AN EXAMINATION OF INDO-PACIFIC SECURITY COOPERATION ACTIVITIES TO ENABLE EABO AS A DETERRENT
Harris, Clayton D.
Twomey, Christopher P.
Hays, Sean P.
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With its advanced missiles, sensor systems, and modernized navy, China’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy threatens U.S. conventional military platforms’ survivability and freedom of maneuver, reducing U.S. credibility and power projection capabilities throughout the Indo-Pacific. Additionally, China’s Belt and Road Initiative strengthens its diplomatic and economic relationships with regional countries, threatening the U.S.-established rules-based regional order. As a result, the United States Marine Corps introduced Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) as both a warfighting concept to combat China’s A2/AD capabilities and as a form of deterrence. However, its success depends on U.S. access and freedom of maneuver to sovereign nations’ territory. Consequently, the efficacy of EABO is inextricably linked to security cooperation, as it is the Department of Defense’s primary means to gain access to foreign territory. This thesis begins by examining the threats to U.S. influence in the Indo-Pacific, EABO and its requirements, security cooperation, and how to best tailor it to support the execution of EABO. It then evaluates the varying degrees of security cooperation activities the U.S. engages in with Japan and Indonesia and the impact those activities may have on the feasibility of conducting EABO from their territory. The findings suggest that security cooperation activities have enhanced the feasibility of conducting EABO from Japan but not Indonesia.
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