Sat, September 29, 2012
World > Asia-Pacific

Eyeing China, U.S. strengthens military in East Asia

2012-09-29 06:15:11 GMT2012-09-29 14:15:11(Beijing Time)  SINA English

By Yu Runze, Sina English

With the military mission in Afghanistan and Iraq to end, U.S. will pivot its focus to East Asia.

The U.S. Army is intensively strengthening its military forces in Asia-Pacific, allocating many of its advanced equipments in this region, Foreign Policy reported recently.

According to Defense News report, the U.S. Army has launched an ambitious modernization effort that involves sending new equipment, along with battle-tested gear, directly from war zones in the Middle East to South Korea as the service turns its gaze to the Pacific.

The Army will ship roughly 80 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles from Kuwait to the 8th Army, 2nd Infantry Division, in South Korea to begin a six-month evaluation of how the MRAPs might be integrated into the brigade combat teams there.

The battle-tested MaxxPro MRAPs are the latest step in the effort, which also involves shipping the newest communications, networking and situational awareness technologies to the 20,000 U.S. troops in South Korea.

The infantry division was also the first unit to receive the latest survivability upgrades to the Bradley fighting vehicle, as well as the first - even before those in Afghanistan - to be issued the new Force Battle Command Brigade-and-Below/Blue Force Tracking equipment. About 1,000 vehicles will be outfitted with the new capability, which gives soldiers greater situational awareness and network connectivity. The division also has been issued Abrams M1A2 Systems Enhancement Program tanks and has been upgrading about 300 Humvees.

The spokesman for the 2nd ID said that the South Korean modernization, then, may serve as one of the early clues to how the Army will allocate resources to combatant commanders in a postwar environment. As soldiers in South Korea begin to evaluate these new technologies, the 2nd Infantry Division, which is permanently stationed in South Korea, may also be acting as a “test bed for a lot of new capabilities.”

With the U.S. combat troops withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon also plans to allocate most of its UAVs from Middle East to East Asia, to monitor China and Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s military activities, Strategy Page reported.

Japan’s NHK also reported that Japan and U.S. governments decide to use Global Hawk UAV to monitor Chinese naval vessels and government ships’ activities around Diaoyu Islands.

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