As part of its modernization efforts, the US Army is developing medium and long-range missiles, which the service sees as a vital weapon in a potential conflict with China in the Pacific.
While the Army is traditionally a land-based service, it is developing fast-moving island-hopping forces that can sink ships in the western Pacific, similar to what the Marine Corps has traditionally done.
On Tuesday, US Army leaders discussed the service’s future in the Indo-Pacific and said the Army is not trying to compete for funding with the Marine Corps or other branches as military leaders fear resources will be limited.
“The systems we’re developing are more along the lines of a campaign rather than quickly expeditionary-type systems. And so I don’t see us in competition with the Marine Corps.” Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James McConville told the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Gen. Paul LaCamera, the head of US Army Pacific, said the Army could complement the Marines in the region. “So, I think whether they [the Marines] are there first [and] we come in behind them, that allows them to continue to move on,” he said. The US Marines are also in the process of revamping their forces to prepare for a future conflict in the Pacific.
US-Indo Pacific Command has its hand out to Congress for an additional $27 billion in funding. Part of the command’s wishlist includes a network of long-range missiles near China’s coast, although it’s not clear what countries would be willing to host the missiles.
The Army officers were asked on Tuesday how the US could get allies in the region to host such missiles. “That’s a political decision,” McConville said. “The [Biden] administration will, I believe, lead with a policy, and that will be shaped by diplomacy between our countries.”