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Wormuth details vision for US Army's role in military conflict against China

US Army Secretary Christine Wormuth anticipates that the ground service will have five core tasks in a potential military conflict in the Indo-Pacific region, to include the use of long-range weapons. However, she does not anticipate having the necessary diplomatic agreements in place by 2023 that would enable the service to send early iterations of these capabilities to the region.

The 25th service secretary spoke on 1 December during a Center for Strategic and International Studies webinar focused on China, and laid out her vision for how the army would contribute to a military conflict against the People's Liberation Army. Specifically, Wormuth said the service could be tasked with the following: establishing and protecting joint bases and staging areas; sustaining the joint force with a communications network and munition stockpiles; providing command-and-control; providing ground-based long-range fires; and potentially using manoeuvre forces like infantry Stryker elements and combat aviation brigades for counter-attack operations.

“These are the five core tasks that the army would perform in general, regardless of whether we are able to shift our posture in the region,” Wormuth told the audience.

Washington has been working to shore up its diplomatic relationships in the Indo-Pacific theatre as it eyes China as the ‘pacing threat'. For the army, service leaders have previously mentioned that they are interested in Washington striking a deal with Tokyo that would enable it to send land-based, deep-strike capabilities to the uninhabited Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, known by China as the Diaoyu Islands. Such potential weapons could include the future Precision Strike Missiles (PrSMs), hypersonic missiles, and a ‘mid-range' capability. The army anticipates that these three capabilities will be ready for initial fielding and operational testing in 2023 but they may be initially relegated to US soil.

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