tv Thomas Mahnken Discusses U.S. Defense Strategy Toward China CSPAN February 11, 2017 12:11am-1:07am EST
about government. >> sunday night at 10:00 p.m. eastern, april ryan, white house correspondence for the american urban network examines race and police shootings from the perspective of african-american mothers in her latest book, at mom's knee. mothers and race in black-and-white. >> this book focuses on women because we are the first influencer in the first teacher. if you look at stats they show that we are also increasingly the head of household in the sole provider in the household. there for the talk is now transfigured from a man to a woman and it's not just from a man to the sun but a woman to the son and daughter. go go to booktv.org for the complete we can schedule. >> now, look at china's a growing military power and u.s. strategy for countering its influence in asia.
thomas heads of the center for strategic and budgetary assessments and served as deputy assistant defense secretary in the george w. bush administration. his remarks are just under one hour.>> wel >> a morning. welcome to the center for strategic and budgetary assessments. my name is jamie graybill. this morning will discuss a recently released reports reinforcing the front line. defense strategy for the rise of china. this is the first of three regional reports that fit unders an umbrella strategy we released the middle of last month called preserving the balance. balance. the u.s. eurasia defense strategy. leading the discussion is doctor tom, our president and chief executive officer.
for those that do not get a chance to get the umbrella strategy, have left more on the table. you. you can grab them as you leave. great. >> tank you for coming. as jamie said, this is the seconds of four reports in a series that speak to layout a fiscally informed to defense strategy for the united states first at the global level and that was the report we released on january 19. and then three regionall strate strategies that can comfortably sit underneath that overall framework. as said, this is the first ofor the three regional reports. we look forward to rolling out the remaining two regional reports of the next couple of weeks.was wr
this report was written by evan montgomery of our senior fellows it is my pleasure to stand in for evan.y he's currently serving in the defense department. it falls falls to me to tell you about his work. that's great. so any mistakes are mine, anyst brilliance is his. so, this will be the order of the day and i will try to keep it brief and entertaining and that we can move on to some discussion.t. >> can we go back please? thank you as laid out in the overall umbrella report, we
believe that asia will be the most important theater for the united states going forward. we also acknowledge that it has competed for attention and it will continue to compete for attention with europe and the middle east. just because we say that asia's most important does not mean that we dismiss the other theaters at all. w but, does acknowledge veryery important points which is the a united states is a global power. we are going to have to balance our interest in commitments across multiple theaters. the fact that asia's strategic is growing and increasing importance goes back, the recognition goes back across multiple administrations. goes back at least 15 years.
yet, trying to back that recognition up with attention capabilities has proved children. we took dollars it will prove the technology in the future as well. the reason for the east asia top priority economic geopolitical military, not just a majority of the worlds military spending, but the world's largest economies in asia as well. also, asia's increasingly the scene of great power competition because of the rise of china and chinese military modernization. china has moved from being a continental power, largely self contineng, to composite or amphibious power, more oriented towards of the literal.
and that poses challenges for the united states and for our allies. as a result, we can no longer take for granted our ability to project power into the western pacific. we should not think there is some impermeable wall for doing so. but, we should no longer take that capability for granted. in other words, the risk the risk to u.s. forces in the western and fic is going up. that risk and growing chinese military capability has been the backdrop for increasing tensions related to territorial disputes in the pacific. china's pissed military power has made it easier for china to contest the international status quo. with that as a backdrop, i want to look back at the traditional
u.s. strategy in asia traditional be in post-world war ii, and then we'll look at options for dealing with the changing environment. i think it's almost getting to be taken for granted at this point, we are at an inflection point when it comes to u.s. global leadership and engagement.re many where many on different parts of the political spectrum are questioning the traditional grand strategy that the united states has followed since the end of world war ii.ll so before we go and look at options, it's worth recapping what the strategy has been in with the objectives has been as well as the challenges to it. since world war ii, and articulated in different ways at different times by different administrations, the united states has followed a relatively
consistent strategy. a strategy based on achieving the objectives of preventing hostile actors to helping the allies protect themselves, and controlling the commons is something that has benefited the united states in terms of free passage of goods and information but has also benefited others. no other state has benefited from that and globalization then has china. over the decades, there has been a bipartisan consensus back in the proposition and the quote is from nicholas after world war ii. the proposition there's no safe defensive position on the side of the ocean. meaning the ultimate guarantor we dealt with threats early on
and far from our shores because it was in our interest to do sou i think the question before us is is there still a consensus back in that proposition? in recent decades we have followed a relatively consistent operand i to carry on our strategy. we've relied on a global presence of u.s. forces. we relied on strategy forward defense and we've relied on nuclear deterrence to be the backstop of the conventional capability. we've relied on that throughout the cold war. since the end of the cold war we've continued to follow that up around died. today, we face the return of great power and increasingbiliti possibilities of great power conflict. so, we should question whether forward defense remains the
right strategy for the united states. if so forward defense needs to be implemented in a different way. both because of the emergence of revision threats and also thean confusion of technology that is more and more lovely the battlefield and eroding the u.s. qualitative advantage we've relied upon for decades. again, this report focuses on asia.sia and and the challenge posed by the rise of china and chinese military modernization. so just a few words before we get to the center piece which is a discussion of strategy strateg options.fore we china's economic growth in recent decades have been market.
a good fraction of that economic growth has been translated into military modernization. for the united states and its close allies there really are ofree trends that are of particular importance. the first first is the fact that china's increasingly engaged in the outside world. china china has moved from a relativelyy introverted country to one that is now engaged globally. certainly in asia and the western pacific and also beyond. second, china has moved from being a traditionally continental power where the army has a place for resources, to as others have seen a in fabius or composite power. yet china's more concerned about the asian literal and beyond.
third, china because of its military modernization and buildup and increasing economic and political weight it's increasingly willing to challenge the international status quo. and bring its military power to bear to challenge that status quo. we drop down from the strategic level and start thinking about the operational level what is that mean? china has invested money in the ability to launch core needed strikes against military targets in the western pacific and beyond the western pacific.thata that started with a heavy investment in missile base forces, still has a lot of investment but is going beyond that as well. what is making that a challenge for the united states is the fact that we have based our
forces in a relatively small number of bases, and relatively close proximity to the asian mainland. also, our style of warfare, the american style of warfare has given us great advantages but also created vulnerabilities. our reliance on space and information networks in china has the pla has exploited those vulnerabilities. one looks at a chinese military it's unfolded, it has been logical and systematic and it's been logically and systematically aimed at takingrt
away our ability to project power and our ability to reassure our allies. over time we see a buildup of chinese defensive capabilities and then a move towards more offense of capabilities.bottle so, bottom line, the main operational challenge and ultimately the main strategiced power they face the nation the pacific is the anti- access area denial challenge, meaning it's aimed at our power projection capability, our ability to project power and defensive interest in of america's allies. really, the big strategic question for the united states and the western pacific is, first is forward defense remain our best strategic option?
and if so, how should we carry it out. really the heart of the paper is the consideration of those questions. stated concisely, they argue that forward defense remains as important now as it has in the a past. , that retrenchment carries with it many dangers, both strategic and operational. we really need to stick to a strategy of forward defense. but forward defense needs to be modified, needs to be bolstered to retain its credibility in a shifting, strategic environment. to do that there are three options that we could take in
three options not mutually exclusive that has been put forward to operationalize for defense. the first has been our traditional approach is a strategy of denial. so that is based on trying to stop an adversary from forcibly achieving his objective. to prevent an adversary from achieving his game. the second option is one ofe punishment and here we've seen this in the past where an adversary may be able to takeeas his gains, but then we inflict punishment and then ultimately force the absurd to withdraw. third, rollback.
the idea there is basically to use brute force to directly reverse the never serious games the point is, they're not mutually exclusive. you can think about the strategy options in combination, although although some as i will say in a minute somewhat have to precede others in terms of their implementation. denial is currently the default u.s. option. a number of authors and scholars are thinking about a punishment campaign in the western pacific, distant blockade, and then a rollback really is a throwback to world war ii mobilization strategy. the idea that you may be able to take your games, but eventuallyi will mobilize a coalition and push it back.
>> a strategy of denial doesn't prevent us from using punishment a rollback later, focusing on a strategy of punishment, rollback would restrict our use of denial up front. so denial is something you need to be prepared for in peacetime. you need to signal that is your strategy. that would need to be implemented right away. punishment and rollback are less time sensitive options. they would also take more time to implement.ot one of the challenges the united states faces not just in asia but more broadly, is that our adversaries and building up capabilities to achieve a state run likely to have the time to
methodically mobilize and reverse their games. we may not have the time for all of the long-term punishment campaign either. so, denial remains the most attractive way of implementingra forward defense strategy. but, denial and forward defense need to be adapted to the conditions that we face now and are likely to face in the future. those conditions include the geography of the western pacific, where geography limits the amount of combat power that both sides could bring to bear, particularly at the outset, where fixed facilities and bases are increasingly vulnerable and mobile forces are becoming increasingly vulnerable.
and where we have a long-term competition with a competitor that is trying to undermine our capabilities. what can be done? what could be done to adapt forward defense and combine a denial strategy with elements of punishment and the geographic context that we face? first, we need to shift relatively more emphasis, to long-range strike and relatively more emphasis to undersea capabilities. there is an important paradox and we need to take this intoinc account. first, the capabilities that are
likely to be most useful in wartime and contested environments, things like attack submarines, things like long-range strikes are likely to be less valuable is visible measures of assurance to our allies. these stealthy men of the long-range bomb ravisa marine are great military attributes by the very nature they're not visible to our allies were visible signs of presence and signs of reassurance. in fact, the capabilities that the united states has traditionally and here in the post-world war ii relied upon to assure allies, or those that are most mobile and actual conflict.
all of this amounts to the fact that the united states and her allies are going to have to accept more risk than we have been used too, at least in recent years in the last couple of decades. the big question for the unitedo states, is how can we both effectively deter and assure at the same time? one of the ways to break this not is said to look at a great lamp hour into four different strategy. to emulates the chinese in someone's field our own mobile land-based missiles to work with our allies to field anti- access capabilities and anti- access architectures of our own. it's also going to involve re- socializing both our competitors center allies to look forward
what presidents and insurance really needs and to what would be most effective in wartime. that is sort of the overview of the evidence report. but i'm happy to talk about the topic. certainly welcome any questionsi you have and let's get the discussion rolling. >> i read the reported thank you. >> you can correct me for any statements i made. >> you mentioned land-based. capability.d as you can see in the south korea it would be so difficult to get the. delay after delay. so, i'm wondering whether evans report will bring tension,
renewed attention to u.s. emphasis on demanding the allies to be more responsible, maybe play a bigger role than the have in the past? for u.s. interest and so i'm just wondering if whether that's going to happen or not under the new administration. >> first off it is -- that the united states cannot hear more about an ally security than the ally itself cares about its own security. the good news news is that by martian asian western pacific we have a group of allies that do care about their security and really are investing in their security. in the case of japan, ground self-defense already operates land-based cruise missiles and that is being modernized.
i think that is a virtue. for the us, particularly particularly where you started your question u.s. mobile m base missile. my thought is that you're not talking about a permanent garrison of americans on foreign territory, but rather equipping some subset of army units are raising new units to have come as part of their mission set coastal defense which come after all is a traditional army mission. coastal defense artillery was part of the army for the great span of army history. so having that capability, not necessarily be in deployed in a fixed rotation but heaven that is part of our mission i thinkw would be very important. that's
it there. i think certain allies are moving down the path for their own reason. i think those are good reasons. i think there's more the united states can do in the u.s. can do in that regard as well. that also includes developing some of the capabilities that we could export to allies andl. partners as well. if allies and partners areinvesn interested in these capabilities of their is not a lot we currently have that feels that that need. there's more we could do there as well. >> thank you. may be a correction our translation from chinese to english. you mentioned the chinese military power -- we don't use
that we could walk together and make this region more peaceful? somebody hard spots. so this conclusion are also didn't raise the hold report but from the introduction -- to feel any space for the corporation or eat even interexchange for that. >> first you should read evans report. the focus of this report and all of the reports of a series is defense strategy. that defense, our defense strategy is about achieving our objective. our objectives are protecting american lives and property, working together with our allies to help defend the. maintaining the free flow of goods of information across the global commons.
one element of that is clearly determined. it's trying to deter the outbreak of war. so, that requires us to think about wars might unfold and how to think of preventing them. i said in my remarks a couple of times that the united states is comp long-term competition with a number of regional powers, great powers. i use the word competition with malice and forethought. to me is not the same as conflict, it's not the same as cooperation either it's in the middle of that spectrum just to say that there is a competitive relationship and i would say that something that many authors and scholars on the chinese side will say as well that it doesn't
preclude cooperation in a number of areas. but, but, i think asas we think about the possibility of cooperation we need to do that with a hardheaded sense of what each side objectives are and where the there with one another and where they may be in conflict. so i would not put aside the possibility of cooperation at all. but that needs to take into account the objectives of both sides. >> and russell king, retired federal employee. there's a pop-up goal in cyclical and in one sentence
goes something like this. communism is intrinsically wrong of those who defend christian civilization would not cooperate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. now, donald trump of course deals with communism and is very much negotiated. it seems -- to cooperate.with i agree with most of your defensive strategies here. it will provoke china to make economic retaliation against us. there's a lot of economic linkage most favored nation status with china, multibillion-dollar trade deficit with china. to take the cooperative approach of donald trump of the non- cooperative approach of piouspi 11. do you think it was significant or not? >> this gets back to my previous answer. i think the best way to characterize the u.s., china relationship is one of long-term competition.sh it's not long-term conflict, i
think, and this is one of the challenges the past administrations have faced and one thing we already see is the new administration facing is depending on where your in the u.s., china relationship both government relationship and also our economies are intertwined, that relationship looks different. so, if we go back to the cold war, by contrast a time of u.s. soviet competition things were t not easy, they were risky and fraught with danger, but they were simple in many ways. whether you're in the business of diplomacy you are largely in the business of containment. you are trying to contain sovieo
political influence. if you are in commerce, you were, at times trying to limit soviet access to key technologies. you are in the containment business. if you're stationed on the gapon like my father-in-law was, your very much in the containment business. if you are in the u.s. information agency speaking of agencies that on a anymore you are the containment business. that's not where we are today. i think that's likely to endure. if you're in one part of that relationship looks very cooperative. other parts parts of the relationship it's more competitive. because of that fact, it's very difficult to draw a line and say
it sell about cooperation and competition. again, i think think that's a fact of life and it has to do with where the global economy is, where a bunch of things are that's an excellent question. i was there is a simple answer answer but i don't think there is. i think the new administration will find out there is not a a simple answer. >> thank you tom john, had contractor of the marine corps. my question is more focused on the grand strategy that were observing here.ionist app seems the current administration is more of an isolationist approach. what you're trying to propose is more of a global approach.e how would you advise the current administration on changing and
isolationist into more of a global? >> on february 10, i think it's still early to talk about shifts in grand strategy. i'll leave that part of it aside. what i will say and again, i'll say it but it's also very much in evidence paper which is set the united states has read to great rewards from a strategy of international engagement.gagemef we followed a strategy of international engagement for budget reasons.tegy of the least important of which are ultra stick. we followed a strategy of engagement because it's fundamentally in our interests. i go back to the quote of necklace that i had on one of the first slides on one of the first and foremost expression oe
that which it's in america's interest to be internationally engaged because it allows us to deal with threats to the united states far from our borders. that yes the pacific and atlantic oceans are great defenses. it's better to be on the far side of those oceans defending those actions than on our coast. i think it was true in the 40s and it's equally as true now. our alliances benefit us in our allies. they exist as of shared interest, but also because their shared values.hared va because we share a lot of common values. i think that's true in the early 2017 as it was in past decades.t
>> my question is about the war fighting presence paradox. it seems like it was depicted as if there is a decision decision to be made between overt versus clandestine type of presence. i'm wondering, and light -- i haven't read the report you. in light of a weapon such as -- was are some of the things, there's a spectrum of presence to be envisioned. there's a realm for many covert activities as to merely clandestine. can you maybe comment on covert activities, may be not necessarily in china's a broader the western pacific, but
elsewhere in the globe that can demonstrate to allies in the western pacific the u.s. is resolver capabilities to contest >> so, the paradox the basic point there is just that for capability to deter or capability to reassure by nature it has to be visible. so if we think about our allies, what tends to reassure them? it's a visible presence. for the united states, really since the end of world war ii, the most visible presence has been the carrier strike group. it has been soldiers stationed
on foreign soil. it has been land-based aviation. it has been u.s. forces physically stationed in a visible way on allied territory the challenge we face now the visible manifestation of american power is because of trends in military technology are increasingly vulnerable. and so we have socialized the world to equate american presence with the striker. at a very, very time went just toto take that one example carrier strike groups are increasingly vulnerable and may be less effective and less military needs. but, that's the challenge, there is a misalignment between
visible manifestations of american power and what is actually likely to be effective. so we need to deal with that and deal with that in concert with our allies. we need to be talking to our allies about that. conversely, those things that you mention cyber but there's other examples as well of those military capabilities that may be more effective are either really invisible like cyber are virtually invisible or they are not located in the theater. how we come up with -- back to your earlier point since this is about deterrent, how we come up with a forced posture that deters and assures effectively
is a real challenge. and i think we need to address that challenge working closely with our allies. if deterrence is creating a state of mind in our adversary, sure it's is all about creating a state of mind in the minds of our ally. >> thank you very much.>> tha my question is something about -- there's two airmen with the china investment in growth. in the other thing is known on.p
the board time pass more china can merge a posture. and it can create -- [inaudible] so my question is, how can youmt effectively cope with those china's advantages in using these options? >> so, first the starting point needs to be a very cold calculation on the part of the united states and the part of the other claims in the southa . china sea to take just that one example as to how much we reall care, how much those claims
really matter to us. what is the value of the objective. and then, if we conclude that ww really do care and we do care enough to contest this creeping expansionism. then we will have to takeaction riskier actions than we have taken so far. why do i say risk and riskier. it's by taking risky actionsy that we communicate just how much we care. and since he given me the opening, we have published an excellent report in december looking at a range of allied options in the south china sea that illustrate some of those things might be. those options include not just military, but other options as well. but, i think we have gotten on use to thinking about risk.
one of the results of the factsf that we are in a time of great power competition this that we will have to get more used to thinking in terms of risk occupation. we are going to have to think in terms of risk much more. i think the thinking in washington has been either don't to anything with any risk, all the where the alternative is full scale war. in the historian me says that's absurd and not the way the world works. so we will have to think about first how much we care and then based on that, what are we willing to do and to realize that part of the is going to require we accept more risk. the final part is we need to be having a very serious discussion with our public and the united states and japan and elsewhere
to inform them about the world we're living in, the challenges we face in the need to take perhaps more risky actions than we have. to put it in a historical perspective, we live on easily but we've lived for decades in u much riskier environment than we are in now. one of the dangers of acting so risky is that competitors can miss judge us. they can believe that really don't care about something that in the end we wind up caringomeg about.ing abou so if there's a risk of confrontation that comes from too aggressive it's also a risk of not being forthright about any we really care about. >> other questions.
while i think you've it just has her own perspectives, or working forms of the work i we really thild off of that. is there some defense and that, sure sure but i think it goes beyond that. and that puts it in the strategic concept. it's really about operationalco context and i think evan build set up a little bit. >> my question is i want to have recommendations here on the response -- to identify any weaknesses and how it has developed or any weaknesses i think they have done a good job of trying to exploit our weaknesses. both geographic and the fact
that the united states this continental united states is far away from our possessions in the western pacific. our allies have gone to school on our motor operand i. inherent in this strategy is an effort to flip a number of those things. when we talk about geography yes, it is true that china is on the asia content is closer buth china's access to the broad pacific and indian ocean is constrained. it is constrained by -- that includes u.s. allies. we'll talk about developing a working with allies to develop our own anti- access capabilities that's in
part playing on a geographic weakness. the fact that chinese forces are increasingly becoming network that creates a series of vulnerabilities there as well. and i think those should be harnessed in the service of deterrence and strengthening deterrence? yes. absolutely. any other questions. of . . . any more questions? one more. yes, sir? >> thanks for the second chance. you mentioned the united states should be getting used to taking more risk. can you give us examples regarding the south and east china sea situations the risks that the united states military can and should take without starting a shooting war? >> sure. let me again go back to recent
history to illustrate what i see as the risk aversion. we have been in the situation where every use navy, freedom of navigation operation has become the subject of intense decision making, publicity. look honestly, this should be something we do routinely and in fact by making each one of these operations a big deal we in some ways magnify the risk. things like that should be done routinely. beyond that, if we decide the militarization of the south china sea, which chinese leadership said it wasn't going to do but it looks like it is going on, if we really believe
that that is something that we can't live with then we need to thing about ways to have beijing build the cost. and i am not just thinking militarily. for example, why is it china has been able to carry out huge acts of ethological -- ecological destruction and isn't called to account for that in international scientific forum? massive destruction of coral reefs, marine ecosystems. i think at the very least they should be called to account for that. that is just one example outside of the military realm.
i say the exact types of options you might want to put on the table, again that has to come at the end of the process of how much do we care and how far are we willing to go. it is not there are not options. but just that you haven't thought through mouch we care. we have been extraordinarily risk averse out of proportion to intended consequences. [inaudible conversations] >> it is an example but i don't necessary think it is good example. we have to follow the logic
through of how much do we care? how much are we in for? how much effort are we willing to expend? it may not be the most way to have a symmetrical response. that is why i offered the example of marine biology. that is an asymmetrical approach. and again the report we published in december gets into a number of those elustrative responses. i would not want to go too far down that path here because what you really need to do, our government needs to do, others need to do is to figure out how far we are willing to go. okay? thank you. thank you all for coming this morning. thanks for coming out on a friday morning.
>> >> in all these years i have never seen this case that has been accepted information from a single source like a edward snowden who is in moscow under control of the russian delegate. bay did enormous damage. they say he did enormous good and maybe he did some good to start a national conversation but we're trump
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