The U.S. Army is having a tough time defining its role in the Pacific theater of operations — designated in 2012 by the Obama Administration as the prime focus of America’s global security posture. The vast distances and limited basing options in the region seem tailor-made for the capabilities of air- and sea-based forces. But one opportunity for the Army to make a valued contribution in the Western Pacific would be to deploy its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in countries threatened by Chinese, Russian and North Korean ballistic missiles. Beijing and Moscow are raising a ruckus over a proposal to protect U.S. forces in South Korea with THAAD, even though that plan clearly is a response to the threat of North Korean missile attacks. The fact China and Russia care so much suggests they see THAAD as a threat to their own “anti-access/area denial” capabilities in the region. In other words, the Army’s THAAD just might be a useful addition to America’s military posture in the region. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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