Not enough American “defensive capabilities” in Asia: Commander of the United States Army in Japan – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense


Kadena Air Base in Japan is home to the largest combat squadron in the Pacific and includes assets from the US Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. (DVIDS)

WASHINGTON: The US military does not have sufficient missile defense capabilities at its bases in the western Pacific because threats do not come only from China, the US military commander in Japan recently said.

Although US officials were frightened by a Chinese orbital hypersonic missile test this summer, Major-General Joel Vowell only mentioned China “building more capabilities” every day as an item on his list of concerns.

“North Korea is further developing its nuclear capability program,” he told a Defense One conference on Tuesday. “And then Russia intends to keep us out of the region as well. So I think they are considering the same by producing more coastal defense cruise missiles that would potentially prevent us from entering the northern parts of it. Indo-Pacific, or would target American or Japanese forces, or at least put us in danger, with those capabilities.

“So I don’t think we’ve had enough right now. I think we need more. As the commander of the US military in Japan, I think that would be something I would advocate for, it’s more integrated air and missile defense protection in the first island chain, that’s for sure. “

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Major General JB Vowell, commanding general of the United States Army in Japan, during the opening ceremony of Yama Sakura 81 at Camp Itami on December 5.

In Japan, Vowell said the United States has Patriot missile batteries that detect, track and intercept ballistic missiles from Asia, and he noted that the Japanese self-defense forces also have missile defense capabilities. , including the Patriot missile system. But in 2020, Japan canceled the deployment of two Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense systems after being strongly repelled by local communities.

The US military is currently testing the Israeli-made Iron Dome interceptor in Guam in an attempt to collect more data on how well the missile defense platform can fit into current state missile defense technology. United in the region, according to a November article in the Pacific Daily. New.

Vowell said the Iron Dome system “targets a different type of missile and I think our tests in Guam are designed to prove in principle what that can do.”

As part of the Pentagon’s larger “Pacific Pivot”, the US military is also developing new, long-range precision fire capabilities by keeping an eye on the Pacific as part of its broader modernization effort. And the service played with integrated air and missile defense with the joint force during this year’s Exercise Project Convergence in Yuma, Ariz.

Back in Washington, lawmakers increase military spending for Indo-Pacific needs. In its 2022 National Defense Authorization Act fiscal compromise released on Tuesday, Congress included a $ 7.1 billion authorization for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, $ 2 billion more than the department’s budget request. The bill passed in the House on Tuesday evening.


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