Pentagon Reportedly Mulling Cold War-Style Permanent Navy Task Force in Pacific ‘to Counter China’

Asia & Pacific

The Biden administration dramatically ramped up the US’s military footprint in the Asia-Pacific region in recent months, deploying carrier strike groups to the South and East China Seas at four times for ‘freedom of navigation’ missions, and doubling reconnaissance flights over Chinese-claimed waters.

The United States military is mulling the creation of a permanent naval task force in the Pacific “to counter China” and “add muscle” to President Joe Biden’s tough talk about Beijing, Politico reports, citing two persons said to be familiar with the discussions.

The outlet’s sources say the task force would be modelled after a NATO-based permanent naval deployment created in the Atlantic in 1968 to ‘counter the Soviet Union’ known as the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic. That force currently has between four and six destroyers, frigates, and auxiliary ships deployed at any one time, and is designed to provide the Western bloc with an immediate response capability.

At its height, the Atlantic force included up to ten ships, which were deployed to it for as many as six months. After 1991 and the Soviet collapse, the force proved useful in enforcing NATO’s construction of a new Western-dominated order in Europe, including by staging a maritime blockade against Yugoslavia during the Yugoslav wars. Later, the force also took part in the global campaign against Somali pirates.

A Pentagon…

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