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New US joint naval strategy focuses on China

The three US military naval services are focusing their joint energies on counteracting China’s maritime muscle, according to the US tri-service report released on 18 December. In the report titled ‘Advantage at Sea, Prevailing with Integrated All-Domain Naval Power’, the services – the US Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard – note they have developed a joint maritime strategy that focuses on China and Russia, which the services describe as “the two most significant threats to this era of global peace and prosperity”. However, the services reported, “We prioritise competition with China due to its growing economic and military strength, increasing aggressiveness, and demonstrated intent to dominate its regional waters and remake the international order in its favor.”

Furthermore, the services point out, China has the capacity to grow its naval might to keep pace with its operations and ambitions. “This rapid growth is enabled by a robust shipbuilding infrastructure, including multiple shipyards that exceed those in the United States in both size and throughput. In conflict, excess (Chinese) industrial capacity, including additional commercial shipyards, could quickly be turned toward military production and repair, further increasing China’s ability to generate new military forces.”

To counter the Chinese capability, the three US naval services noted their own plans, combining existing capabilities with new or upgraded platforms and operational concepts. “The navy will deliver Columbia-class (strategic ballistic missile) submarines on time to replace the retiring Ohio-class and continue to modernize nuclear command, control, and communications systems,” the services reported. “As directed by current national guidance, navy is fielding small numbers of low-yield, submarine-launched ballistic missile warheads and will continue development of a nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile to ensure the United States can credibly deter nuclear coercion or nuclear employment in any scenario.”

The three US naval services released a joint maritime strategy on 18 December that touts the capabilities of the Ford-class aircraft carrier. (Michael Fabey)

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