Obama's Marine Preserve Cripples US Navy Defense Against China

The Pacific monument lies across the most direct paths from the East China Sea to the Central Pacific


Last week I wrote about how Obama and Kerry's ridiculous ocean obsession was distracting from important national security issues such as Al Qaeda overrunning Iraq.

But as former Naval Intelligence officer and national security expert J.E. Dyer points out, the 782,000 mile marine preserve can also undermine national security.

Environmentalist groups have been fighting the U.S. Navy for years over the use of low-frequency and mid-range sonars...

...The expanded monument area takes the sonar fight, which has been mostly contained in smaller areas near the coast, and writes it over a huge swath of ocean.

The expanded Pacific Islands monument is entirely a forward operational area.  It’s not a training area from which the Navy might perhaps relocate to satisfy other stakeholders.  It’s a very large part of the ocean which we would be deciding to close off to certain kinds of operations – if we followed the monument expansion to its predictable conclusion, and allowed the logic of environmental activism to override the needs of the Navy.

This brings us to the third dimension of the problem, which is that the expanded Pacific Islands monument is an especially bad place to limit or curtail our naval operations.  The reason is that it is the most obvious pathway for Chinese naval units, including submarines, into the Central and Eastern Pacific...

The gradual expansion of China’s naval operating areas, including expansion into the Pacific, has been a key trend in the Chinese fleet’s profile.  Coupled with it in recent years have been deployments by intelligence collection ships (AGIs) to patrols off of Guam and Hawaii.

These patrols are intended straightforwardly for collection against U.S. military activities, of course, but in light of China’s expanding naval profile, they are also a harbinger of future fleet operations in the Pacific.

Of particular significance, especially as it concerns the use of sonar, is the likelihood of Chinese submarine operations becoming routine in the Pacific...

The Pacific Islands monument area not only lies across the most direct paths from the East China Sea to the Central Pacific, but is one of the most seamount-infested parts of the entire Pacific Ocean floor – especially compared to the floor of the Eastern Pacific.  Seamounts are good reference points for underwater navigation, but they’re also excellent baffles for longer-range sonar acoustics.

These are excerpts of a much larger and heavily illustrated article written from an expert standpoint which is worth reading, but what it amounts to is that while Obama has been talking about a pivot to Asia, he has managed to undermine the US Navy against the PRC even much closer to home.


Tags: China, Navy, Hawaii