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Navy Leaders Temper China Rhetoric

by Kris Osborn on May 8, 2013

130416-N-AC887-003U.S. Navy leaders told lawmakers they are “vigilant,” but not necessarily “worried” about the Chinese military build-up in the Pacific.

“We need to pay attention and understand their intent, and challenge them on their intent,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert told the House Appropriations’ Defense Subcommittee.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., asked Navy and Marine Corps leaders about a recent Pentagon report citing Chinese military investments, deployments and acquisitions.

“China is building two new classes of missile submarines in addition to the eight nuclear missile submarines and six attack submarines that are being deployed as part of a build up that an analyst says put Beijing on a war footing,” Frelinghuysen said. “We constantly have this challenge where the Chinese are out there in force – presenting access issues.”

In addition, Frelinghuysen cited a recent briefing from David Helby, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia, which discussed Chinese deployments of an aircraft carrier equipped with two new stealth jet fighters and a new road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile.

Frelinghuysen also mentioned a particular deployment of Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles near Taiwan.

“You represent the tip of the spear in the Western Pacific. Where do you think the Chinese are going relative to these systems?” he asked Greenert.

The CNO responded saying one does not immediately need or wish to cast China in an adversarial light, adding that the Chinese are slated to substantially participate in a U.S.-led, multi-national exercise called “Rim of the Pacific” in the summer of 2014.

“We have an opportunity to work together and we are working in that direction. It doesn’t have to be adversarial,” said Greenert.

Greenert did add, however, that ballistic missile success hinges upon a range of factors and calculations, such as tracking, sensing..and other nuances.

“To do such a thing you have to have a sensor. You have to recognize what you are targeting, that it is a ship. Then you have to have a tracking solution and be able to launch and adjust after launch,” he told the subcommittee.

“At that point you can spoof it, you can jam it and you can try to shoot it down. As it gets closer you can put a wall of lead up,” Greenert added.

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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

blight_ May 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Taiwan might be a fun place to put boost-phase ABM…


Rest Pal May 9, 2013 at 1:56 am

The US wouldn't dare. Taiwan wouldn't dare. In 10-15 years, the US will have to withdraw its military assets from Korea and Japan.


Guest May 9, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Or else what?


Rest Pal May 9, 2013 at 6:17 pm

No else. The US will voluntarily withdraw its military assets from Korea and Japan. The "else" is not worth it, i.e. the US cannot afford it.


USS ENTERPRISE May 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Uhm. Just checked all the news outlets, BBC to CNN, (excluded Fox, obviously), and found no mention of a mass withdrawal. Went over to the Defense Department website, found nothing. Its not happening, and no one can make us leave our bases either. (Guam, a US territory, for starters).

lol@you May 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm

lol not likely


USS ENTERPRISE May 9, 2013 at 7:57 pm



Menzie May 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Because they threaten Taiwan anytime Taiwan buys advanced weaponry from the US but if their ICBMs are useless against Taiwan the only other choice is to invade right now.


USS ENTERPRISE May 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

…..I was taking about the withdrawal.

Menzie May 10, 2013 at 6:33 pm

You do realize that would mean war, right?


Anonymous May 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm

An adversarial China image is good for the military industrial complex – that's why the government and media hype it up. Same thing with Iran.


Big-Dean May 9, 2013 at 12:06 am

hey "Anonymous" why don't you come out from behind your anonymity and have a grown up discussion instead of just throwing out silly comments and running away


Dfens May 9, 2013 at 8:23 am

Anonymous is not here. He's doing all he can to fund China's military build up a his local WalMart.


steve May 9, 2013 at 9:28 am

Keep in mind Big Guy (Dean) , the USA is not the only Country in this World that will or wants to build their military capabilities to the maximum. Also to place their military as a force to challenge anyone, just as the USA does periodically??? When you have less or little, any build-up will look very abnormal and cause for concern….a normal human reaction anywhere???


Rest Pal May 9, 2013 at 6:19 pm

hey "Big-Dean" why don't you come out from behind your anonymity and have a grown up discussion instead of just throwing out silly comments and running away


Steve May 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm

the man has a point…


johnvarry May 9, 2013 at 7:06 am

If you think China's military build up is all US hype to increase defense spending then you should look at what China is actually spending and building. China has clearly set its sights on being able to beat the USA in a one on one fight. The US constantly tries to show its not aggressive. Placating China will get out the same response as placating Hitler did.


anonymous May 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm

"The US constantly tries to show its not aggressive."

By invading Iraq and Afghanistan for 10 years? Bombing Libya? Drone wars in Africa and the Middle East?

Yup, definitely not aggressive.


johnvarry May 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Meant to say non aggressive to China. US has even invited China to participate in Naval exercises to promote better relations.


blight_ May 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm

And counter-piracy. But let's be realistic: we have a Pacific fleet because we are hedging bets that the PRC is gunning for us, and they will build up their navy because they anticipate being attacked.

All nations have the right to self-defense. But let's not get too carried away such that our "defense" funding provokes an arms race that spirals to the inevitable.

Musson May 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

I don't believe that China wants a war. But, I cannot say the same about Iran.
If Iran gets nukes – they may launch on Israel. And, Israel would retaliate across the entire middle east. Of course, they would nuke Iran and Syria. But they might take out Mecca and the Aswan dam just to send a message.

And, that is how Armageddon starts/


blight_ May 9, 2013 at 3:57 pm

You'd think the IAF could use bunker busters to puncture Aswan and GPS-guided bombs on Mecca without needing nukes.

It just wouldn't end well…


USS ENTERPRISE May 9, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Eh, not Armageddon, but h-e-double toothpick. Iran's "sphere of influence" isn't powered by nuclear weapons yet. The Israelis would never tolerate a nuclear state in the middle east besides their own, so they would attack. Or, another revolution could start up in Iran.


Rest Pal May 9, 2013 at 6:22 pm

True. Same thing with Russia, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea.

With warmongering and false flag operations (like Gulf of Tonkin incident that led to Vietnam War), the military industrial complex would not be making hundreds of billions.


USS ENTERPRISE May 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Mountain Dew! Anyways. Military build up of China. If this is like Japan in the 1930's, then yes, be worried. But now? I think that a massive war with China would be ruinous to both parties; China because our power projection and the fact that we essentially have a military parked in Japan. And the US, in the sense that literally everything has a stupid "Made in China" sticker on the back. Maybe this force is an attempt to "scare" the US out. Have they not learned yet?


Pat May 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Mountain Dew add!


A. Nonymous May 8, 2013 at 6:19 pm

And Admiral Greenert is jealous of Secretary Mabus' beverage choice. He foolishly chose the water instead.


Brad May 8, 2013 at 6:51 pm

you beat me to it! They can show this picture with some rap music in the background…


Big-Dean May 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm

It's the late 1930's all over again and our leaders are saying "there's nothing to worry about, "China" is our friend." How quick we forget the lessons of history.

We're going to wake up one morning in the near future and find out that Okinawa, Guam, Japan, and every other western Pacific base has been wiped out.


USS ENTERPRISE May 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm

I don't think anything THAT radical will happen. China still lacks the asset required for something like this: aircraft carriers. Before people start jumping up and yelling about cruise missiles, may I remind you that to take out every single US base in the Pacific theater, China would have to use up all of its supply of missiles to get anywhere near destroying the 7th fleet, as well as the US Marines stationed in that area, and of course the USAF installations. Also, before people start yelling "carrier killer missile" may I remind those folk this: they are YET to be tested in a situation where it sinks a carrier. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmtE6Zgd-kc That situation in that video is in the GOBI DESERT. For god's sake, how is that anything like engaging a carrier in the ocean? While the carriers little body guards (AEGIS ships) have had a spotty record on intercepting missiles, there is a chance that they could knock the DF-21 out. And this is all assuming that China gets a clear shot at the carriers. Assuming the DF-21 can "kill a carrier" is silly, in my mind, as they are yet to sink a gunboat with it, and there are so many variables that it boggles my mind. My thoughts, of course, up for evaluation.


blight_ May 9, 2013 at 12:38 pm

It'll probably be useful for hitting a carrier at port, at least until they prove they can hit a moving target.

You can however "test" a smart bomb by throwing random vector offsets and see how well the guidance system can re-correct from being pushed off course: self-correcting ability is critical to a "smart" bomb. It is one hurdle that could be tested on a static target.

The alternative is a synthetic target: Knowing your time-of-flight and with input target vector (position+direction), have the missile and launch system calculate projected coordinates by end of TOF and fire missile. If missile lands at what you cross-validate beforehand to be the final impact site, you win. Then the next test is to see how it behaves with sea targets. For that, you need test ships in the ocean to hit.

China doesn't have any sea-based test ranges, so that'll be a toughie.


USS ENTERPRISE May 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Definitely. I am not saying that the DF-21 is not a threat at all (it could sink a gunboat ;) ) but I am saying that from the tests China has done, and has the capability of doing, its capabilities are extremely varied. Of course, carriers in that region, I would imagine, try to spend as little time in port as possible. So using the information you have, what do you personally think of the DF-21? Carrier killer? I think its a valid point. If it is, then, well.


orly? May 10, 2013 at 12:37 am

They have numbers.

Everyone keeps saying missile saturation will kill us all (every branch).

Though carpet missile barrages don't sound practical.


Rest Pal May 10, 2013 at 2:19 am

No carpet missile barrages needed to sink US destroyers and cruisers.

Each US surface combatant can handle only a few incoming missiles at any one time, if those missiles are sub-sonic. It only takes a few missiles for a saturated attack per ship.

The US has no proven defense against supersonic ASCMs capable of high-G maneuvers shortly before impact. No saturated attack is necessary in this case.

In addition, EMP weapons can be used to first soften up shipborne defense systems.

USS ENTERPRISE May 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm

They have, what, 50 of those missiles (correct me if I am wrong here). Thats actually not a lot. Enough air strikes (think like Kosovo) could ruin their entire arsenal.

Rest Pal May 9, 2013 at 2:02 am

There is a very simple way to avoid getting wiped out by China : unilaterally withdraw all US military assets and personnel from Asia and keep them home.


USS ENTERPRISE May 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm

And pigs fly……..


Rest Pal May 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Just like US projection of power in the Vietnam War was a flying success. LOL.


USS ENTERPRISE May 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Mao was a great man. SYKE! Putin represents the best interests of the world. SYKE! China is a democracy. SYKE! The US is the same as it was during the Vietnam conflict. SYKE! North Korea's leader is gre-SYKE! The US will leav-SYKE!

LtKitty May 9, 2013 at 3:18 am

Idk, dude, something about mutual economic suicide comes to mind. It's always good to be vigilant, but it's also good to be sane.


blight_ May 9, 2013 at 11:55 am

The logistical success in WW2 in the Pacific was those mobile drydocks at Ulithi and Christmas Island…and only parts of the mobile drydock remain in inventory. We must base our fleets out of static bases, bases known to the PRC and not necessarily intact in a shooting war. We can't even reload VLS tubes at sea! You'd think that capability would be a priority. Procuring semi-submersible lift-ships for MSC and using them as mobile drydocks or the base for VLS-replenish-at-sea would be a start. Then drilling for mobile dry-dock/VLS-at-sea activities as part of RIMPAC would be next.


orly? May 9, 2013 at 12:27 pm

In terms of distance to China, I think Japan is a world closer than Ulithi and Christmas were to Japan.


blight_ May 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Just like the Phillippines was "right next door" to Japan.

All WW2 seems to have taught us is that speed bumps get rolled over, eventually. Some bumps are bigger than others. The Phillippines took some time to roll over; and the question is if Japan and Korea remain functional enough for the Navy to use without being harassed.

Of course, a mobile drydock that could repair battle damage and replenish VLS tubes at sea would present alternative options to relying on our allies and their ports.


USS ENTERPRISE May 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm

What I would like to see, the last two points you made. Though, it is a lengthy process to "replenish" a VLS tube, so making one that can be quickly reloaded would be expensive and difficult.

Dfens May 9, 2013 at 8:20 am

"U.S. Navy leaders told lawmakers they are “vigilant,” but not necessarily “worried” about the Chinese military build-up in the Pacific." They are "vigilant," but not worried enough to stop paying their contractors more to f' up than they do if they come in with a good product on-time and on-budget. They are "vigilant," but not worried enough to be concerned about the fact that their latest ship costs more than an Iowa Class Battleship, but packs all the punch of urinating into the wind when it comes to putting a beating on the enemy. They are "vigilant," but not worried enough to give up those revolving door jobs with the defense contractors who make obscene profits from designing their ships. The are "vigilant," but not worried enough to stand up for what is right.


USS ENTERPRISE May 9, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Uh. Okay. Iowa class vs. (I assume) the Nimitz class. Both don't even fall in the same category of ship, so we already are off to a bad start. An Iowa class is really all about its gun, and honestly, name me a naval engagement after WWII in which those 16'' guns would have been better than aircraft and their weapons. Beach landings, maybe. (But the A-10, know what I am sayin') Other wise, no, I am afraid. I like the battleship. Looks great, has that "power" look to it, etc. But the carrier is WAY more flexible. And you also have to look at service life. Iowa class lasted long only because the US could keep them. Otherwise, they were mothballed away, only to come back because, well, the could. Nimitz class ships are DESIGNED to last 50+ years. A WHOLE lot of bang for your buck.


riceball May 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm

While the A-10 is a great platform it's not really designed for the naval bombardment role and I don't think would be well suited for softening up a beach before an amphibious landing. Part of what give naval bombardment an advantage over aircraft is that the shells from Navy guns can't be shot down while a plane can. However, if there's little to no anti-aircraft threat then a carpet bombing run from a B-52s or even B-1s would probably be pretty effective and would probably go a long way to softening up a beach.


USS ENTERPRISE May 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Yeah, but we already (will have) a "onshore" beach landing help ship thing. The Zumwalt class. Their "signature" picture shows it attacking land. Its two 150 cannons are good for something. I was thinking that the A-10 might be good in a Normandy situation; IE attacking targets that are on cliffs above the landing zones. Not sure if NK has any beaches like that, though. Carpet bombing would be nice, but from a B-52. The B-1 has a larger payload, and could THEORETICALLY carpet bomb, its kinda out of its zone. Its more low level fast attack precision than anything.


Dfens May 13, 2013 at 4:49 pm

The Nimitz is the Navy's latest ship? How about the Littoral Combat Ship? And yes, it costs more than an Iowa Class battleship. Does that sound like a Navy that gives a crap how they spend your tax dollars to you? It does not sound like they are being good stewards to me. It sounds to me like they are pissing our money away so those on top can get their fair share of the loot when it comes their time to take a swing through the revolving door.

Big-Dean May 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm

BZ Dfens :-)


Hefe May 9, 2013 at 9:18 am

The south Koreans are building thousands of t-50 fighter jets. Japan is building it's own stealth fleet. Though that's some years off. Australia is buying the f-35 and they have a decent airforce. The Philipines are signing defense pacts with us too. My guess is we're penning them in so we don't have to worry about them. That could lead to a backlash. All the same, It'll be interesting to see where we're at in 20 yrs with them. They could mass produce a lot of weaponry and sell it it to nations that are hostile to us in retaliation. What does everyone think about Boehner saying we should pay them the trillion before we pay U.S. vets?


blight_ May 9, 2013 at 11:50 am

'cause the stability of the dollar depends on our repaying debts.

Your money says "This Note is Legal Tender for all Debts, Public and Private". When the US defaults, then the unshakeable trust that the debts of the US (in dollars) will be repaid is broken, and it will trigger a migration to other currencies. The economic kick in the crotch from currency instability will hurt more than bank bailouts and bank failures combined.

Cynically, a falling dollar increases our competitiveness on the export market, and makes it cheaper for companies to move jobs back to the US, since the workers are worth even less. Happy thoughts and dividend checks for all!


Zimm May 9, 2013 at 9:21 am

Water! For a minute, just a minute mind you I thought I saw Nyquil behind that can of Dew. Whew!


Menzie May 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm

That makes more sense than water, the way they are acting.


Rosalee May 9, 2013 at 10:23 am

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm this sounds very much like the assurance
in the 30s of Japan and its movement in Asia


Lance May 11, 2013 at 4:08 am

Think it shows we need to up arm our Taiwanese and Filipino allies ASAP. Apart from that no worried we do have far better weapon than China can ever have.


USS ENTERPRISE May 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm

We kinda are…….


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SFP May 23, 2013 at 2:26 am

An adversarial China image is good for the military industrial complex – that’s why the government and media hype it up. Same thing with Iran.


Mike Wong June 4, 2013 at 11:41 pm

The US has exclusisve use of the Pacific Ocean. China aint going to challenge the US but to remind them the Chinese can ahve equal access. If the US threatens China as in the past,it will be tangling with a far stronger China that can counter attack.


blight_ May 9, 2013 at 11:45 am

That and the factories in China are run by the Taiwanese. Without a Taiwanese face to Chinese manufacturing, American companies will have a tougher time navigating the PRC. Taiwan also holds the capital, the PRC holds the infrastructure. Depending on the industry, the PRC has varying degrees of infrastructure: it may be as mundane as final assembly only, which doesn't do the PRC much good. There are probably overseas factories pushing parts to the PRC, which in turn may simply ship their goods to The Next Final Assembly Country. Bangladesh? India? Vietnam? Hrm.

Though at this point, the local market probably has enough industry contacts to build most of what they need locally, even if the Taiwanese pull orders, close up factories and ship parts and jobs overseas.

I don't recall if there are chip foundries in China: TSMC is in Taiwan, not the PRC.

What is truly "made" in China, vs "assembled" in China?

Edit: http://www.electroiq.com/articles/sst/2012/08/top

There are now 2 T12 foundries in the PRC. The first steps to independent electronics industry. The next step would be the trace out the rest of the business.


blight_ May 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm

There's also considerable cultural baggage here too. China's been invaded by better-equipped foreigners consistently before '49. The degrading invasion of 1812 by very limited British forces triggered some pretty extensive coastal fortification out of fear of a foreign invasion by sea. It's not unreasonable that the PRC feels the need to intimidate people from operating off their shores with impunity.

That said, the conventional army is professionalizing and getting smaller, and while we focus on Assassin's Mace, they are building a navy, planning local carriers and local aircraft. At the end of the day, militaries do not go after each other like attracted charges. It is competition for resources, or the threat of losing vital resources that drives nations to attack each other.


USS ENTERPRISE May 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm

My point all along. Made vs Assembled. But also we must consider China's frankly PATHETIC cheap and fake industry. That is, its massive industry of copying whatever they want, and selling it cheaper with a clear lack of quality. There's the whole "He copied my car" fiasco (BMW X5 copy, for starters). (BMW took the Chinese to court, and lost, despite the fact that the fake was exactly the same). Also, there are the Apple fakes (fake Apple stores), and fake who knows what else. You can't be a super power that copies everyone else's stuff. China is making a profit off of that, and its going to blow up in there face soon. Also, its Communist (and that always works out).


USS ENTERPRISE May 9, 2013 at 6:01 pm

History repeats itself. Not really surprising that the there is/will be another arms race. First Hitler (though we really kinda weren't in a race until the actual war started), then Red Russia (though there wasn't really a direct conflict between us and them), now China. Though the interdependency between us keeps anything "hot" from happening.


USS ENTERPRISE May 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm

…..which are supplied by the opposite's enemy. That is the whole point. China can bark and work out, but never fight, especially the US. It would be horrific for all the work they have done to bring their economy to where it is now. The US, of course, needs a little (or a lot) of everything, and the cheapest place to get it is China.


USS ENTERPRISE May 14, 2013 at 10:53 pm

EMP weapons. Right. Okay. What will fire those? Aircraft? Oh wait, they would have been shot down. If the DF-21 does maneuver before impact, does that not, you know, kinda CHANGE WHERE IT HITS A MOVING SHIP? Guidance systems, phhsh. I agree that the CIWS systems on US ships need improvement, but Saturated Attack? Why?


USS ENTERPRISE May 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm

I didn't even bother reading your last few sentences. The Nimitz class would be the newest "capital" ships in the US fleet, yes, what I meant. Littorals and Areligh Burkes aren't really capital ships. Let me ask you. Suppose you need to support some troops 200 miles inland. How would you involve the navy? Cruise missiles? Hope not, cause a few million a pop is A LOT of money, and that would follow your rant. There you go.


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