The United States and China, both powerhouse countries, are on opposite sides in the trade war currently taking place. On March 21st, President Trump even went as far as to say these tariffs placed on China could remain in place for a “substantial period of time.” With this in mind, tensions between the two countries are sure to continue to escalate.
The United States seems to sense that this tension could turn into something more serious as they have begun refining their Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations concept, which was used in World War II as an island-hopping strategy.
Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit have led various practice runs conducting small-island assaults. Along with ground troops, the Marine Corps also used F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft to assist the ground troops in these runs, providing necessary support.
According to the Daily Mail, the C-130Js had rocket artillery units to simulate long-range precision-fire missions. “This entire mission profile simulated the process of securing advanced footholds for follow-on forces to conduct further military operations, with rapid redeployment,” a spokesperson for the Corps said in a statement.
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford went on to explain the importance of being ready for a war with China. “It is critical for us to be able to project power in the context of China, and one of the traditional missions of the Marine Corps is seizing advanced bases.”
He added: “If you look at the island chains and so forth in the Pacific as platforms from which we can project power, that would be a historical mission for the Marine Corps and one that is very relevant in a China scenario.”
According to Business Insider, China has slowly been amassing a strong military. They have been gradually occupying islands along the South China Sea in the hopes of gaining a stronger foothold further from their homeland.
The Director of the Joint Staff, Kenneth McKenzie, wanted to put people at ease by ensuring there is no imminent war on the horizon, but instead to be ready for one when the time comes. “We continue to seek areas to cooperate with China where we can, but where we can’t we’re prepared to certainly protect both US and allied interest in the region,” he said. “The United States military has had a lot of experience in the Western Pacific taking down small islands.”