In Washington, where old-fashioned amphibious assault is out of favor, Marine-cutting defense policymakers are overlooking the strategic utility of China’s blue-water amphibious force. After six decades as the globe’s amphibious leviathan, America is unready to surrender this unique and useful monopoly.
Managing the coexistence of two independent-minded blue-water amphibious forces presents an underestimated strategic challenge. But that day is not so far way. Within a few years, as tight budgets shrink America’s amphibious fleet, an inexperienced Chinese task force will leave port, intent on projecting amphibious power well beyond the narrow confines of the first island chain and into sensitive, geopolitically contentious waters.
This threat deserves wider public scrutiny.