President Biden’s nominee to replace Gen. Mark Milley as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday that he would pursue establishing more bases in the Indo-Pacific region and increase support for Taiwan to prepare for a future war with China, Nikkei Asia reported Wednesday.
Gen. Charles Q. Brown told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that the Pentagon must “implement the National Defense Strategy and prepare a joint force that can win the next war, if called upon.”
The Pentagon’s 2022 National Defense Strategy names China as the “most comprehensive and serious challenge to US national security strategy,” with Russia named as the second priority. Brown said the US needs to establish more outposts in the Indo-Pacific because it takes time to move resources around the “massive” region.
“You cannot wait till the crisis occurs to be able to deploy capability,” he said. “You have to preposition capability and have that in place. You have to work with allies and partners to have access to locations.”
The Senate hearing discussed a new authority that allows the US military to send weapons to Taiwan straight from Pentagon stockpiles, known as the Presidential Drawdown Authority, the primary way the US has been arming Ukraine. The 2023 National Defense Strategy included $1 billion in PDA for Taiwan, but it hasn’t yet been used. “It will indeed help [Taiwan] to procure some asymmetric capabilities to defend,” Brown said.
Brown is a fighter pilot who currently serves as the chief of staff of the Air Force and stresses the importance of air power in a future fight with China. He headed US Pacific Forces from 2018-2020 and is said to have been nominated for his experience in Asia. Brown also has experience in the Middle East and was the deputy commander of US Central Command from 2016-2018, when the US was engaged in a brutal air campaign against ISIS.