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US Military Power 2012

July, 2013

Report on U.S. Military Power 2012
China Strategic Culture Promotion Association


Chapter One - Defense Strategy
I. Assessing U.S. Security Environment
II. Specifying Ten Primary Missions of the U.S. Armed Forces

Chapter Two - Military Strength and Force Deployment
I. U.S. Military Strength
II. Military Deployment
III. Military Bases

Chapter Three - National Defense Budget and Weapons R&D and Procurement
I. National Defense Budget
II. Weapons R&D and Procurement

Chapter Four - New Development in Operational Doctrines
I. New Developments in the Air-Sea Battle Concept
II. Development of the "Joint Operational Access Concept"
III. The Concept of Globally Integrated Operations and Its Requirements for joint forces

Chapter Five - Alliances and Partnerships
I. Expanding Alliances from Bilateral to Multilateral Ones in the Asia-Pacific Region, with U.S.-Japan Alliance as the Central Axis
II. Cementing Existing Partnerships and Develop New Partnerships

Chapter Six - Military Exercises
I. Military Exercises Conducted by the U.S. Military Alone
II. Exercises Conducted by the U.S. Armed Forces and Other Militaries

In 2012, as Mr. Obama was seeking to win his second term as U.S. President and the nine-year war in Iraq was drawing to an end, the Obama administration proceeded with the strategy of Rebalancing towards the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific Region amid a record-high fiscal deficit, significant cuts in defense expenditure, and domestic unemployment rate hovering high. In terms of military development, the year 2012 is marked by the release of a strategic guidance document--Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense--and is characterized by realignment of U.S. global military deployment, R&D of new weaponry and equipment, innovation in operational doctrines, enhancing alliances and partnerships, and increase in joint military exercises. The U.S. has been seeking to sustain its global leadership by maintaining combat effectiveness while cutting defense spending.

Chapter One - Defense Strategy

On January 5th, 2012, U.S. President Obama and then Secretary of Defense Panetta co-signed a new U.S. guidance for defense strategy—Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. The document, stipulated jointly by the Department of Defense (DoD), Joint Chiefs of Staff, service departments, theater commands, and CSCPA Report on U.S. Military Power 2012 relevant government agencies, provides important guidelines for adjusting the size and structure of the U.S. Armed Forces, priorities for weaponry and equipment development, military capabilities, force deployment, and resource allocation.

The document was introduced by both President Obama and then Secretary of Defense Panetta, and is composed of five parts, namely, Introduction, A Challenging Global Security Environment, Primary Missions of the U.S. Armed Forces, Toward the Joint Force of 2020, and Conclusion. The major content of the document is as follows:

I. Assessing U.S. Security Environment

From a geostrategic perspective, the arch extending from the Western Pacific, East Asia to the Indian Ocean and South Asia is closely related to U.S. economic and security interests. Within this vast region, there are emerging powers as well as flash points such as North Korea's nuclear issue and conflicts centering on resources. Although terrorist forces in the Middle East have suffered serious blows, Al Qaeda and its affiliates remain active in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere. South Asia and the Middle East could very likely become the hotbed for violent extremists. The Arab Spring ignited regional turbulences, resulting in government changes. Europe has the most staunch US allies and partners, most of whom are now "producers" not "consumers" of security. On the whole, Europe's security situation is stable. A fewplaces in Europe, though, are troubled with potential security challenges and conflicts.

To be specific, China and Iran are of particular concern for the U.S.. The document mentions China on the following three occasions: "China's emergence as a regional power will have the potential to affect the U.S. economy and [U.S.] security in a variety of ways", "the growth of China's military power must be accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions in order to avoid causing friction in the region," and "[s]tates such as China and Iran will continue to pursue asymmetric means to counter [U.S.] power projection capabilities." It holds that Iran is taking destructive policies and seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Once there is proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction, U.S. national security will be seriously threatened.In terms of the nature of threats facing the U.S., non-traditional security threats have become greater. Such threats include not only terrorist threats from radical terrorism such as remaining Al Qaeda terrorists and Hezbollah, but also new challenges posed by state and non-state actors in global commons such as sea, air, and cyberspace. The strategic guidance document holds that "[b]oth state and non-state actors possess the capability and intent to conduct cyber espionage and, potentially, cyber attacks on the United States, with possible severe effects on both [U.S.] military operations and [U.S.] homeland."

II. Specifying Ten Primary Missions of the U.S. Armed Forces

"After a decade of counter-terror war, the United States is at a strategic turning point." The U.S. Armed Forces are in the transitional period of military transformation, and "it is shifting from focusing on fighting and winning the current war on terror to preparing for future challenges." For capability development and resource allocation, the strategic guidance document specifies ten primary missions of the U.S. Armed Forces:

First, to conduct counter terrorism and irregular warfare. As the U.S. draws down in Afghanistan and concludes the war on terror, it will continue with global counter terrorism efforts aiming at disrupting, dismantling, and defeating Al Qaeda and its affiliates. The U.S. efforts will be characterized by both direct involvement and security assistance, employing irregular operationalcapabilities and other means of national power.

Second, to deter and defeat aggression. As a nation with important interests in multiple regions, U.S. forces must be capable of deterring and defeating aggression in one region when its forces are committed to a large-scale joint operation elsewhere.

Third, to project power despite anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) challenges. The strategic guidance document maintains that China and Iran will continue to pursue asymmetric means such as cyber, electronic and missile warfare to counter U.S. power projection capabilities and freedom of activity. Accordingly, the U.S. military is required to ensure its ability to operate effectively in A2/AD environments by implementing the Joint Operational Access Concept.

Fourth, to counter Weapons of Mass Destruction(WMD). DoD will enhance its cooperation with other government agencies for the implementation of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program to improve its capabilities to detect, protect against, and respond to WMD use, so that proliferation and employment of WMD could be prevented.

Fifth, to operate effectively in cyberspace and space. Both cyberspace and space are new domains of military contest and therefore critical to the U.S. military superiority. The strategic guidance document points out that as U.S. networks and space assets and their supporting infrastructure face a range of threats that may take advantage of, disrupt, or destroy assets, their protective capabilities must be improved.

Sixth, to maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. The U.S. nuclear forces play a dual role of both deterring potential adversaries and fulfilling its security commitments. The strategic guidance document maintains that U.S. strategic deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force. Accordingly, the number of nuclear weapons and their role in U.S. national security strategy can be reduced.

Seventh, to defend U.S. homeland and provide support to civil authorities. U.S. forces will continue to defend U.S. territory from external attacks. They will also respond actively to a significant or catastrophic event.

Eighth, to give a full play of its overseas military presence. In time of peace, through rotational deployments and bilateral and multilateral training exercises, the U.S. seeks to increase its influence, strengthen alliance cohesion, and shape an environment which is conducive to its national interests.

Ninth, to address insurgencies with an emphasis on non-military means and military-to-military cooperation. If necessary, U.S. forces will conduct limited counterinsurgency and other stability operations, but they should avoid significant and enduring commitments to stability operations.

Tenth, to conduct humanitarian, disaster relief, and other operations. U.S. forces should give a full play of its capabilities in airlift and sealift, and medical evacuation. They should also develop joint doctrine and response options to respond to natural disasters and mass atrocities both at home and abroad.

III. Clarifying Principles of U.S. Force and Program Development

The strategic guidance document makes it clear that the U.S. will build a force that is smaller, more agile, and technologically more advanced. To that end, it must adhere to eight principles. First, the future force will possess a range of capabilities for the missions mentioned above. As there are distinctions between these primary missions and other missions in terms of urgency and importance, the development level of all these capabilities will be different from each other. It is impossible to give up any of these mission areas; and it is imperative to protect U.S. forces' ability to regenerate capabilities that might be needed to meet future, unforeseen demands. Second, U.S. forces should seek to differentiate between the investments that should be made immediately and those that can be deferred. This includes an accounting of U.S. ability to make a course change in investment that could be driven by strategic, operational, economic, technological, and other factors. The concept of "reversibility", therefore, is a key part of the decision-making process. Third, U.S. forces are determined to improve their war preparedness. Even as they reduce their overall capacity, they maintain a ready and capable force. Fourth, DoD must continue to reduce administrative expenditure, find further efficiencies in operating DoD, and reduce its manpower costs and health care costs. Fifth, it is necessary to examine the strategic influence. It is important to evaluate how this strategy will influence existing campaign and contingency plans so that limited resources may be invested in critical areas. Sixth, DoD needs to examine the mix of Active Component (AC) and Reserve Component (RC) elements and to specify the readiness of RC. Seventh, special measures will be taken to retain and build on key advancements in networked warfare in which joint forces can be truly interdependent. Eighth, DoD will maintain an adequate industrial base and investment in science and technology, and encourage innovation in concepts of operation. Over the past decade, the U.S. and its allies and partners have applied innovative approaches in counter terrorism and counterinsurgency operations. The same is true with U.S. forces in A2/AD and cyber operations.

The strategic guidance document outlines major adjustments in U.S. defense strategy when the war in Iraq has concluded, the war in Afghanistan is drawing near an end, its national economy remains in recession, and its defense budget is suffering significant cuts. In terms of threat assessment, the U.S. takes China as its greatest potential security challenge, and Iran and DPRK as immediate adversaries to be deterred and cautioned against. While continuing to fight against violent and radical terrorists, the U.S. will shift its defense focus from tackling terrorism to dealing with major powers and regional challenges. In terms of war preparedness, the U.S. is prepared to fight and win high-end conventional warfare against a backdrop of nuclear deterrence, focusing on dealing with A2/AD threats. It is determined to ensure fighting and winning a large-scale war, and at the same time deter and defeat attacks launched by a second adversary elsewhere. In terms of force development, the U.S. will amend force structure, shifting from expanding land,maritime, and air forces to developing both joint forces that are smaller, more agile and advanced, and emerging operational forces such as space and cyberspace units. In terms of strategic center of gravity, the U.S. will tilt from Europe to the Asia-Pacific region with Guam as the hub, Japan as a pivot in the north and Australia as a pivot in the south. The result is that U.S. military presence is reinforced with 60% of its warships deployed in both the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. U.S. military buildup in the region is now characterized by a multilayered presence with a broad front and depth. The ultimate purpose of this shift is to maintain absolute U.S. military superiority and global leadership in time of decline with strategic realignment.

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