If China decides to invade Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will be among the first to arrive to help transport Chinese troops over the Taiwan Strait. A solid American defense of Taiwan is expected to rely heavily on the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps. This was the crux of the “Air-Sea Battle” idea under the Obama administration.
Washington’s strategists believe they can delay or even prevent a Chinese invasion of Taiwan by imposing an embargo designed to strangle China’s economy. However, a blockade is considered a war crime under international law. China also views the Pacific Ocean, South China Sea, and East China Sea as part of its sovereign territory; hence it has spent years developing capabilities to challenge the United States Navy in these areas.
19fortyFive notes that aircraft carriers are the backbone of the United States Navy, and Beijing is well aware of this fact. They are the pinnacle of showing one’s superiority over others. Unfortunately, these floating cities aren’t very well protected from China’s Carrier Killer missiles.
Given the large number of sailors who serve on aircraft carriers and the enormous resources required to construct and maintain these feats of military engineering, Beijing is well aware that the loss of even a single such vessel would cripple the United States military.
The aircraft carrier will not be the defining feature of naval confrontations during any war with China. Instead, the submarine will take the lead in specific naval battles.
If this is the case, the United States simply does not have enough submarines in its fleet to fight any future conflict with China and satisfy its other duties in other regions without adopting a major industrial policy in Washington.
Now is the time for a complete rethink of America’s defense strategy.
Any invading army trying to cross the Taiwan Strait will be met with destructive harassment assaults from submersibles stationed in the Indo-Pacific. If necessary, they may even launch an attack on mainland China.
The Chinese fleet’s whereabouts could be secretly monitored by a submarine. As a bonus, they could sneakily deliver a limited number of troops and weaponry supplies to Taiwan’s defenders. Submarines with the ability to deploy drones would be a significant force multiplier for Taiwan’s defenses.
It’s all about the submarines.