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America’s Maritime Army: How the U.S. Military Would Fight China?

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America’s Maritime Army: How the U.S. Military Would Fight China?

By James Holmes

A couple of weeks back the U.S. Army released the latest in the family of strategy documents to issue forth from the armed services, alongside such directives as the U.S. Marines’ Tentative Manual for Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations and the sea services’ Triservice Maritime Strategy. Read the whole thing and hurry on back. Titled Army Multi-Domain Transformation, this “Chief of Staff Paper” from General James McConville makes it official: the army is back in the sea-power business.

And nary a moment too soon.

Under the multi-domain concept, light army units will deploy as “inside forces” along Asia’s first island chain in stressful times. They will defy China’s access- and area-denial defenses, remaining within the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) weapons-engagement zone and enduring or eluding punishment while meting out heavy blows of their own. Demonstrated resilience and combat capability will give heart to allies who may doubt America’s staying power and ability to keep its security commitments to them. U.S. alliances will hold.

And Xi Jinping will weep bitter tears.

It may sound counterintuitive—armies are ground services, after all—but the concept of a maritime army is solidly moored in strategic theory and military history. For nautical sage Julian Corbett, in fact, maritime strategy chiefly means determining “the mutual relations of your army and navy in a plan of war.” Commanders choreograph the actions of naval and land forces to shape events on land—which, as Corbett points out, is where humanity lives and thus is where wars are ultimately settled. Navies—and, today, other combat arms such as air and space forces—are enablers for groundpounders.

The U.S. Army has a rich maritime past to rediscover. Oldtimers will remind you that the army carried out more amphibious operations during World War II than did the U.S. Marine Corps. An army general, Douglas MacArthur, orchestrated one of the two major offensives across the Pacific Ocean, hopping from island to island in conjunction with the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet. The difference today, contends General McConville, is that ground forces must already be in place at the outset of a great-power conflict.

Full story https://www.19fortyfive.com/2021/03/americas-maritime-army-how-the-u-s-military-would-fight-china/