USS Nimitz has carried a special contingent of Marines, sailors, and airmen, whose mission is to land on- and anchor-site near Pyongyang to conduct a military force evaluation.
While experts are divided as to whether the 1,400 Marines are an effective deterrent to North Korean aggression, many are happy with the U.S. sending a strong message to the North.
During the 114th session of Congress, two new Congressional Defense Priorities Recommendations have been filed.
One is titled “A Unified Command Plan for Japan” which states that the U.S. military “should plan to commit three core commands – Army, Navy, and Air Force – under a unified command structure at various locations in Japan that can be activated as necessary.”
The other is titled “United States: Build Confidence in the Armed Forces”, and seeks “investment to support an enduring, durable, and cohesive strategic-level joint doctrine, doctrine, and organizational structure.” The task force responsible for the two Congressional Priorities has been directed to examine the above statements and report back with its findings to the House of Representatives and the Senate no later than December 31, 2017.”
Congressmen Royce, Jones, Amash, Delahunt, Hurd, and Carter sent a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis “advising him to protect the interests and constitutional rights of Japanese residents in the US-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea before putting forward any major revision to the 2002 Defense Authorization Act.”
The following are excerpts from the letter: “We write to urge you to affirm your commitment to Japan’s long-standing security alliance with the United States before releasing a new defense authorization bill, since some members of Congress have introduced legislation that would permanently increase our military presence on the disputed Senkaku Islands, which China calls the Diaoyu Islands.
We would note that the United States Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) and the Navy’s Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) both previously established presences in the Senkakus.
Last July, there was a scandal involving the Chinese government’s alleged forced purchase of the Senkakus from private owners. These developments demonstrate the urgent need for our government to clarify its intentions for Japan’s Senkaku Islands and other disputed territories. Given China’s assertive territorial claims, a false message could be given to other states by removing our military from these disputed territories.
In this way, our government would give China a green light to enforce its claims, and the United States would effectively be putting all of Japan at risk of military conflict, given the military-to-military ties between our two countries.”