But China and the Asia‐Pacific region has long been an area of military concern for the United States. The US military has long divided the world into military fiefdoms, ie unified combatant commands, for military planning purposes, and the fiefdom encompassing the Asia‐Pacific region is the US Pacific Command, headquartered in Hawaii. The state also headquarters the US Pacific Fleet and Pacific Air Forces.
Recently, the Honolulu Star‐Advertiser reported that a higher profile in Asia and the Pacific is in the works for Fort Shafter in Honolulu and within the ranks of the army, with construction of a new 330,000-square-foot headquarters under way as well as an effort to upgrade the three‐star command to four stars. The fort is the headquarters of the United States Army Pacific Command Aside from enhancing bureaucratic clout a renewed emphasis is also good for weapons manufacturers. The Zumwalt is a planned class of United States Navy destroyers, designed as multi‐mission ships with a focus on land attack. The class is multi‐role and designed for surface warfare, anti‐aircraft, and naval fire support.
Previously, the navy tried to kill this enormous, expensive and technology‐laden class of warship because of its cost but it is now viewed as an important part of the Obama administration’s Asia‐Pacific strategy
The production cost is roughly $3.8 billion apiece but if you include research and development, the cost grows to $7 billion each. Much of the weaponry the US military plans to acquire in the future is of a stand‐off nature. Due to concerns over other countries anti‐access/area‐denial (A2/AD) capabilities the US military has expressed concern over Chinese progress in this area for years. It is a staple of the report on Chinese military power the Pentagon annually publishes.
To counter this, the Pentagon developed a concept called Air‐Sea Battle (ASB) that assumes any war in the region is dominated by naval and air forces, and the domains of space and cyberspace.
It is consistent with the traditional US approach to war, which seeks to substitute technology for manpower and avoid protracted conflicts with a major land power; especially one with armies, navies, air forces, and nuclear weapons like China.
But ASB has downsides. Writing in the April issue of Armed Forces Journal Colonel Douglas McGregor (UA Army‐Retired) writes: