- The Pentagon is moving strategic bombers
to Guam and aircraft carriers and submarines to the Pacific as part of
a new "hedge" strategy aimed at preparing for conflict with China,
Pentagon officials said yesterday.
- Peter Rodman, assistant defense secretary
for international security affairs, told a congressional commission that
the response to the emerging military threat from China is part of the
White House national security strategy made public yesterday.
- Although U.S. relations with China
are good, "both sides understand very well that there is a potential
for a conflict, particularly in the Taiwan Strait," Mr. Rodman said
during a hearing of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
- China's arms buildup in recent years
altered the U.S. "strategic calculus" for defending Taiwan from
a mainland attack and shows that "a prudent hedging policy is essential,"
Mr. Rodman said.
- The placement of about 700 Chinese
missiles opposite Taiwan has changed the status quo between the non-communist
island and the communist mainland, he said.
- The Pentagon policy calls for watching
China's military and "being ready to deal with it, if the worst case
should happen," Mr. Rodman said.
- James Thomas, deputy assistant defense
secretary for plans, said key elements of the "hedging" policy
are aimed at nations with uncertain futures, including China and Russia.
- Cooperation is preferred, but the
Pentagon must prepare "for the possibility that others could choose
a more hostile path," Mr. Thomas said.
- "In [the China] part of the hedging
strategy, we're looking at the deployments of bomber elements to Guam on
a more routine basis," he said. "We're also looking at making
adjustments in our naval posture globally, shifting to six carrier battle
groups in the Pacific region, given the shift in global transport and trade,
as well as over the next several years shifting approximately 60 percent
of our attack submarine fleet to the Pacific."
- The public term for the strategy is
"hedge," but in internal Pentagon discussions the term is "effective
preparations to swiftly defeat Chinese aggression," one defense official
- The comments about a conflict contrast
with statements by Pentagon officials that have sought to minimize the
emerging threat from China.
- The plan calls for frequent rotations
of B-2 strategic bombers to Guam, part of what the Air Force calls its
global strike mission to reach crisis areas quickly. Special hangars and
other deployment and maintenance facilities are being built on Guam, a
U.S. territory about 1,800 miles from the Chinese coast.
- Three attack submarines are based
in Guam, and arms storage there includes long-range air-launched cruise
missiles and Joint Direct Attack Munitions.
- Adm. William J. Fallon, commander
of the Pacific Command, has visited Guam and told reporters that the island
will become a pivot point for U.S. forces in the Pacific because of the
relatively short distances to the Taiwan Strait, South Korea and Southeast
- Yesterday, Mr. Thomas said the Pentagon
is strengthening alliances in Asia as part of the strategy.
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