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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Countering China's Anti-Access Strategy: The US Perspective Part I

Image 1: F-22 aircraft visiting Andersen AFB Guam from Joint Base Langley-Eustis VA.


The Obama Administration has initiated the "Pivot" strategy which involves the United States increasing its political, economic, and military presence in the Asia-Pacific region (Moss, 2013). Although the focal point of most discussions is the increased military build-up, the economic and political aspects of the Pivot are fundamental to increasing American soft power in the region. The current perception of many leaders in the PRC (People's Republic of China) military establishment is the Pivot is an attempt by the United States to militarily contain China in a similar manner as the Soviet Union was contained by the West (Stokols, 2013). The US military's effort to "rebalance" the region stems from China's aggressive military modernization program. Since 2003, the budget of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has increased on average by 9.7% each year; current DOD estimates put the PLA's full budget between $135 and $215 billion dollars ($180 billion is often cited).

The major focus of PLA spending is to enact the anti-access island chain strategy. Area denial weapons such as new attack submarines, cruise missiles, surface to air missiles, and anti-ship ballistic missiles have been procured in large numbers by China over the past decade. Power projection assets such as aerial refueling aircraft, fleet replenishment ships/oilers, and aircraft carriers have been largely neglected in comparison from a budgetary standpoint.

In response, the United States is in the midst of developing and procuring an arsenal of weapon systems designed to disable and destroy China's anti-access assets as part of the air/sea battle concept.

"The ASB [Air Sea Battle] Concept’s solution to the A2/AD [anti-access/area denial] challenge in the global commons is to develop networked,   integrated forces capable of attack-in-depth to disrupt, destroy and defeat adversary forces (NIA/D3). ASB’s   vision of networked, integrated, and attack-in-depth (NIA) operations requires the application of cross-domain   operations across all the interdependent warfighting domains (air, maritime, land, space, and cyberspace, to   disrupt, destroy, and defeat (D3) A2/AD capabilities and provide maximum operational advantage to friendly joint   and coalition forces." - From summary of Air-Sea Battle Concept and Air-Sea Battle Master Implementation Plan (FY13)

The purpose of this series of articles is to list the existing programs that are most vital to ensuring America's continued access to the Pacific in the event of hostilities with China. A list of eleven prudent recommendations follows the list of weapon systems currently being developed.

Existing Critical US Defense Programs 2013

  1. F-35 Lightning II
  2. Long Range Strike Bomber (LSR-B)
  3. Gerald Ford Class Super Carrier
  4. Ohio Class Replacement Program
  5. GPS III
  6. Aegis Combat System 
  7. KC-46 (KC-X)
  8. Virginia Class Nuclear Attack Submarine
  9. ADM-160 MALD
  10. MQ-4C Triton
  11. Long Range Anti-Ship Missile
  12. Next Generation Jammer
  13. Littoral Combat Ship
  14. UCLASS
The aforementioned programs are each at different stages of development/procurement. However, they are all deemed by the author to be of the highest level of strategic importance to the future security needs of the United States. These systems will be instrumental to countering China's anti-access assets and securing American power projection into the Pacific region. The American strategy will revolve around projecting overwhelming air and sea power.

Recommended US Actions

(1) Cultivate Strategic Alliances 

A worldwide network of bases and logistic assets coupled with the fact that the US Navy's combined tonnage is equal to that of the next 13 largest navies combined allows the United States to project power like no other nation throughout history (Gates, 2010). The United States certainly has the capacity to act unilaterally on many security issues but it pays to work with regional partners and attain the backing of the international community. America's strategy of building long lasting strategic alliances has served it well over the course of the last century.

"The fundamental pattern of international relations is that as a country becomes powerful and asserts itself, others gang up to bring it down. That's what happened to the Habsburg Empire, Napoleonic France, Germany and the Soviet Union.  There is one great exception to this rule in modern history: the United States. America has risen to global might, and yet it has not produced the kind of opposition that many would have predicted. In fact, today it is in the astonishing position of being the world's dominant power while many of the world's next most powerful nations--Britain, France, Germany, Japan--are all allied with it." - Fareed Zakaria, 2013

At present, there is no logical reason why the same historical trend should not apply in the case of China. As China continues to increase its military budget and assert itself in a series of territorial disputes with India, Vietnam, Japan, and the Philippines, other powers have taken notice.

"As a group, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand are slated to spend about $1.4 trillion on military programs between 2013 and 2018, an estimated 55% increase over the $919.5 billion the countries spent between 2008 and 2012." - Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN), 2013

A recent Pew research poll, America’s Global Image Remains More Positive than China’s, involving participants from 39 countries shed some light on current relations between China and its regional neighbors. Some important points from the survey for the purpose of this article are: American soft power (e.g. economic, political, technological, and cultural ties) remains very popular abroad - Most Asian countries view the United States favorably and as a partner by significant pluralities - Very few countries held a positive view of China in regards to its military growth and territorial assertiveness.

"Strong majorities in the Philippines (90%), Japan (82%), South Korea (77%) and Indonesia (62%) think that such territorial disputes with China are a big problem for their country. This is particularly the case in the Philippines, where 58% of Filipinos say such friction with China is a very big problem...In a related issue, many of China’s Asian-Pacific neighbors are quite troubled by Beijing’s growing military power. Nearly all Japanese (96%) and South Koreans (91%) and strong majorities of Australians (71%) and Filipinos (68%) think China’s expanding martial capabilities are bad for their country." - Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, 2013

Countries that view territorial disputes with China as a significant problem and countries that view China's rapid military rise as problematic should be considered as possible candidates for further military cooperation and assistance by the US. Cultivating military partnerships with these nations will bring many benefits to US forces: additional manpower, more materiel, shared intelligence, increased deterrence, new training opportunities, greater international backing, more favorable public opinion abroad, and access to new geographically diverse base locations. The Obama Administration has sought to increase military and political ties with Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Australia as part of the Pivot. Recently, the Australian Government has graciously agreed to host 2,500 US Marines in existing Australian bases (New York Times, 2011). Another recent development with regards to the Pivot was made as part of the US-Singapore Strategic Framework Agreement. The Government of Singapore has agreed to allow the United States to station four littoral combat ships in Singapore. Despite the recent gains, there is much more that needs to be done.

The current position of US forces in the Pacific is somewhat tenuous with regards to bases. In order to most effectively project air power, aircraft need to be deployed within 500 nautical miles from their intended target (RAND, 2008). Bases beyond 500 nautical miles away cause a set of logistic problems and reduced sortie generation for aircraft. However, maintaining airbases too close to hostile forces presents its own set of problems, "If they enemy is in range, so are you." The vast majority of US airbases in the Pacific are either too close to China or are far enough away to reduce operational effectiveness. The graph below shows a list of airbases in terms of their proximity to the Taiwan Strait.

RAND image

The United States could better its position if it were to establish new air and naval bases that better meet the aforementioned distance criteria. In particular, reestablishing Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base in the Philippines and a naval presence in Cam Ranh Bay Vietnam would significantly bolster the American presence in the Pacific. Due to the increased belligerence of China in regards to territorial disputes with both Vietnam and the Philippines, the United States has been able to secure some limited rotational force agreements. However, the current measures should be build upon and expanded if possible.

The United States should engage in further cooperation with both the Philippine and Vietnamese militaries by providing training assistance, military advisers, logistic support, access to fairly high-end weapon exports, and even limited technology transfer agreements (if requested). While adopting these hard power measures, methods of increasing soft power within the Philippines and Vietnam should be reviewed. Understandably past historical interactions between the United States and these two countries do not heighten the chances of establishing new bases within these countries. However, these measures would hopefully increase the likelihood of securing permanent bases sometime within the next decade or at the very least demonstrate good will on behalf of the United States and renew the current rotational force agreements. In summary, it is in the best interest of the United States to promote the military standing of both the Philippines and Vietnam at this time and build upon the already established positive perception of the United States in Asia through soft power means.

(2) Reduce Army Funding, Increase Navy and Air Force Funding 

“Since fiscal year 1948, the Army, Navy, and Air Force have on average received 28 percent, 31 percent, and 33 percent, respectively, of DOD’s annual budget. Hot war, cold war, or no war – the allotment of the services’ budgets has remained relatively constant over time.” - Travis Sharp, 2011

Most of the US military establishment foresees the next war to be a high intensity conflict involving the integration of air and sea based assets (e.g. air sea battle concept). In line with this thinking, many strategic planners believe the US Army to be of less importance than the Navy (+ Marines) and Air Force. The reality is the Navy and Air Force need more funding to fulfill their objectives in the re-balancing of the Asia-Pacific while the threat of a major ground campaign in Europe as planned during the Cold War is much less relevant than it used to be. Sequestration is only making the current situation more severe.

“Unready forces, misaligned global posture, inability to keep pace with emerging threats, reduced security cooperation , and failure to maintain a high quality All Volunteer Force are all becoming increasingly likely the longer sequestration in its current form persists.” - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, 2013

With the golden ratio in effect, the USAF and USN budgets would not increase unless all branches of the military received a boost to spending. The current fiscal reality coupled with the absolute gridlock in Congress means ending sequestration, let alone improving the financial outlook of the United States, is a far fetched reality. Therefore, the armed forces will mostly likely have to make due with the current amount of allocated spending. The Army's budget should not be "gutted" but limited cuts to the Army in order to shore up important Navy and Air Force programs would be prudent.

Luckily, there are members of Congress who understand the current budgetary allocation problem:

"The 'fair-share' approach is antithetical to good strategic planning and the Pentagon, whatever the size of its budget, cannot afford to continue on this course...Real strategic choices should not be built on fair budget percentages but on hard calculations about the types of capabilities the Combatant Commanders need to meet the missions we ask them to execute. Instead of talking in terms of percentages, we should seek to answer questions of strategy and budgets by asking what we anticipate the national security environment will look like over the next five, 10 and 20 years...Going forward, the Pentagon needs to better translate its strategic priorities into new resource-allocation priorities. This should mean investing in a mix of capabilities that can operate in environments that are becoming contested by anti-access/area-denial networks. To achieve this, traditional assumptions about how our military conducts sea control, projects power, or operates in the electromagnetic spectrum will need to be challenged. - Congressmen J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) and Rick Larsen (D-WA), House Armed Services Committee.

(3) Forward Deploy Raptors to Andersen AFB

Image 5: Raptors assigned to the 199th FS based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Hawaii. A total of 20 Raptors are assigned to the 199th FS.

"The F-22 was envisioned as the the ultimate air superiority fighter against a large enemy force of sophisticated aircraft. It was designed, built, and has evolved into the best air superiority fighter in history." - Lou Drendel, 2010

The USAF intended to acquire 383 Raptors to replace its fleet of F-15C aircraft, procure the F/B-22 to replace the F-15E strike eagle, and acquire nearly 2,000 F-35 JSF aircraft to replace its F-16 fleet (Drendel, pg. 53, 2010). The plan would have continued the USAF's successful high/low fighter mix procurement strategy. However, the tumultuous fiscal situation the United States Government is now suffering from made the implementation of the original procurement plan unfeasible. In a shortsighted move, Raptor production was terminated in 2009 and the USAF received only 187 airframes of which 149 are combat coded at any one time (Schanz, 2011). The remaining 187 airframes represent a crucial component in the USAF's future dedicated aggregate air superiority capabilities alongside 176 older F-15C's which will be retained and upgraded into the early 2030s.  

Due to the limited and fixed number of airframes, deployment of the F-22 must be made in such a way as to maximize the standing of the USAF in the Pacific. The following is the current Raptor deployment (NOTE: aircraft used for training and test and evaluation aircraft stationed at Nellis and Andrews AFB were committed from this list). 

Elmendorf-Richardson AK (30), Pearl Harbor-Hickam HA (20), Langley-Eustis VA (30), Tyndall FL (56) 
- Source: AIR FORCE Magazine, Moving Time, September 2011

The USAF's reasoning for the current Raptor deployment is as follows: 

"The reorganization came in the aftermath of Congress’ termination of the F-22 line in 2009, rendering inefficient the old plans for a broader force structure. Last July, the Air Force first announced its plan to form the most 'effective' basing alignment—essentially requiring the redistribution of aircraft from one F-22 unit to four different Raptor bases...Senior Air Force leadership said they settled on the arrangement after a survey of four Raptor bases, looking at feasibility, timing, cost, and planning factors, which would influence whether or not more F-22s could be supported. Site survey results and 'military judgment' were factors in the decisions, the Air Force said in its July 2010 plan announcement. The plan 'maximizes combat aircraft and squadrons available for contingencies'” - AIR FORCE Magazine, 2011

In effect, the current allocation of Raptors came down to the issue of cost not optimal force deployment for the United States' future security needs. The influential Quadrennial Defense Review report concluded that the United States must allocate more combat assets to the Asia-Pacific region to implement the Pivot. Since the release of the QDR 2010 report, the the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army have all undertaken measures in compliance with the "Pacific first" deployment strategy. The Navy plans to transfer a substantial number of its assets from the Atlantic (mostly from Europe) with the goal of deploying 60% of its total warships to the Pacific by 2020 (Panetta, 2012). The Army also plans to transfer its combat units out of Afghanistan and Iraqi to the Pacific bases (Defense News, 2013). The Marine Corps also plans to station a large contingent of forces in Pacific bases at Guam, Australia, Hawaii, and Japan. Furthermore, the very first F-35B's the Marine Core will receive are to be stationed in Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) at Iwakuni Japan along with new V-22 Osprey aircraft (IHS Janes, 2013). 

The USAF is far behind all other branches of the US Military in terms of complying with the Pivot. The only notable transfers made by the USAF to the Western Pacific are a few RQ-4 Global Hawk and U-2 aircraft. The 20 F-22 aircraft stationed at JB Pearl-Hickam is certainly a welcome move but more Raptors are needed in closer proximity to US Western Pacific allies and China itself. Air Force planning does not sufficiently take into account the current strategic reality faced by the United States with regards to Raptor deployment. 

Image 6: F-22 from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson visiting Andersen AFB Guam.

Therefore, the author strongly recommends the USAF transfer one full squadron (24 aircraft) of F-22's from Tyndall AFB to Andersen AFB in Guam. Such a transfer would likely be impossible without recommendation two, the reduction of US Army funding and transfer to USN and USAF. Out of the four main bases that operate the F-22, Tyndall was the logical choice for receiving the largest contingent of F-22s due to its substantial training infrastructure. However, with more funds available as a result of recommendation two, moving F-22's to Andersen AFB becomes the preferred option. The permanent forward deployment of America's most capable air superiority asset to the Pacific would result in several advantages: confidence of allies in regards to US commitment in the region, increased international training opportunities for Raptor pilots, and most importantly a substantial increase in air-to-air capabilities for US forces deployed to the Pacific.

Of all the bases currently maintained by the United States in the Pacific, Andersen AFB would be the logical site to deploy Raptors from. Guam is arguably the single most important base to US power projection in the Pacific. 

"Guam currently hosts a range of US military facilities, divided between US Navy and US Air Force assets. In the near future, Guam will also have a substantial US Marine Corps presence, as units are relocated from Okinawa in Japan. The US Air Force presence is concentrated at Andersen AFB, home base to the base support 36th Wing, and now hosts a permanent deployment of heavy bombers, rotated through the base from US...Andersen is expanding and upgrading its facilities, including an RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV maintenance complex. In strategic terms, Andersen is a key geographical hub for the US Air Force, as it provides for coverage of South East Asia and Southern China. Moreover, it sits outside the striking radius of most aircraft based on the Asian mainland, unlike the bases in Japan and South Korea. The US Navy’s presence in Guam is no less important strategically, with facilities centred around Apra Harbour, a natural deep-water anchorage on the western coast of Guam...Guam is a critical basing hub for the US Navy, not only hosting the submarine squadrons intended to patrol the West Pacific, but also providing a logistical node for replenishment of surface fleet assets such as carriers and supporting surface combatants with munitions, fuel and other stores and provisions." - Kopp, 2008

Image 7: B-2 Spirit bomber with F-22 escort over Guam. Andersen AFB is one of only three overseas bases capable of supporting the B-2 (the others being Royal Air Force Fairford in the United Kingdom and Diego Garcia). A strike package of 24 Raptors with four B-2 Spirit bombers would provide a powerful deterrent to China.

Due to Guam's vital strategic importance, measures must be taken in order to ensure it is appropriately defended. Andersen has one of the largest airfields in the world and can provide the support assets and infrastructure needed for a squadron of F-22 aircraft. Furthermore, the base is out of range of all but the most long range PLA weapon systems. H-6 Badger bombers coupled with DH-10 missiles are theoretically capable of striking Guam. However, US assets such as the 12 US Army Patriot batteries assigned to the Asia-Pacific and Standard Missile Block IA + Standard Missile Block II launched from Flight IIA Arleigh Burke destroyers are more than capable of intercepting both the DH-10 cruise missiles and the H-6 bombers. However, the current deployment of USAF assets does leave Guam vulnerable to the stealthy J-20.

Many aviation experts, such as Bill Sweetman, believe the J-20 is a long range strike aircraft that would act similar to a "stealth F-111". Strike aircraft in the same class as the F-111 have a combat radius between 1,000 to 1,500 nautical miles meaning the J-20 is potentially capable of striking targets in the second island chain like Guam (Kopp, 2011). The annual report to Congress had a similar assessment of the J-20's capabilities:

"Similarly, current and projected systems such as the J-20 stealth fighter and longer-range conventional ballistic missiles could improve the PLA’s ability to strike regional air bases, logistical facilities, and other ground-based infrastructure...The J-20 will eventually give the PLA Air Force a platform capable of long range, penetrating strikes into complex air defense environments." - ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2011

The best counter to the 5th generation J-20's is another 5th generation aircraft such as the F-22. Despite the Chinese aerospace industry's continuing problems in the manufacturing of high performance turbofan engines and AESA radars, the J-20 will outclass existing deployed USAF platforms in the Asia-Pacific such a the F-15C's operated by 44th and 67th FS based at Kadena AFB and the 35th FS and 80th FS which operate F-16C/D's based at Kunsan AFB. US forces in the Asia-Pacific are in desperate need 5th generation capabilities. Although the F-35 will certainly help in this regard, Marine and USAF units will not achieve initial operational capability (IOC) with the Lightning II until 2015 and 2016 with 10 and 12 deployed units respectively at IOC (Aviation Week, 2013). Meanwhile, the US Department of Defense predicts in its annual assessment that the J-20 could reach IOC by 2018. However the US intelligence community has a habit of routinely underestimating the speed and quality of Chinese weapon development programs until after they have made IOC.

Image 8: The Chengdu J-20 is the second stealth aircraft built outside of the United States and makes use of many of the radar reduction measures employed on the F-22 such as planform alignment, chined nose and aligned trapezoidal inlets (although the J-20 makes use of DSI like the F-35). The combination of these shaping techniques coupled with RAM likely grants the J-20 a low observable radar cross section. However, the addition of canards and lack of substantial rear stealth reduction measures means the J-20's stealth characteristics are inferior to both the F-35 and F-22.

The deployment of Raptors to Andersen will ease the transition to the F-35 in the Pacific and will provide immediate 5th generation capabilities to US forces operating near China. At the very least, the USAF should station a constant rotational force of at least 12 F-22 aircraft in the Pacific at all times. The USAF has stationed Raptors at both Kadena and Andersen on rotational deployments in the past. Furthermore, the rotational force option should be well within the USAF's pre-sequestration budget.

 Part II - Increasing US Force Survivability

Recommendations 4-11 will be published in subsequent parts of this series of articles. 

Related Articles from this Blog 

China's Anti Access Strategy Part I
China's Anti Access Strategy Part II: Air Power


  1. America’s Pivot to Asia: A Report Card, Trevor Moss, 2013.
  2. Wheels Up! Has Obama Really Pivoted to Asia? Phillip Saunders and Katrina Fung, 2013.
  3. What China Thinks About Obama's "Asian Pivot", Andrew Stokols, 2013.
  4. Bold Projections Taken Out of Context Overstate China’s Leeway for Military Budget Growth, Defense Industry Daily, 2012.
  5. The military balance, The Economist, 2013.
  6. Annual DoD Report Claims Steady Chinese Military Expansion, Defense News, 2013.
  7. U.S. Asian Allies Raise Regional Stakes With Military Spending, Aviation Week, 2013.
  8. When GPS fails, this speck of an electronic device could step in, University of Mitchigan, 2013.
  10. Time Running Out for Taiwan if Russia Releases S-400 SAM, Defense News, 2013.
  11. Navy’s Top Geek Says Laser Arsenal Is Just Two Years Away, Spencer Ackerman, 2012.
  12. Watch the Navy’s New Ship-Mounted Laser Cannon Kill a Drone, Spencer Ackerman, 2013.
  13. Navy Wants Lasers on Marines’ Trucks to Shoot Down Drones,  Spencer Ackerman, 2013.
  14. The Long Reach of Aegis, Robbin Laird, 2012.
  15. The F-35 and the Future of Power Projection, ROBBIN F. LAIRD and EDWARD T. TIMPERLAKE, 2013. 
  17. America the Isolated? Fareed Zakaria, 2013.,9171,2143560-1,00.html
  18. Air Sea Battle, 2013.
  19. Robert M. Gates, Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition, 2010.
  20. US Department of Defense FY 2014 Budget Takes off in the House, Stalls in the Senate, Defense Industry Daily, 2013.
  21. U.S. Seeks Expanded Role for Military in Philippines, NY Times, 2013.
  22. Rebalance the Pentagon’s Golden Ratio, Travis Sharp, 2011.
  23. The Pentagon’s Fair-Share Budget Strategy, Representative Forbes and Larsen, 2013.
  24. Is this the lightweight fighter of the future? Dave Majumdar, 2013.
  25. The Next Lightweight Fighter July–August 2013 Air & Space Power Journal 39, Col Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF.
  26. White House Must Bolster Pacific Strategy Across Government: Former CNO, HASC Members, Breaking Defense, 2013.
  27. Panetta Outlines New Weaponry for Pacific, NY Times, 2012.
  28. Special Report: Military Logistics US Pacific Shift Has Heavy Logistics Price Tag, Defense News, 2013.
  30. U.S. Plans Naval Shift Toward Asia, WSJ, 2012.
  31. A U.S. Marine Base for Australia Irritates China, NY Times, 2011.
  32. Panetta’s Cam Ranh Bay Visit Symbolizes Growing U.S.-Vietnam Ties, Jim Garamone - American Forces Press Service, 2012.
  33. USMC readies F-35B for service, for deployment to Japan, IHS Janes, 2013.
  34. F-35B Joint Strike Fighters and More V-22 Ospreys Destined For Japanese Bases, Richard Dudely - Defense Update, 2013.
  35. U.S. Increasing Military Presence in the Philippines, Luke Hunt - The Diplomat, 2012.
  36. Guam  Tip of the spear, Carlo Kopp, 2008.
  37. Chengdu J-XX [J-20] Stealth Fighter Prototype A Preliminary Assessment, Carlo Kopp, 2011.
  38. USAF Accepts Limited Capability With 2016 F-35 IOC, Amy Butler - Aviation Week, 2013.
  39. USAF F-22 Raptors participate in Trident Warrior 2013, Dave Majumdar - Flight Global, 2013.
  40. Chengdu J-20 could enter service by 2018, Dave Majumdar - Flight Global, 2012.
  41. Washington Watch, Air Force Maganzine, 2012.
  43. ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, Deparment of Defense, 2011.
  44. B-2 Deployments, Global Security, 2011.
  45. B-2 Shelter System [B2SS] Extra Large Deployable Aircraft Hangar Systems (Formerly: B-2 Shelter Program), Global Security, 2011.
  46. Air Force sent B-2 bomber shelters to forward operating locations in England, Diego Garcia, Assocaiated Press, 2002.
  47. U.S. Plans Naval Shift Toward Asia, WSJ, 2012.
  48. Moving Time, Marc V. Schanz - AIR FORCE Magazine, September 2011.
  49. F-22 Raptor in Action, Lou Drendel, 2011. ISBN-10: 0897476271
  50. CJCS Gen. Dempsey Signals Strategy Change; Cites Sequestration, Decline Of State Power, Technology Spread,   COLIN CLARK -Breaking Defense, 2013. 
  51. Back to the Future: The U.S. Navy Returns to The Philippines, James Hardy - The Diplomat, 2012.
  52. The Philippines’ Search for Strategic Partners, Julio Amador III - The Diplomat, 2013.
  53. America’s Global Image Remains More Positive than China’s, Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, 2013.
  54. Air Force FB-22 Bomber Concept, Christopher Bolkcom - CRS Report for Congress, 2004. 


  1. Another Great article Matt. Well done.

  2. Thank you for this great article. I look forward to future articles in this series.

    1. It was my pleasure, I've been trying hard to improve my writing lately. I've already done work on the next part so it might be up the week after next. I read your article on UCLASS btw; you made some good points about LM's sea ghost.

    2. You are doing a great job, as far as writing and content go.

      Thank you for the kind words. My blog is a relative newcomer.

  3. Nice article, we will probably see US air power back at Subic-Cubi point within the next two years or before 2016. They will probably gain access to Lumbia Airbase and Puerto Princesa Airport within that time frame.

    1. Even if they are more open for expanded US cooperation now then they were before, I don't think it will be easy. US Gov will likely have to use several incentives to sway the Philippines and I'd guess we'd only be able to reestablish one of the old permanent bases (Although I'm a pessimist so idk)

    2. Clark AFB would be a no-go, as it was pretty much stripped of everything of value, to include door hinges, wiring, plumbing, etc, after the USAF pulled out.

    3. Scratch that. Looks like what I was told was incorrect.

    4. My understanding is that moving into any of our previously vacated Philippines bases would take a significant amount of time and resources stripped or not. But we need new bases so it would probably be worth it in the long run.

  4. Whoa. I'm not even done with this article but I have to say, thanks for listening to us in the poll. This is a great article, I can't wait to finish it!

    1. Thanks, I"m always trying to improve for you guys :)