Both have an enormous stake in averting open conflict between China and the United States. China has claimed most of the international waters of the South China Sea and built island fortresses around them, in defiance of international law. On Thursday, presumptive US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US could blockade those islands, just hours after Australian security expert Ross Babbage had written in these pages that the Trump administration might turn to much tougher measures on the matter. Reinforcing the rules-based order in the region which the US itself created 70 years ago has to be a top priority for Tokyo and Canberra.
A recent joint publication by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Australia’s Strategic Forum. The report written by Ross Babbage, former senior Australian Defense Department official, concluded that the Obama government failed to “counter China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea” and that during his second term, “Beijing militarized and established effective control over” this important strategic waterway.
There are early signs Navy shipyards may be a focus for job growth. Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments who has been in talks with the Trump transition team, told Inside Defensehe anticipates increased production at existing shipyards and new construction at shipyards not presently working on U.S. military ships.
Work would add to the list of Marines in Trump’s administration. A retired colonel, he served 27 years as a field artillery officer before leaving active duty in 2001. He became an influential Washington defense analyst, serving as a senior official with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
It also helps fund continual improvements to keep up with the threat, said retired Navy submariner and strategist Cdr. Bryan Clark. “Spreading out the R&D spending over the entire program also implies the Navy believes it will continue doing R&D throughout [Ohio Replacement Program] construction,” Clark said. “Since the program will take about 15 years to build, it is likely new threats and capabilities will emerge, [and] sustaining robust R&D investment throughout the program will enable the Navy to incorporate new technologies into the ship, which could then be backfitted into completed SSBNs.”
A report released last month by the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) calls for the incoming Trump administration to initiate a major escalation of the US confrontation with China over the South China Sea. It is written by Ross Babbage, a former top-level Australian defence and intelligence official. Entitled “Countering China’s Adventurism in the South China Sea,” the report is highly critical of the “failure” of the Obama administration “to counter China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea.” It speaks on behalf of militarist layers of the American defence establishment who have already been pressing for tougher action against China.