West 2013

Event eNews: West 2013

The WEST 2013 Online Show Daily

Pivot to the Pacific: What are the Practical and Global Implications?

Day 1: Fiscal Armageddon Is No False Prophesy
The military services are facing potentially crippling constraints if sequestration takes place in March. Defense officials foresee the likelihood of draconian budget cuts being imposed that will cripple the force just as it is being counted on to assume new strategic missions. In most cases, the services will have to choose to sacrifice some capabilities so that others will remain part of the force. In worse-case scenarios, the U.S. military may be unable to meet its obligations when a crisis emerges.

Day 2: Many Issues Cloud the Future for the Military
The defense budgetary crisis is one day closer in time yet no closer to a resolution, but other issues confront defense leaders as they address a major transitional period for the U.S. military. Action items ranging from cybersecurity to personnel retention all require action as the military winds down from a decade of war only to face draconian spending cuts.

Day 3: Cyber, China Challenges Loom Large for U.S. Military
Two separate issues, both on the rise, have become increasing concerns for U.S. military planners. The technology-oriented world of cyber and the geopolitical challenge of a growing Chinese military are dynamic issues that will be major focus points for the U.S. defense community in the foreseeable future.

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Pacific Rebalancing Must Continue, With or Without Funding

Whatever budget cuts are imposed on the U.S. military services, the strategic rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region must be carried out. Global geopolitical events virtually require that the United States increase its presence to protect national interests in the increasingly dynamic region.

Service Chiefs Fear Loss of Industrial Capability

The U.S. defense industrial base may lose unique elements that could not be reconstituted later. This could deprive the U.S. military of vital capabilities permanently if new companies do not emerge to take their places.

Chinese Navy Leads Country’s Reach Into the Pacific

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is serving as the primary vehicle to extend China’s influence deeper away from its borders. New and improved capabilities have transformed the navy into a force that can take on increasingly complex and distant military roles.

China Behavior Increasingly Troublesome to Neighbors

As the People’s Republic of China grows in economic and military stature, it is generating ill will among neighbors who increasingly fear an expansionist budding superpower. Ironically, the greatest effect this is having on the Asia-Pacific region is that it is driving many nations into the arms of the United States.

This was just one of many observations offered by a panel on China at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. A mix of academics and military officers offered different perspectives on where China might be headed in the coming years.

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