While the virus that causes COVID-19 has preoccupied the nation's lawmakers and has posed challenges to the Pentagon, the military has taken time to seek nearly $1.7 billion for additional military resources on Guam to deter adversaries, primarily China.
North Korea will remain a threat, said Navy Adm. Philip S. Davidson, commander of the Indo-Pacific Command, in a March 26 presentation to Congress. "China, however, represents the greatest long-term strategic threat to a free and open Indo-Pacific and to the United States," he said.
Davidson made the presentation before the House Appropriations Committee on the Department of Defense Indo-Pacific Command posture.
"Through fear and economic pressure, Beijing is working to expand its form of Communist-Socialist ideology in order to bend, break, and replace the existing rules-based international order," Davidson stated. "In its place, Beijing seeks to create a new international order led by China and with 'Chinese characteristics' – an outcome that displaces the stability and peace of the Indo-Pacific that has endured for over 70 years," Davidson told the House Appropriations Committee on defense spending.
The most important security development in the Indo-Pacific has been the rapid modernization of China's military, he said. The scope and scale of China's military modernization have caused the Pacific Command's "relative competitive military advantage to erode in recent years," he added.
The admiral also mentioned 400 foreign submarines in the world, of which roughly 75% are in the Indo-Pacific region and 160 of these submarines belong to China, Russia and North Korea.
Potential adversary submarine activity has tripled from 2008 levels, which requires at least a corresponding increase on the part of the United States to maintain superiority, he told Congress.
Davidson's public statement to Congress didn't break down the $20 billion he asked for, across the Indo-Pacific Command, but Defense News quoted Davidson as saying "my No. 1 unfunded priority - a 360-degree persistent and integrated air-defense capability in Guam, with a $1.67 billion cost over six years."
"America's day begins in Guam and is not only a location we must fight from, but we must also fight for – given future threats," Davidson wrote, as quoted by Defense News.