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US Commanders: Military May Not be Able Stop Chinese, N. Korean Forces

Image: US Commanders: Military May Not be Able Stop Chinese, N. Korean Forces
Adm. Samuel Locklear

By    |   Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 11:10 PM

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps lack the assets to perform a contested amphibious operation if a crisis occurs in the Pacific, according to Adm. Samuel Locklear, head of the  U.S. Pacific Command.

Comments made in congressional testimony this week by Locklear and Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. and U.N. forces in Korea, appeared to raise questions about the U.S. military’s ability to respond to Chinese or North Korean military action if current Pentagon funding trends continue.

Speaking within hours of  Pyongyang’s latest missile firing, Scaparrotti said that North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un is more dangerous than his erratic  late father, Kim Jong Il, who ruled the country from 1994 until his death in 2011.

Scaparrotti told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Pyongyang has the capability to fire missiles “on short notice, with very little warning.”

He  also raised doubts about his ability to effectively counter a large-scale North Korean attack.

“I am concerned about the readiness of the follow-on forces in our theater,” Scaparrotti told the panel.

He agreed with lawmakers who said  low readiness among forces stationed outside Korea would allow the enemy more time to build its defenses, resulting in longer combat operations and higher U.S. casualties in the event of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula.

Scaparrotti criticized a Pentagon cost-saving measure reportedly included in the 2015 defense budget – replacing U-2 manned surveillance aircraft with Global Hawk drones – warning that it could  hamper the Korea command’s ability to rapidly gather intelligence.

Locklear told the same panel that without additional resources, his forces “wouldn’t be able to” carry out a needed amphibious operation, Stars And Stripes reported.

Locklear’s comments come amid mounting concerns that China might seek to occupy the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Although the Senkakus have long been under Japan’s administrative control, China has asserted sovereignty over them, and there is concern that Beijing may attempt to seize the islands.

According to the Obama Administration, the Senkakus are Japanese territory, and the U.S. military  would be required to come to Tokyo’s aid in the event of an attack by China. U.S. Marines and Japanese Self-Defense Forces conducted a major amphibious warfare training exercise off the California coast last year.

Locklear told the Armed Services panel that the Pentagon has under consideration his request for  additional amphibious lift capabilities. He said global force requirements were partly to blame for the problem he faces in retaining sufficient forces in the Pacific theater.

Locklear said that in numerous cases, he has been required to send amphibious forces  trained and maintained by the U.S. Pacific Command to other world regions like Europe and the Middle East.

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The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps lack the assets to perform a contested amphibious operation if a crisis occurs in the Pacific, according to Adm. Samuel Locklear, head of the U.S. Pacific Command.
US,military,China,NKorea
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2014-10-26
Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 11:10 PM
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