Politics

US Indo-Pacific Head Wants Missile Defense System on Guam to Counter China Threat

The head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command aims to have an active missile defense system deployed on Guam by 2026 to counter the rising capability of regional rivals.

Adm. Phil Davidsons top priority is to install an Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system on the Pacific island as part of a concept he calls “Homeland Defense System Guam,” he said in a July 21 call with reporters.

He said the Aegis Ashore system, which is derived from a ship-based system, would work in tandem with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system already deployed on the island to provide a more robust defense capability against Chinas growing military threat.

“When you look at the way the threat capacity is manifesting from China in the future. Whether its ballistic missiles from the land, or whether its ballistic or cruise missiles from air and maritime platforms, youre going to need a complete clock. A 360-degree coverage in order to help defend Guam,” he said.

“I will say that my No. 1 priority and the most important action we can take to rapidly and fully implement the National Defense Strategy, the first step is a 360-degree persistent and integrated air-defense capability in Guam.”

Lance Gatling, an aerospace and weapons analyst, told the South China Morning Post that the strategic location of Guam makes it a target of choice for regional rivals of the United States in the event of an outbreak of hostilities.

“Guam has long been a key staging point for the U.S., in both naval and air operations, and it was from there that long-range bombers operated against targets during the Vietnam War,” Gatling told the publication. “It is going to become even more important as the U.S. Marines move more of their personnel from Okinawa to Guam.”

For the missile defense system to be in place within the time frame outlined by Davidson, funding must begin in fiscal year 2021, he said on the call.

In April, Breaking Defense reported on details of an unclassified executive summary of a National Defense Authorization Act titled “Regain the Advantage” (pdf) that Davidson submitted to Congress, in which he called for $20 billion in new investments by 2026 to enhance U.S. operational capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Regain the Advantage is designed to persuade potential adversaries that any preemptive military action will be extremely costly and likely fail by projecting credible combRead More From Source

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