Soldiers of 25th Infantry Division enjoy a view during a ride over the island of Oahu, Hawaii. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Sarah D Sangster)
About a year from now, the Army plans to practice rapidly deploying 8,000 to 10,000 soldiers from the mainland through Western Pacific islands and into nations around the East and South China Seas for training that will send a message to China.
The first "Defender Pacific" — the Pentagon's most significant exercise for the region in 2020 — is expected to be followed by an even bigger version involving more than 10,000 mainland soldiers.
If you've paid even the slightest bit of attention in the last few years, you know that the Pentagon has been zeroing in on the threat that China and Russia pose, and the future battles it anticipates.
The Army has followed suit, pushing to modernize its force to be ready for whatever comes its way. As part of its modernization, the Army adopted the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept, which serves as the Army's main war-fighting doctrine and lays the groundwork for how the force will fight near-peer threats like Russia and China across land, air, sea, cyber, and space.
But in an internal document obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army Transition Team for the new Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, argues that China poses a more immediate threat than Russia, so the Army needs make the Asia-Pacific region its priority while deploying "minimal current conventional forces" in Europe to deter Russia.