Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said on Thursday that the US military should reshuffle its resources in the Pacific in the face of a growing China. Berger said forces were too concentrated in Guam and Japan, and both areas are in reach of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) missiles.
“We have to spread out,” Berger said, speaking at the annual Modern Day Marine conference. “We have to factor in Guam. We have to have a disbursed, distributed laydown in the Pacific that allows us to work with all the partners and allies and deter forces like the PLA from asserting themselves in a manner that tries to rewrite the global norms that have been well established in the past 70 years. So, our posture must change.”
The current deployment in the Pacific has been in place since the end of the Korean war. It is designed to face a conflict on the Korean Peninsula. Berger said the deployment is outdated. “It’s not a good laydown for ten years from now or 20 years from now. We need to look at it again,” he said.
Berger calls for distributing military forces over a wider area, which would ultimately require new military bases. Berger’s vision for increased engagement in the Indo-Pacific is consistent with the prevailing view in Washington that China is the number one threat to US global hegemony. Beijing is serving as a useful competitor for the Pentagon to justify more spending, and new bases could be on the horizon.