and having Bionix II (or Hunter) IFV equipped armoured infantry and satcom equipped Apaches to fire Spike missiles, in support. Likewise, a USAF funded study by Rand found that:​
  • Heavy ground forces are the most likely to enhance deterrence, and crisis deployments may prevent escalation but do not improve partners' leverage.
  • This study highlights the importance of considering the type and location of U.S. forces when deciding how to design U.S. overseas deployments to enhance their deterrent value. The general patterns in this study suggest that, in the average case, heavier ground forces and those deployed near, but not directly bordering, potential adversaries may be most likely to reduce the risk of conflict. However, the dynamics of individual situations may differ, and policymakers will need to carefully analyze each situation before deciding on the appropriate approach.
(b) The Taiwanese Army has to fight out numbered by the PLA but they don’t even aspire to have the right combination of armoured forces to make the fight longer and enhance deterrence; as they are still operating M113s — which makes me wonder, if this modernisation is just for show. In contrast, the SAF attempts to build armoured forces with layers of superiority against our anticipated adversary.​
(c) Finland spends much less of defence than Taiwan and yet they are able to deter the Russians. Unlike Finland’s use of conscripts to augment its brigades, Taiwanese war planning and use of force lacks an in-depth understanding of what it means to fight outnumbered. Finland’s army consists of a highly mobile brigades backed up by local defence units. The training of conscripts is based on joukkotuotanto-principle (lit. English troop production). In this system, 80% of the conscripts are trained to fulfill a specific role in a specific wartime military unit. Each brigade-level unit is responsible for producing specified reserve units from the conscripts it has been allocated. The army defends Finland’s territory and its active defence military strategy employs the use of the heavily forested terrain and numerous lakes to wear down an aggressor, like the Russians, instead of attempting to hold the greedy Russian bear at the frontier.​
4. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense submitted a budget proposal of NT$471.7 billion (US$17.05 billion) to the Legislative Yuan for the procurement of defense systems in FY2022. Under President Tsai, the Taiwanese has developed an incomplete plan that has significant execution risk, to bring new capabilities to IOC. If this plan can be improved over the next 8 to 10 years, it can enhance deterrence.

(a) The budget proposal allocates NT$21.70 billion to Taiwan’s Air Force for fiscal years 2022-2025, for the procurement of four MQ-9B SeaGuardian UAVs. In 2020, then defense minister Yen Teh-fa (嚴德發) told Legislators that MQ-9B UAVs will be deployed for surveillance and reconnaissance. The ROC Navy will be allocated NT$43.15 billion to upgrade the combat management system, radar system, air defense missile system of its 6 Kang Ding-class frigates from 2021 until 2030. NT$27 billion is allocated for purchasing 10 MH-60R helicopters. Taiwan also to acquire 40 M-109A6 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzers for US$750 million.​
(b) A GSDF official in charge of the Sept 2021 National level military drills said the exercises are based on the 2019 National Defense Program Guidelines, which call for strengthening defense capabilities to help safeguard the Nansei Islands, including Japan-administered, Beijing-claimed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. These drills involve 100,000 personnel, 20,000 vehicles and 120 aircraft will include 12,000 personnel and 3,900 vehicles from two GSDF divisions based on the northernmost main island of Hokkaido and in the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan as well as a brigade in western Japan's Shikoku region conducting an expeditionary mission to the Kyushu region in southwestern Japan.​
(c) The annual Japanese defense white paper in mid-July 2021 calls Taiwan important to domestic and international security for the first time, and it adds that “it is necessary that [Japan] pay close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis more than ever before.” China of course retorted that Japan was interfering in Chinese internal affairs. Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso said the government would have to defend Taiwan with the United States in the event of an invasion, the Kyodo News Agency reported. The Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) willingness to take such a stance, even if it is just on an informal basis, buys time for Taiwan to transition from not being serious, to being serious on defence. This is because it will take 10 to 15 years of consistent effort to re-build military capability that was lost under prior KMT rule.​
(d) Japan's LDP has held talks with representatives from its Taiwanese counterpart, the DPP, in the first-ever ruling party version of its “two-plus-two” security dialogue normally held between governments, reported The Japan Times. Japan has initiated the bilateral talks, which will include LDP Foreign Affairs Division Director Sato Masahisa and National Defense Division Director Otsuka Taku.​
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gap between Austin’s concept and ground reality — Part 4

13. Australia, the UK and the US have committed to a comprehensive program of work over the next 18 months that will bring this capability into service. The optimal pathway to achieve this is through a significant increase in Australia-UK-US defence collaboration.

14. This period will be used to examine the full suite of requirements that underpin nuclear stewardship, with a specific focus on safety, design, construction, operation, maintenance, disposal, regulation, training, environmental protection, installations and infrastructure, basing, workforce and force structure.

There has been tentative plans towards building a East Coast Sub base, which would definitely help with both recruitment and retention and the greater speed of an SSN would make a East Pacific approach to the SCS a more realistic option.
15. More details are out. It’s a class of at least 8 boats — which was the number we have discussed over the years in this forum.

16. I am impressed with the Australian government’s ability to keep the subs decision secret, including from much of its own bureaucracy. Losing an AUD 90 billion submarine building contract and having their counterparty proceed with US and UK technology and systems — to put it mildly, the decision by Australia and the choices made by London and Washington did not go down well in Paris.
 
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STURM

Well-Known Member
This is a video of Taiwan is pretending that it can defend itself, by landing aircraft on a road (as part of their regular series of military exercises).
From what little knowledge I have on the issue, Taiwan's planning with regards to defending itself is centered on the ability to develop some level of deference or in the event of actual hostilities with China, to be able to defend itself to a degree until the Americans enter the equation. Is this correct?

The island's ability to defend itself depends on the operational circumstances does it not? If American assistance was not forthcoming and Taiwan was subjected to an intense and prolonged air, sea and cyber attack then over time China's sheer weight of numbers, plus other key advantages it has will wear Taiwan down. If on the other hand for political reasons the Chinese do no immediately embark on a invasion but instead resorts to limited sea and air attacks in an attempt to convince Taiwan to make concessions, the Tawainese Armed Forces is capable of meeting the threat?
 

OPSSG

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Staff member
Part 2 of 6: The Taiwan factor in regional calculations

5. The Institute for National Defense and Security Research scholar Huang En-hao (黃恩浩) on 6 Aug 2021 released a report that said the scope of the U.S. and Japan’s defense strategy has gradually shifted southward, which will ensure Taiwan Strait security and support Taiwan’s defense in the event of a conflict. The paper, titled “Observations of the expanded U.S.-Japanese ‘Orient Shield 2021 military exercise’” noted that this year’s Orient Shield included 1,700 American soldiers and 3,000 Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces and added space, electronic, and electromagnetic warfare drills to the schedule.

6. All Taiwan has to do to avoid a PLA invasion is to avoid any declaration of independence — but their government’s policy IS to create hostility without actual military capability — we have to wait for IOC of all 8 of their submarines in the 2030s to 2040s before they can deter China and engage in sea denial. In contrast, Singapore Navy’s 4 Type 218SGs will have achieved IOC and be on the prowl in the 2026 to 2028 time frame; with at least 4 of 12 F-35Bs also delivered to Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith, Arkansas, for pilot training to begin by in a RSAF composite squadron (that will fly both F-35Bs and F-16s).

Taiwan's planning with regards to defending itself is centered on the ability to develop some level of deference or in the event of actual hostilities with China, to be able to defend itself to a degree until the Americans enter the equation.
7. They had a real NS (once upon a time, where it’s was over 2 years), which gave their army well trained huge numbers. Now they have a summer camp that pretends to be NS. Training for Taiwanese conscripts is reduced to a 16-week term, that includes a combat fitness training and a 12.5-mile (20km) route march — as part of the curriculum of the 5 week basic training program to enhance conscripts’ physical condition, and strengthen their combat skills.
(a) Taiwanese conscripts are so poorly trained that I respect Hamas more than them. They have seen Singapore conscripts train in Taiwan and they know they can’t match the level of realism in training, due to the huge difference in physical training standards — be it in basic physical conditioning, mental preparation for operations, tactics, or ROE driven shooting. Don’t just take my word for it, watch this U.S. Marine for his reaction to the gear used by the our conscripts and NSmen, upon mobilisation, to do their routine tasks, as part of the profession at arms.​
(b) These Taiwanese conscripts can only manage basic fire and movement, when in contact with the enemy — they don’t have the required tactics for various scenarios, including urban warfare or jungle training. Below is a short video clip of Singapore’s MMRC used to improve Singapore’s conscript proficiency in shooting at a variety of targets (in day and night). They are also taught to fire live rounds at a video screen according to ROEs (i.e. shoot to kill, shoot to incapacitate), where they are required to distinguish between civilians and combatants. For a conscript, scenario shooting based on ROEs is pretty stressful. It takes time to build up confidence to operate in urban areas and protect civilians who are mixed in with hostiles.​

8. If the Taiwanese army keep buying weapons and platforms at the present rate, in about 8 to 10 years, they might have some of the kit needed and the people trained to operate them, to engage in a coherent defence. But buying more weapons sales is by itself not enough to improve Taiwanese military capability. Improving military capability needs to occur in progressive and digestible increments.

Is this correct?
9. No amount of extra defence spending (even the US$8.69 billion over the next five years), will make a difference if troops are not trained or willing to fight. In theory and after reading staff papers, the Taiwanese leadership strangely believe the Taiwanese solider will fight when:
(a) their conscripts are poorly trained (to a very low standard) and their full time professional arm is not equipped to complete their stated mission or assigned tasks — the Taiwanese will have better luck resisting the PLA, if they can find 1,000 volunteers to wear suicide vests or drive SVBIEDs (rather than fighting conventionally);​
(b) their navy is dismissed as a joke by the PLA(N) and western naval analysts mostly agree with that view;​
(c) it is doubtful the air force can achieve air parity and can’t strike at range, to fight a naval blockade. Given the above, I believe that they are as hollow as the Afghan Army that surrendered in 11 days. More worrisome, is the ability of China to endlessly test Taiwanese response timings. On 17 Sep 2021, Taiwan's air force scrambled to warn away 10 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defence zone, Taiwan's defence ministry said; and​
(d) their US$5.2 billion personnel budget, ensures that the Taiwanese infantry battalions can’t take attrition because they are chronically understaffed. Except for SF, every normal Taiwanese infantry battalion is under-strength; and they want to use minimally trained conscripts to make up numbers — because the conditions of service is so poor that they can’t hit recruitment numbers for professionals (except in the most elite of units). Augmenting a professional force with poorly trained Taiwanese conscripts in a mobile defensive battle requires skill that the Taiwanese do not possess and hence is doomed to failure.​
 
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MrConservative

Super Moderator
Staff member

In case folk missed it on the DT News page. The French are really packing a sad today.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
This is not just a delay. It’s the cancellation of the existing Naval Group’s contract with penalties to be paid and the start of a new SSN program — that is not going to be for a fleet of 12. The Collins class will be kept in RAN service with another deep maintenance cycle.

The RAN can’t hire enough crew for 12 SSNs and they will struggle to train and crew 8 to 9 boats. With nuclear power, they don’t need so many boats.
You are right, they plan for around 8 boats.



France and DCNS already reacted, but of course they do not directly talk about penalties.

This is the second time in a couple of years that because of the US the French naval industry get a hard hit. In 2014 France had to cancel the deal with Russia for the Mistral Class LHDs and refund $ 1,53 billion.
 
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ngatimozart

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You are right, they plan for around 8 boats.

This is the second time in a couple of years that because of the US the French naval industry get a hard hit. In 2014 France had to cancel the deal with Russia for the Mistral Class LHDs and refund $ 1,53 billion.
The French were in the wrong in the first place selling such technology to Putin's Russia. They only have themselves to blame on that one. They aren't so squeaky clean and we haven't forgotten the dirty that they have done on us more than once including the state sponsored terrorism act in Auckland in 1986 and the subsequent threats to our trade to get their spies back.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 3 of 6: The Taiwan factor in regional calculations

The island's ability to defend itself depends on the operational circumstances does it not?
10. One of the primary missions of Taiwan’s army would be to interdict Chinese amphibious forces in transit using its coastal defense ASCM batteries. If, however, these interdiction operations proved unsuccessful, the ROC Army would take center stage as Taiwan’s last line of defense. Taiwan’s challenging littoral geography and heavily fortified beaches would pose a severe threat to PLA forces. Recognizing a problem with the ROC Army and actually doing something to deal with that problem are two different issues, but if Taiwan does not have the recognition, its actions are never going to change enough to enable help to reach them (starting from the 45th day onwards).
(a) I hold the view — if Taiwan wants peace, proper war prep is necessary — which means proper levels of ammo, POL and consumables stocking, to keep aircraft and vehicles moving for 60 days of high intensity conflict — this is because the Taiwanese navy can’t survive in a fight with the PLA(N) for more than 7 days and it’s Air Force can’t strike at range, from day 1. If war starts, the best solution to preserve combat power is for Taiwan’s F-16Vs to fly to Japan, to escape immediate destruction, so as to give options for their government in exile.​
(b) “Taiwan needs to establish what sometimes is called an effective ‘porcupine defense,’ a defense that will allow it to defend against an adversary force until support from others would be available,” Frank Kramer, former assistant defense secretary for international security affairs and now an Atlantic Council expert, said in a briefing on how to secure the Taiwan Strait. “Taiwan actually needs to do better than it has done historically; it is improving recently.” I am glad that Taiwan is finally upgrading its SEAD capabilities by purchasing the most modern HARM missile the U.S. has available for export; the AGM-88E.​
(c) Key to bolstering Taiwan’s defenses is securing critical infrastructure such as fuel, water and energy from cyber attacks and other supply chain interference, Kramer said. And that goes for both Taiwan and the United States, he made clear, since Taiwan must hold until US and allied forces can come to its aid in the event of a serious attempt by China to take the island.​
(d) Please forgive my inchoate attempt, as I struggle to explain how poorly, the very clever Taiwanese are doing. They can defend Taiwan, if they really wanted to but it needs 8 to 10 years of consistent effort to build on current plans. To give you an idea of how poorly, let me cite some tank numbers from Singapore below, for contrast.​
11. Tiny Singapore’s current and modern armoured forces are twice the size of Taiwan’s future armoured force structure — the thousands of vehicles in Singapore’s 2 Active Armoured Brigades and 2 Reserve Armoured Brigades supported by 206 Leopard 2SGs, exist to slice through enemy defences like a hot knife through butter for a 300km thunder run (to seize a capital) — not only do we have larger fleet of modern armoured vehicles, I strongly suspect our war stocking levels are much higher. Tanks operate as part of an armoured warfare system. As I see it, the lack of a real Taiwanese attempt to transition to modern armoured and wheeled infantry fighting concepts, is disturbing. With coalition support, the minimum they need to execute a proper defence plan for Taiwan is 216 modern MBTs (on top of other vehicles) but they buy less than half of what they really need and even refuse to upgrade their older tanks.

(a) The first of the 108 M1A2T Abrams that Taiwan ordered from the United States will arrive in 2022 — in contrast, Germany has delivered over 206 Leopard tanks to Singapore, that are paired with our Leguan bridge layers, AEV 3 Kodiaks, Trailblazers, Bronco, Bionix II, and Hunter IFV equipped SARs.​
(b) Taiwan’s dated tank fleet consists of 480 M60A3s, 450 CM11s (modified M48 turrets mated to M60 chassis), and 250 CM12s (C11 turrets mated to M48 hulls), according to the Defense Industry Daily Web site. IMHO, Taiwan needs to upgrade 108 to 162 of its M60A3 Patton tanks to build up its combat forces. Taiwanese army generals have told Control Yuan President Chang Po-ya (張博雅) at a conference in Kinmen County on 28 June 2019 but that plan has never been approved.​
(c) The terrain in Taiwan is not suited for large tank battles, due to the numerous hills. But MBTS are needed to (i) push off light armour landing on beach heads; (ii) dominate the ground fight in urban areas; and (iii) for control the axis of advance and retreat. A single M1A2T battalion (supported by equal numbers of infantry in IFVs or 8x8s), is very useful within a division sector, when it’s 3 tank companies are correctly employed.​
(d) Taiwan needs 4 modern tank battalions (at least 216 M1A2T Abrams tanks) of its own to be augmented another 3 tanks battalions comprising of their older M60A3s (that should be upgraded, when budget permits). Having heavy forces deployed in 4 divisional sectors reduces the tactical options available to the PLA and forces them to be aviation centric (i.e. for the PLA to over rely on Harbin Z-19, also called WZ-19).​

12. I am glad that:

(a) 11 M142 HIMARS launchers and 64 ATACMSs;​
(b) AGM-84H SLAM-ER missiles and the Coastal Defense Harpoon truck-mounted (anti-ship missile system); and​
(c) MS-110 multispectral airborne airborne reconnaissance pods,​

were cleared for export to Taiwan in late 2020. As this will enable Taiwan to hit the ships or assembly areas in China before the PLA(N) can attempt to disgorge the PLA vehicles. Taiwan has terrain that favours the defender and if the Control Yuan are not idiots; their Parliament would do the minimum and fund the upgrade of 162 M60s, like what Turkish government did to keep their fleet relevant (when they selected the Sabra Mk II) — the Turkish Sabra Mk II contract was estimated to be worth US$688 million was signed in 2002. If Taiwan can’t afford the upgrade, it is fine to retire the entire CM-11 and CM-12 fleets provided, they have placed an order for over 216 M1A2T Abrams (because that’s the minimum they need).

If American assistance was not forthcoming and Taiwan was subjected to an intense and prolonged air, sea and cyber attack then over time China's sheer weight of numbers, plus other key advantages it has will wear Taiwan down.
13. For American and Japanese military assistance to arrive in sufficient numbers, Taiwan needs to buy time for these foreign reinforcements to arrive — assuming that ports and airports remain functional and that these heavy forces can have the support of the navy to fight their way there (by sea), in the face of PLA(N)’s submarine fleet. Basic prudence means that Taiwan needs to stock up enough ammo to fight for at least 42 to 60 days (on their own), given that Taiwan has a navy that can’t fight.
(a) The Taiwanese depend on the USN and JMSDF to defend their SLOCs. Taiwan hopes that the US will use its military superiority in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf regions to go after China’s economic lifelines there. Taiwan also hopes that U.S. attack submarines, long-range bombers, and other stealth aircraft based in Guam and Japan will be used to deter an amphibious landing. China gets half or more of its energy from the broader Persian Gulf and African theaters, so its vulnerability here is great.​
(b) "What's happening in Taiwan is directly linked to Japan," Defence Minister Kishi said, noting the island sits astride his country's "energy lifeline. 90% of energy that Japan uses is imported through the areas around Taiwan," Nobuo Kishi said. It's a vulnerability that Tokyo has to mitigate.​
 
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ngatimozart

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I watched this discussion last night which was with Australian Senator Jim Molan who is a well respected retired Australian Army General Officer. At around the 32 minute mark he talks about a possible Chinese attack plan against the US. He states earlier in the discussion that China's strategic plan is to force the Americans out of the Western Pacific. Until they do that it would be a huge strategic blunder for the Chinese to invade Taiwan because the Americans could still cause a lot of hurt to them.

The Chinese aren't stupid and they know that they have to force the Americans out past the Second Island Chain, preferably the Third Island Chain. They also know that they have to eliminate American bases within the First and Second Island Chains as well as at Diego Garcia: and have to achieve surprise in doing it. So Jim Molan suggests, and I agree, that the Chinese will use a variation of the Imperial Japanese war plan for the December 1941 attacks on America and the allies. This time it will do what the IJN failed to do and that is sink the USN flattops in the Pacific. At present the USN has one CBG and one ARG in the Pacific and if they succeed in eliminating both of those and all of the American bases inside both of the island chains, the Americans would not be able to operate surface or air assets within the First and Second Island Chains with any strength until they can move other naval and air assets from the Middle East, Mediterranean and Atlantic. It would take approximately six months for all of the assets to be in place including training etc.

During that six months, the Chinese can invest Taiwan at their leisure without the fear of interference by third party hostile forces. By the time that the American and allied forces can do anything about it, she's all over rover and the executions have begun. I honestly do not think that the US will threaten or use nuclear weapons over Taiwan. However I would not bet the farm on it either.

 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
While it’s difficult to critique someone with the experience and knowledge of a seasoned professional like Jim Molan, there are a few things that seem to be “missing” from his analysis, or at least things I’d like to see clarified. For example:

- The idea that the ADF wouldn’t last more than a few days in a “real fight” needs some context – I’m just not sure what he means by this. Does this mean little old Australia taking on the PRC all by our lonesome? Because if that’s the case I don’t know if we could ever improve upon that meaningfully without completely upending our national expenditure habits for the express purposes of defence.

- If the PRC was successful in nullifying the US presence in the West Pacific (in a Pearl Harbour style surprise attack), this would not necessarily eliminate its ability to project power into the region, even in the short term. At worst, US strategic airpower and submarines could still continue to harass and inflict losses upon the PLAN in particular until the “6 month later” cavalry arrived.

- Such a large scale attack on bases across the region would surely trigger the involvement of countries like South Korea and Japan, whose own air and naval capabilities are considerable in their own right. Molan didn’t really acknowledge their role or even their existence here.

- This is significant, because from our POV I suspect such a confrontation would involve a race to cripple and/or sink as much of the PLAN as possible. Without its naval power the PRC would be hard-pressed to exert the dominance it sought in the wider region, requiring years to reconstitute itself, not just the 6 months it would take for the US to mobilise properly. Even now, the PLAN’s amphibious capability is fledgling, if rapidly growing. I have to wonder how long it could stand up to sustained abuse from Japanese, South Korean and American sea and airpower, especially given the latter’s capacity to deliver large salvos of AGM158 variants from standoff distances via strategic bombers operating from CONUS.

- I do agree that we need a cohesive and coherent national security strategy that looks at the whole range of threats now facing us. Building an ADF able to last the 6 months it took for the US to arrive in the region after such a heavy blow seems like an intuitive starting point, but there is surely more study warranted here. The questions that to spring to mind are: “what would that force look like?”, “could we even afford it?” and “in what timeframe?".

- It may be equally foolhardy and rearward looking to prepare to re-fight the WW2 Pacific campaign when both major combatants are nuclear powers that don’t even rely exclusively on kinetic means to cause harm to their adversaries. How this alters the calculus I have no idea, but assuming that China and the US would go toe to toe kinetically for months or even years without ever facing that nuclear threshold seems odd. It would certainly be unprecedented – how many other nuclear powers have clashed for so long and so violently without someone pointing to the big red button?

Just my 2c…
 
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spoz

The Bunker Group
I wonder if Jim is aware that the USN bases four carriers in the Pacific, and that transit time from the east coast for one (or for an SSN) to Hawaii is about three weeks? Plus of course any such attack gets them into WW3, with the gloves off. Can you imagine the reaction of the US public (and the rest of the world) to a new Pearl Harbour?

Their prime focus is the dominance of the CCP (not China as a nation) and I rather suspect they would, at least for the next ten to 15 years, see that as way too much of a gamble.
 

StingrayOZ

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Staff member
Jim is being a bit theatrical, but the core tenants are there. Carriers aren't active all the time, the US is spread thin and globally, the US would take time to react. China's first step isn't to invade Taiwan. Its a very simplistic playout, for public audiences, not the summary of a finely detailed report. Jim, doesn't even know what a Cyber attack would look like, it is a domain he is completely unfamiliar with, he openly acknowledges that.

His argument is that there may be a time where the US isn't the pre-eminent super power in the Pacific. And Australia could do a lot more to defend itself. He gives Israel as an example, another could be Singapore. John gives the point our economy is the size of Russias. He also points out that we aren't the main game. This isn't China dedicating all its resources to fight Australia, that will never happen.

Few more counter points in the realm of friendly discussion and only from my view and opinion.

South Korea - Sorry, these guys are going to be totally locked in with North Korea to do anything, even if there is no conflict on the peninsula (unlikely) there will be some sort of uneasy deadlock. They won't be sending forces south to help with Taiwan and certainly not into Chinese airspace to attack targets in China. Its likely US bases will be targeted, even if its only to mission kill airstrips etc. IMO I think they are likely to take heavy damage early on and essentially be out early. NK has essentially prepared its entire life for this mission.

Japan - Somewhat like South Korea, but in a slightly better position. They will be out trying to secure their own air and sea and be struggling with that. China can easily keep them occupied with random hit and run attacks. China has enough resources to tie them up with that. There is a timeframe where they can be helpful, as the fight moves past them, they can then follow the front. But initially it will be very messy.

While the US has a lot of smart munitions, its not a whole lot to take on a peer like China.. 2000 JASSM is nothing in the big scheme of things. How many HQ-9 does China have? thousands? How many potential sites are there? How hardened and protected are they? What was the total tonnage dropped on Vietnam? How effective was that? It will take time if you are going to just snipe off from stand off ranges. The US no longer has those mid cold war stockpiles of weapons, and modern weapons are slow and expensive to build. In a big exchange, munitions will be depleted very quickly. We must be able to source our own.

Australia could do more. We are very much in a traditional mind set. We haven't really "increased capabilities" just modernized. We don't have the aircraft carrier we had back in the 1970's. We Don't have the F-111 bombers we had. These weren't replaced on a like for like basis. Not only has the opposition caught up technologically, we, and the US as well, has slid backwards, from even where we were 20 or 30 years ago.

Even across allies. Compare 1970 South Korea and Australia to 2020 South Korea and Australia. The Koreans had a 2020 plan which they put into place in the late 1990's.

We aren't in terrible shape, but we aren't ready, and haven't been acquiring platforms like we realistically expect high end peer to peer warfare.
 
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ngatimozart

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Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
@spoz The Chinese attacking American bases inside the first two island chains is going to kick off a monumental war and the Chinese know that. They aren't fools. They are also well versed in rocketry and missiles. They just have to keep the Americans out beyond the second island chain for six months in order to invest Taiwan, and fully cement their control of the first two island chains.

They know that they will have to take on both South Korea and Japan. They believe that they are quite capable of handling both nations and WRT South Korea a North Korean threat of an attack across the DMZ or an actual attack and the inability of American support and reinforcement will give the Blue House pause for concern. With Japan a combined Chinese and Russian threat to Japan will also give the Japanese pause for concern. They could probably cause consequences damage to the PLA if it was a single front war, but if they had to face off a Russian threat, real or implied, in their northern area, then they will be in a real quandary.

Don't forget it was Stalin's Soviet forces entering the war against Japan on the 9th August 1945 that really drove the stake through the heart of Imperial Japanese resistance because they were now fighting a foe as implacable as the Americans and one they feared for the 4 years that they had been fighting in the Pacific and South East Asia. The Russians had already given them a hiding in a border conflict when IIRC General Zhukov introduced the IJA Kwantung Army to the delights of Soviet artillery followed by tank and infantry instruction. Yes the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear weapons attacks did a considerable amount to end the war, but it is the Soviet Union entry into the Pacific War coupled with the Nagasaki attack that drove the stake into the heart of Japanese resistance. The Soviet attack was the stake and the Nagasaki attack the hammer.

The Russians and Japanese still haven't reached agreement on Japanese territory that the Russians seized in 1945 and have refused to return to Japan. IIRC it is only in recent times that the Japanese and the Russians have signed a peace treaty formalyformally ending the war between them. So all of this history will plaplay into the considerations of the Chinese strastrategic planning and the Japanese response to any Chinese ultimatum.
 

Arclighy

Member
Interesting to note that not too long after the AUKUS announcement, China lodged its formal application to join the 'Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)'. The application was lodged with a letter to New Zealand's Trade Minister, Damien O'Connor. I understand NZ is the depository nation for the CPTPP. According to reports China did lobby Australia as well (ABC). Interesting timing though.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Interesting to note that not too long after the AUKUS announcement, China lodged its formal application to join the 'Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)'. The application was lodged with a letter to New Zealand's Trade Minister, Damien O'Connor. I understand NZ is the depository nation for the CPTPP. According to reports China did lobby Australia as well (ABC). Interesting timing though.
Yes the timing is interesting although there have been rumours about it over the last year or so. NZ is the Depository State and Japan the Chair State. IIRC any new applicant has to obtain approval from all the member states. So one State can blackball a new applicant. Any new applicant must also agree to and abide by the rules of the CPTTP. There China will have problems because it now has a history of breaking previous agreements and treaties that it has signed and ratified. I think that there will be some nations within the CPTTP who will not want China within the agreement and I don't blame them. Personally I think that it wouldn't be a wise move admitting them.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
There would certainly be challenges regarding the ROK and Japan, but I'm a bit more glass half-full than half-empty.

North Korea is in a terrible shape economically and statements from the Chubby One earlier this year suggests it's facing another food/medical crisis. He's tried economic reforms and they haven't really helped. Even with the military being prioritised for spending that's going to impact the fighting ability of NK forces - starving and ill teenagers don't make for good recruits. When you factor in South Korea's technological advantage in all three branches of the military (bar WMDs), it makes it hard for North Korea to go on the offensive and pin the South down.

Also given the dire situation North Korea is in and China's disinterest in bailing the Chubby One out, it's quite possible Pyongyang wouldn't get involved. But even if it did, I think South Korea could maintain a defensive position and still have naval/forces to help secure that flank with China.

As for Japan, I think they have more leeway. I'm not convinced that Russia would seek to tie significant amounts of Japanese forces down by actual or threatened attacks. Russia wouldn't benefit from China taking over Asia and if anything might feel threatened by the current balance of power being upended. Certainly they don't want to turn into the vassal state of a dominant Chinese superpower. I think Russia would benefit more from staying neutral and seeing China lose, potentially being able to increase its influence in the aftermath.

I think that there will be some nations within the CPTTP who will not want China within the agreement and I don't blame them. Personally I think that it wouldn't be a wise move admitting them.
It's up to CPTPP members, but I doubt China would be allowed in anytime soon. It has an ongoing trade dispute with Australia, keeps threatening Japan militarily and has kidnapped Canadian citizens. Factor in the prospect of the UK joining next year, Australia now apparently seeing China as a real threat rather than just a competitor and Beijing's contempt for the sort of rules at the heart of CPTPP, I just can't see how China can get around all of that. The fact the application was filed so soon after the AUKUS announcement suggests to me this was mostly a diplomatic move to try to maintain Chinese influence in the region.

EDIT: Foreign Policy came to a similar conclusion. I found the article interesting as I wasn't aware Trump's new Canada-US-Mexico trade agreement had a notification mechanism if the parties wanted to enter into FTA discussions with "nonmarket economies" (read China), and that following that the others could pull out. Gives Washington an extra card to play to stop China getting inside CPTPP.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
@Musashi_kenshin WRT the US stopping the PRC getting into the CPTPP it cannot because it's not a member and hasn't submitted an application to join yet.

WRT to Russia being involved, I have given that more thought and believe that Putin would take the opportunity to settle some scores and advance his dream to being Tsar Vladimir, Emporer of All the Russias. That would mean the old Russian empire as it stood in 1914, plus whatever else he could lay his hands on. With the US fully engaged in the Pacific, it wouldn't have the capability to thwart his ambitions in Europe. Iran would also be emboldened to act upon its ambitions within the Middle East without fear of US involvement. This would be a situation that the CCP would definitely encourage with both Mosco and Tehran.

The beauty about it is that militarily the US wouldn't be able to do anything about it. It no longer can fight and win two wars at the same time. It would struggle to win one war against a near peer enemy. IIRC it has lost 30 - 50% of equivalent capability to that which it had at the end of the Cold War. It has relatively few new platforms and capabilities in service. There is a culture of no or low risk, everything by the book and the numbers within the militarily leadership and the leadership micromanage everything. There is no overarching strategy for the military to follow from the political leadership. So the US has big management problems that have been impacting upon their military and political ability to win wars. They haven't won many lately. If I was a better man, which I am not really, in such a contest I wouldn't be wasting my money placing a bet on the US to win.
 
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