- The Pentagon revealed details of its review of global military posture on Monday
- Officials said they were deploying fighter and bomber planes to Australia
- And they announced that the base on Guam would be upgraded
- The island of Guam is the closest U.S. base to mainland China
- It is part of an effort to focus the U.S. military on the threat from Beijing
The Pentagon plans to improve its bases in Guam and Australia to counter the growing threat from China, officials announced on Monday, after a nine-month review of military resources around the world.
But they said that no major changes to the global U.S. military posture were needed and that they would not publish the overall findings.
The nine-month review was designed to coordinate the nation’s massive military capabilities with the Biden administration’s strategic priorities, most notably responding to China’s growing assertiveness and its buildup of forces.
‘In the Indo-Pacific, the review directs additional cooperation with allies and partners to advance initiatives that contribute to regional stability and deter potential Chinese military aggression and threats from North Korea,’ the Pentagon said it a statement.
‘These initiatives include seeking greater regional access for military partnership activities; enhancing infrastructure in Australia and the Pacific Islands; and planning rotational aircraft deployments in Australia, as announced in September.’
Guam is about 3000 miles from China, making it the closest U.S. military base to the country.
Details of a renewed focus on Guam emerged earlier this month, with plans to build a version of Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ missile defense system on the island.
Mara Karlin, assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities, told reporters: ‘On the Indo-Pacific, we’re moving the needle a bit.’
She said the Department of Defense was sending fighter and bomber aircraft to Australia, and that it was investing in logistics, fuel and munitions depots, as well as airfield upgrades in Guam, Australia and the Northern Mariana Islands, according to Breaking Defense.
The review is an attempt to move away from how former President Donald Trump made major decisions that impacted the military and allies – often on Twitter and with little discussions within his own administration that caught officials by surprise.
During his tenure Trump announced that U.S. troops would be leaving Syria on several occasions and at one point ordered a large troop cut from Germany, which Biden reversed.
‘We sought to re-establish a strategy informed, coherent decision making process,’ said the senior U.S. defense official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity.
Although the review was launched months ago, the work has taken on added urgency in recent weeks.
Washington has been scrambling to catch up after China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile that circled the earth in August.
A string of senior officials has also warned that it was stealing a march on the U.S. with its artificial intelligence capabilities.
Soldiers from Fort Bliss, Texas flew to the US territory weeks ago to help set up the Iron Dome, according to a spokesman for the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command. The system arrived on Guam earlier this month.
Israel has successfully used its Iron Dome to shoot down thousands of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip in recent years during the ongoing conflict with the Palestinian people.
Israel’s Iron Dome can protect against the crude cruise missiles fired from Gaza but would likely be useless against any ballistic missiles, which China recently tested, or other advanced rockets.