Each week the Pacific is getting even more crowded with military ships, submarines and aircraft from countries in the region and from outside. NATO countries — United Kingdom, France, Germany and the Netherlands — are sending military vessels and aircraft. The Russian navy conducted military maneuvers off Hawaii. The US is on the verge of creating a permanent Pacific naval task force as a part of its aggressive response to China’s naval presence in the Pacific. The largest land exercise in Asia and the Pacific is taking place in Australia with 17,000 U.S. and Australian military.
In March, President Joe Biden directed the Pentagon to establish a China Task Force to examine China-related policies and processes and give its recommendations to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The creation of a Pacific Naval Task Force would allow the secretary of defense to provide more of the Pentagon’s budget for challenging China’s presence in the Pacific. The Pacific task force would also include NATO allies such as Britain and France, that have already sent their warships into the Pacific, as well as Japan and Australia.
At the recent NATO meeting in Brussels, most leaders agreed with Biden’s confrontational stance with China, declaring that Beijing is undermining global order and is a security challenge. A similar NATO naval task force, the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, composed of six-to-10 ships, destroyers, frigates and support vessels from multiple NATO nations, has operated for decades in Atlantic waters.
Russian War Practice Near Hawaii
It’s not only China that is causing the US concerns in the Pacific. A US missile defense test was delayed at the missile test facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai in May due to the presence of a Russian surveillance ship 13 miles off the island, at the edge of US territorial waters.
The Kareliya, a Russian Navy Vishnya-class auxiliary general intelligence, or AGI, ship is based in the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok and is one of seven AGIs specializing in signals intelligence. For several weeks it sailed off the coast of Kauai, 100 miles from the massive US naval facility at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu.