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  • Long-Range Strike: The American Javelin

    While American defense budgets are in a rapidly escalating free-fall, Chinese defense budgets have seen annual double-digit increases.

    China’s rapid military modernization is focusing on anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) technologies, which are designed to deny American naval and air forces access to the skies and waters off the Chinese coast.

    The problem is that much of the American force is unstealthy and consequently would not be able penetrate the Chinese A2/AD zone until later on in a conflict, when the A2/AD forces were neutralized. The dilemma for American strategists is how to destroy Chinese targets on the mainland when the bulk of the U.S. arsenal would have to sit out the opening rounds of conflict.

    The solution is long-range strike capabilities. Long-range strike is the American javelin that can leapfrog A2/AD defenses and destroy targets on the Chinese mainland at minimal risk to U.S. forces. America’s two most important long-range strike programs are the Navy’s SSBN-X, the Ohio-class replacement ballistic missile submarine, and the Air Force’s next-generation bomber.

    While these two programs play a major role in nuclear deterrence, when equipped with conventional missiles, they are perfect vehicles with which to attack the Chinese A2/AD network. These stealthy platforms can penetrate Chinese “no go” zones and destroy key missile batteries, opening the door for non-stealthy platforms to enter the conflict.

    Recent studies have indicated that a future conflict with China may be decided within the opening stages of an attack, long before preponderant American power could be marshaled to punch back against a Chinese offensive. Without effective long-range strike options, America would be left effectively defenseless against an opening salvo that could render airbases inoperable while keeping surface combatants out of their effective firing ranges.

    The SSBN-X and the Air Force’s next-generation bomber will form the core of America’s long-range strike arsenal far into the future and must be protected at all costs against budget cuts. Investing in these programs will be expensive, but the more costly course would be to find the United States “locked out” of the Asian littoral and unable to hold Chinese targets at risk—undermining deterrence and allowing China free rein in East Asia.

    In a time of fiscal uncertainty, America has a lot of choices—but let’s be sure we choose to maintain a military capable of meeting the threats of the 21st century.

    Charles Morrison is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Long-Range Strike: The American Javelin

    1. Jeff Alford says:

      Why use a picture of a old P-3 Orion. Those are sitting ducks when flying around China.

    2. David Mortellaro says:

      How about we just not go to war with China? The writer has presumed that war with China is inevitable. Why? Because the US just can't mind its own business?

      • Mike McEachern says:

        You have to be kidding yourself to think that China isn't looking for a way to take over the USA. China has way to many people to not be looking for growth. They already Know that we Know how to succeed,They take over the USA, they get all that information, and more.Whether by WAR or ECOMICS,They WIN!!!! THINK ABOUT IT,EVERY TIME YOU BUY SOMETHING FROM CHINA!!!!!

    3. Minefield says:

      What are the budgets? Just saying one is going up, and the other is going down, doesn't provide context.

    4. Jeff, Illinois says:

      There's more to this story . .

      The military industrial complex (MIC) is determined to maintain fear mongering so that it's funding never be questioned. In reality our defense budget is larger than all the other militarys in the world combined. If we stopped trying to be the World Police . . we would have plenty of funding to stay well advanced of other nations and the money saved could support our social programs and our infrastructure. But the GOP media is determined to distort the truth to keeping sucking money for MIC.

    5. MLF says:

      There are more basic issues in the defense posture towards China, and frankly US defense posture in general. Several of the basic components necessary to build our weaponry are now manufactured in and purchased from China. In some cases doing this has resulted in the loss of America's ability to produce the items any longer. These are not generally high tech components of the defense construct but they are critical pieces in the process and would be unavailable in a war with China or at any point where China decides that they will no longer supply them.

      In fact, many of our weapons systems rely on foreign components, not because of necessity but because of deliberate decisions to bring our allies or hoped for allies closer. While this may be a good political decision it doesn't seem to make sense from a supply sustainability perspective. In warfare the supply line has repeatedly been shown to be the most exploitable weakness. Yet we have and continue to spread ours out.

    6. JMAC says:

      Simple fix. I know a few thousand well trained U.S. soldiers that would love a real world mission back in there home land and happen to be highly skilled in dessert warfare! Im not advocating violence by no means but they are very skilled in digging in, securing, reinforcing and patrolling there turf. Not to leave out the recon, research, reporting and enemy detainment skills they also posses. I think it would be a great training oportunity for our beloved Speacial Forces just to get out there at night, round them up by the hundreds, scare the living daylights out of them and send them packing back southbound with a simple message: Do it right (legal) or dont do it at all! P.S. God Bless our outstanding military men and women!

    7. aris says:

      which are designed to deny American naval and air forces access to the skies and waters off the US coast .ha ha very funny,

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