Pentagon urged: build defense posts in Palau, Yap, Tinian

Former defense officials say US must spread out force posture in Indo-Pacific

The U.S. military must further expand its footprint in the Pacific islands region to create a more distributed force posture and allow greater flexibility across a range of scenarios and political-military challenges, according to two former defense officials.

Eric Sayers, former special assistant to the commander at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Abraham M. Denmark, former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for East Asia, said spreading out U.S. defense posts means looking beyond Guam and tapping other allies in Micronesia.

“This will involve building facilities in key Pacific islands like Yap, Palau, and Tinian while transforming existing airfields in northern Australia and across Japan into resilient hubs to support distributed and unpredictable military operations,” Sayers and Denmark wrote in an op-ed piece for Defense One, a military-centric online publication.

Sayers is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, while Denmark is the director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The Pentagon is pumping up its might in the Indo-Pacific region and sharpening Guam, the "tip of the military spear," in response to threats from the People's Liberation Army. China has escalated its use of coercion and aggression in areas of significant American interest in the western Pacific.

"After studying how the United States projects military power, PLA strategists identified our reliance on a relatively small number of large bases as a particular vulnerability," Sayes and Denmark said. "To better defend Guam, whose Andersen Air Forc