China Sentry
Weekly Debrief: February 26, 2024 PDF
Chinese People's Liberation Army activities
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This debrief covers the period from February 19-25, providing summaries of events and developments related to the Department of Defense’s operations in the Indo-Pacific region. In the Maps section, the Chinese Apprehensions on Southern US Border map was updated for JANFY24 showing a 61% decrease from the previous month. Also, in Congressional, the hearing Outpacing China: Expediting the Fielding of Innovation was added under the U.S. DoD section.

Contents

  1. Congress

    • Pentagon sounds alarm on funding Pacific island pact

  2. Department of State

    • Approval of possible sale to Taiwan of Advanced Tactical Data Link System

  3. Department of Department

    • Pentagon achieves ‘minimum viable’ version of CJADC2

  4. Air Force

    • Up to a dozen Singapore Air Force F-15SG jets could be stationed at Guam

    • Cybersecurity, other USAF needs challenging E-7 price talks

  5. Navy

    • Navy building robust logistics framework in Indo-Pacific

  6. Exercises & Activities

    • US-PHL conduct joint air patrol

    • US-KOR conduct joint missile-interception drill

    • US-JPN-AUS0 exercise in Bay of Bengal

    • US-JPN conclude Resilient Shield 2024

  7. Newly Released Reports


Congress

U.S. defense officials are concerned about potentially losing exclusive military access to the Pacific islands of Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands due to Congress’s delay in funding the updated Compacts of Free Association agreements. These agreements, critical for maintaining strategic advantages over China, allow the U.S. exclusive military access in exchange for aid. The delay threatens not only U.S. military strategies in the region, including the positioning of defense assets and the denial of access to adversaries like China, but also the credibility of the U.S. as a reliable partner amidst increasing Chinese influence in the Pacific.1

Department of State

The State Department has approved a possible sale to Taiwan of Cross Domain Solutions (CDS); High Assurance devices; GPS receivers; communications equipment; requirements analysis; engineering; technical services; and other related elements of logistics and program support for $75 million.2

Department of Defense

DoD has achieved minimum viable capability of Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) that will connect all branches of the armed forces into a unified network according to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks.3
See pertinence of CJADC2 in the Indo-Pacific

Air Force

Up to a dozen F-15SG fighter jets from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) could be stationed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. An agreement between Singapore’s Ministry of Defence and the US DoD in 2019 laid out the framework for the Guam detachment, which will allow RSAF to quickly redeploy and recall assets back to Singapore when required. Details on when such a move would occur were not provided.4

Agreements on cybersecurity and other capabilities unique to the U.S. Air Force version of the E-7 Wedgetail aircraft are holding up negotiations with Boeing on the program, according to Air Force officials and industry sources. Cyber requirements have grown more stringent in the last seven months based on new assessments of China’s attempts to electronically penetrate and potentially either control or fool U.S. air systems. The negotiation challenges stem from “optimizing [the E-7] for the Air Force mission set,” Air Force acquisition executive Andrew Hunter stated.5
Review the pertinence of the E-7 for the Pacific.

Navy

Rear Adm. Mark Melson, the commander of Logistics Group Western Pacific/Commander Task Force 76 (COMLOGWESTPAC/CTF76), told reporters that increasing the number of platforms available in theatre to support expeditionary operations is one of the main elements they are working toward. Cooperation with partner nations, which include both shared and joint access to facilities and supplies, along with interoperability logistic operations such as replenishment at sea, form a part of building the theatre logistic framework. The Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ships, or EPFs, are critical to intra-theatre surface logistic distribution, and Melson said that along with conducting regular operations with the EPFs, further experimentation is ongoing to see how to improve and expand the capabilities of these ships.6

Exercises & Activities

Philippines - A B-52H bomber from US Pacific Air Forces and three FA-50’s of the Philippine Air Force conducted a joint air patrol as Phase 2 of the 3rd Maritime Cooperative Activity (MCA) within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone.7 China’s PLA Southern Theater Command issued a statement that the had dispatched forces to monitor the situation.8

South Korea - The US and South Korea conducted a joint missile-interception drill over the Korean Peninsula with F-35A aircraft from both countries and other unspecified jets from South Korea. The US F-35A’s came from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.9

Bay of Bengal - USS Halsey (DDG 97) conducted a trilateral exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the Bay of Bengal, Feb. 17-18. Throughout this exercise, participants conducted trilateral operations designed to enhance interoperability through maneuver, communications, and information sharing. 10

Japan - U.S. and Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) conducted exercise Resilient Shield 2024 onboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, and various command centers throughout the region, Feb. 16-22. Resilient Shield is an annual week-long exercise focused on ballistic missile defense (BMD), designed to test combined tactics, techniques and procedures against potential regional threats. The exercise took place in a simulated computer-based environment and advanced the combined forces’ all-domain missile defense capabilities.11

Newly Released Reports


  1. https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2024/02/23/already-late-pentagon-sounds-alarm-on-funding-pacific-island-pact/ Defense News↩︎

  2. https://www.dsca.mil/press-media/major-arms-sales/taipei-economic-and-cultural-representative-office-united-states-32 DSCA↩︎

  3. https://www.c4isrnet.com/battlefield-tech/c2-comms/2024/02/21/pentagon-achieves-minimum-viable-version-of-cjadc2-hicks-says/ C4ISRNet↩︎

  4. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/rsaf-f15sg-fighter-jets-andersen-air-force-base-guam-us-4006976 Channel News Asia↩︎

  5. https://www.airandspaceforces.com/cybersecurity-usaf-needs-e-7-price/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cybersecurity-usaf-needs-e-7-price Air & Space Forces Magazine↩︎

  6. https://news.usni.org/2024/02/22/u-s-navy-building-robust-logistics-framework-in-indo-pacific USNI News↩︎

  7. https://www.facebook.com/piopaf Philippine Air Force↩︎

  8. http://eng.chinamil.com.cn/CHINA_209163/TopStories_209189/16287713.html PLA Daily↩︎

  9. https://apnews.com/article/us-south-korea-north-missile-interception-drill-2bba9e95fdcb9962873afa54a4c3c7ee AP News↩︎

  10. https://www.pacom.mil/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/3682004/us-japan-and-australia-conduct-trilateral-exercise-in-bay-of-bengal/ INDOPACOM↩︎

  11. https://www.c7f.navy.mil/Media/News/Display/Article/3684907/us-and-japan-self-defense-forces-conclude-exercise-resilient-shield-2024/ U.S. 7th Fleet↩︎