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USINDOPACOM commander pushes case for Aegis Ashore on Guam

US Navy Admiral Philip Davidson, the commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), reiterated his call to deploy the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defence system to Guam to deter potential Chinese aggression, while calling for additional ‘offensive’ long-range precision fires to deploy to the region.

The USINDOPACOM head appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee on 9 March and fielded questions about threats in the region with a focus placed on ones from Beijing. When it comes to Guam, Adm Davidson said US Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery on island is not adequate.

“I'm a key advocate for persistent, fixed, 360° air and missile defence that would be capable of meeting cruise missile threats, ballistic missile threats, certainly anything that [can launch] a cruise missile…from the land, from the sea, and from the air,” he told lawmakers. “The structure that's out there right now, the THAAD radar, is not capable of meeting the current trajectory of threats from China.”

China has made “Guam a target today”, he said, citing a propaganda video released by the nation showing H-6 bombers attacking Andersen Air Force Base located on the island. Due to the base’s location, along with the fact it is a US territory with approximately 170,000 US citizens living there, he made the case for defending it and maintaining US footing in the region.

”It’s become clear to me that Guam is not just a place that we believe that we could fight from, as we have for many decades, we are going to have to fight for it in order to be able to do that,” Adm Davidson added.

Accordingly, he said the Department of Defense (DoD) needs to replace the THAAD system there with the Aegis Ashore.

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