Organizing III MEF in the Pacific
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
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Examining the lost capabilities created by the aforementioned gap as well as the short falls of relying on Western Pacific economic prosperity and the Air-Sea Battle concept, the United States and III IVIEF can better mitigate the impending gap via creative Theater Security Cooperation exercise scheduling, augmenting the Marine Expeditionary Brigade MEB, and careful design of the elements sent to Guam and Hawaii. Since the end of WWII, III MEF has been the constant stabilizing force that not only the U.S. but also other nations in the region have come to rely on. In 2006 the United States and Japan agreed to close Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and relocate III MEF Marines from Okinawa to Guam. The gap caused by moving III MEF over 1,200 nautical miles to the east will weaken the United States posture and has destabilizing effects on Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea - effects that can not be mitigated only by economics or vague strategic concepts. Some scholars believe Chinas economic machine is emerging as a more viable strategic solution than the U.S. has provided in the Western Pacific. The relatively recent economic partnerships in the region have created stability but have also given rise to some additional concerns, specifically territorial and defense challenges. Chinas thriving economy has translated into military capabilities that worry every nation in the Western Pacific, especially the United States. Chinas more recent military capabilities provide a substantial anti-access and aerial denial A2AD threat in the region. In 2010 the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments developed the Air-Sea Battle ASB concept as a way to increase interoperability between the Air Force and Navy through integrated training and improved technical interoperability to counter Chinas A2AD. However, the ASB concept neglects mention of any land component.
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