By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Indo-Pacific Command prioritizes air defense for Guam, radar system in Palau
Building a $1.6 billion integrated air defense capability in Guam is a priority for the Indo-Pacific Command under its $27.3 billion strategic plan for the region, chief Adm. Philip Davidson stated in a report.
According to Defense News and Breaking Defense, Davidson’s report which was submitted to the U.S. Congress Monday, outlines new spending requirements to boost deterrence against China.
The two military news online publications reported that Davidson is eyeing the completion of an Aegis Ashore system on Guam by 2026. “The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery on Guam is meant to protect against a North Korean missile launch, though its single AN/TPY-2 radar is said to be vulnerable and cannot provide 360-degree coverage,” Defense News said.
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The air defense system will be served by a $200 million high-frequency radar system in Palau and a $2.3 billion constellation of space-based radars. The Indo-Pacific Command is also reportedly proposing $3.3 billion in ground-based, long-range fires with ranges of more than 500 kilometers, to make up highly survivable, precision-strike networks along the First Island Chain.
Breaking Defense reported that Davidson is scheduled to unveil the report at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday. “The final DoD topline is expected to come in around $740 billion, roughly the same as the 2021 and 2020 budgets, meaning hard choices will have to be made within the Pentagon about where to allocate resources,” the article said.
During a press conference on June 28 last year, General Charles Q. Brown Jr., commander of the Pacific Air Forces, said the Indo-Pacific remains the most consequential region in the world and it is the priority theater for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Brown said PACAF has taken steps to operate bombers in different ways, “from a broader array of locations with greater operational resilience.”
Stressing Guam’s importance to the military’s day-to-day operations — “for assurance and deterrence,” Brown said the Pentagon will continue to invest in and protect the island.