Recently, the U.S. Navy has put forward a new argument to add a naval fleet in the Indian Ocean and South Asia to strengthen the strength of the U.S. military in the region.
Official statements and professional analysis indicate that this action is clearly directed at China. However, there are doubts about the plan in the United States, and there are also signs that the United States faces challenges in advancing the plan.
Want to add a new fleet
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on December 2, Secretary of the United States Navy Kenneth Bresweat said that the U.S. Navy would resume the First Fleet and take charge of regional defense in the Indian Ocean and South Asia. He revealed the plan at a seminar of the U.S. Navy Submarine Association two weeks ago, this time an official public statement.
At present, the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet has two fleets, namely, the Third Fleet, which is responsible for the International Date Line to the west coast of the United States, and the Seventh Fleet, which is responsible for the International Date Line to the Indian Ocean.
According to Bressweat, the U.S. military intends to divide the mission area of the Seventh Fleet and form a new fleet responsible for the boundary between the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean and the mission area boundary of the Fifth Fleet, that is, the India-Pakistan border extension. The current Seventh Fleet narrows its mission area and is responsible for the international date change line to the intersection of the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean.
Breswaite said that the restoration of the First Fleet would help to enhance the military posture of the U.S. navy in the Indo-Pacific region, appease allies with the presence and commitment of the U.S. military in the region, and clarify to potential opponents that the U.S. military is committed to global deployment to maintain “the rule of law and maritime freedom”.
It is planned that the First Fleet will serve as a mobile deployment fleet under maritime command, that is, at least initially, there will be no land command like the Seventh Fleet.
The First Fleet was originally established in 1947 and withdrawn in February 1973. The mission area is located in the Pacific Ocean. If the First Fleet is officially restored, the numbered fleet of the U.S. military will increase from the current seven to eight, of which the I, III and VII fleets will belong to the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
It is related to china?
Li Chen, an associate professor at the School of International Relations of Renmin University of China and a researcher at the National Institute of Development and Strategy, told Xinhua News Agency that the United States’ reconstruction of the First Fleet aims to strengthen its presence in the Indian Ocean, reverse the long-standing pattern of “overweight on the Indian Ocean”, and make the Seventh Fleet unload the burden of the eastern Indian Ocean and focus more on the western Pacific Ocean.
In addition, the First Fleet may help the United States and the countries in the Indian Ocean region to enhance security cooperation and military diplomacy, and “feed back” the Seventh Fleet by formulating a series of contingency plans.
The Chinese factor is undoubtedly an important consideration in the decision-making process of the U.S. military.
In his speech to the Naval Submarine Association, Breswaite said: “If there is a situation we don’t want to see, such as any kind of friction, then we need to have a numbered fleet that can be used there.” He further said that a new fleet would provide greater deterrence.
The U.S. Naval Academy News Network also linked the formation of the First Fleet to China in the report, saying that “although China’s territorial disputes with neighboring countries are mainly concentrated in the Seventh Fleet mission area, the future First Fleet’s mission area is China’s maritime transportation routes and areas extending to the Middle East and Africa.”
Drake Grossman, a senior researcher at RAND, said in a previous media interview that the establishment of the First Fleet by the U.S. Navy in the Indian Ocean once again shows that the focus of the U.S. Asian strategy is on the Indo-Pacific Ocean, not just the Western Pacific Ocean.
Can the abacus start?
Can the American abacus start? A spokesman for Breswaite told the media that the reconstruction of the First Fleet has entered the final stage of coordination. But at least for now, the Indo-Pacific countries have not “embrace” the idea of the United States.
Xinhua News Agency reporter noticed that Breswaite proposed to consider Singapore as the permanent residence of the First Fleet in his speech of the Naval Submarine Association, but Singapore immediately gave such a reply ↓↓↓↓
“According to the agreement reached by the Secretary of Defense of Singapore and the Secretary of Defense of the United States in 2012, the Defense Minister of Singapore agreed to the request of the United States to rotate up to four coastal battleships in Singapore. This agreement is still in force. The U.S. Department of Defense has not requested the deployment of additional ships in Singapore, and Singapore has not held relevant discussions with the United States.
Therefore, at the congressional hearing, Breswaite had to say that the First Fleet would exercise “at sea command”. Breswaite also intends to visit India recently to seek more cooperation between the two militaries, but it is unclear how much support he can get from India.
Li Chen said that most regional countries are not currently relying on their own territories and facilities to accept the needs and preparations of a U.S. military combat fleet and its command.
Blake Hessinger, an Asia-Pacific security analyst in the United States, criticized the announcement that it would establish the First Fleet at this time, saying that it would make it difficult for American allies to cater to such “big news” as the current government is leaving office.
“In addition, the current U.S. government does not have enough energy to realize this plan.”