Questioning Fundamental Defense Assumptions

China’s growing anti-access capabilities should be considered a “matter of urgency” and call into question some of the fundamental assumptions upon which the United States has based its defense planning for the Pacific region since World War II, said Thomas Mahnken, professor at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. The belief that “US bases in Guam, Japan, and elsewhere will be secure from attack is in question,” as is the view that “in a crisis, US information networks will remain secure,” he told House readiness overseers Thursday. The United States also can no longer rely on the fact that it “will enjoy an operational sanctuary in space,” states Mahnken’s written testimony. To address these issues, the United States should consider “developing a coalition intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance network in the Western Pacific,” hardening and diversifying its Pacific bases, and helping to bolster allied submarine forces, he wrote. (Mahnken prepared statement)