Navy Leaders Temper China Rhetoric

130416-N-AC887-003U.S. Navy leaders told lawmakers they are “vigilant,” but not necessarily “worried” about the Chinese military build-up in the Pacific.

“We need to pay attention and understand their intent, and challenge them on their intent,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert told the House Appropriations’ Defense Subcommittee.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., asked Navy and Marine Corps leaders about a recent Pentagon report citing Chinese military investments, deployments and acquisitions.

“China is building two new classes of missile submarines in addition to the eight nuclear missile submarines and six attack submarines that are being deployed as part of a build up that an analyst says put Beijing on a war footing,” Frelinghuysen said. “We constantly have this challenge where the Chinese are out there in force – presenting access issues.”

In addition, Frelinghuysen cited a recent briefing from David Helby, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia, which discussed Chinese deployments of an aircraft carrier equipped with two new stealth jet fighters and a new road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile.

Frelinghuysen also mentioned a particular deployment of Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles near Taiwan.

“You represent the tip of the spear in the Western Pacific. Where do you think the Chinese are going relative to these systems?” he asked Greenert.

The CNO responded saying one does not immediately need or wish to cast China in an adversarial light, adding that the Chinese are slated to substantially participate in a U.S.-led, multi-national exercise called “Rim of the Pacific” in the summer of 2014.

“We have an opportunity to work together and we are working in that direction. It doesn’t have to be adversarial,” said Greenert.

Greenert did add, however, that ballistic missile success hinges upon a range of factors and calculations, such as tracking, sensing..and other nuances.

“To do such a thing you have to have a sensor. You have to recognize what you are targeting, that it is a ship. Then you have to have a tracking solution and be able to launch and adjust after launch,” he told the subcommittee.

“At that point you can spoof it, you can jam it and you can try to shoot it down. As it gets closer you can put a wall of lead up,” Greenert added.

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.
  • blight_

    Taiwan might be a fun place to put boost-phase ABM…

  • Anonymous

    An adversarial China image is good for the military industrial complex – that’s why the government and media hype it up. Same thing with Iran.

    • Big-Dean

      hey “Anonymous” why don’t you come out from behind your anonymity and have a grown up discussion instead of just throwing out silly comments and running away

    • johnvarry

      If you think China’s military build up is all US hype to increase defense spending then you should look at what China is actually spending and building. China has clearly set its sights on being able to beat the USA in a one on one fight. The US constantly tries to show its not aggressive. Placating China will get out the same response as placating Hitler did.

      • anonymous

        “The US constantly tries to show its not aggressive.”

        By invading Iraq and Afghanistan for 10 years? Bombing Libya? Drone wars in Africa and the Middle East?

        Yup, definitely not aggressive.

    • Musson

      I don’t believe that China wants a war. But, I cannot say the same about Iran.
      If Iran gets nukes – they may launch on Israel. And, Israel would retaliate across the entire middle east. Of course, they would nuke Iran and Syria. But they might take out Mecca and the Aswan dam just to send a message.

      And, that is how Armageddon starts/

      • blight_

        You’d think the IAF could use bunker busters to puncture Aswan and GPS-guided bombs on Mecca without needing nukes.

        It just wouldn’t end well…


        Eh, not Armageddon, but h-e-double toothpick. Iran’s “sphere of influence” isn’t powered by nuclear weapons yet. The Israelis would never tolerate a nuclear state in the middle east besides their own, so they would attack. Or, another revolution could start up in Iran.

    • Rest Pal

      True. Same thing with Russia, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea.

      With warmongering and false flag operations (like Gulf of Tonkin incident that led to Vietnam War), the military industrial complex would not be making hundreds of billions.


    Mountain Dew! Anyways. Military build up of China. If this is like Japan in the 1930’s, then yes, be worried. But now? I think that a massive war with China would be ruinous to both parties; China because our power projection and the fact that we essentially have a military parked in Japan. And the US, in the sense that literally everything has a stupid “Made in China” sticker on the back. Maybe this force is an attempt to “scare” the US out. Have they not learned yet?

  • Pat

    Mountain Dew add!

    • A. Nonymous

      And Admiral Greenert is jealous of Secretary Mabus’ beverage choice. He foolishly chose the water instead.

  • Brad

    you beat me to it! They can show this picture with some rap music in the background…

  • Big-Dean

    It’s the late 1930’s all over again and our leaders are saying “there’s nothing to worry about, “China” is our friend.” How quick we forget the lessons of history.

    We’re going to wake up one morning in the near future and find out that Okinawa, Guam, Japan, and every other western Pacific base has been wiped out.


      I don’t think anything THAT radical will happen. China still lacks the asset required for something like this: aircraft carriers. Before people start jumping up and yelling about cruise missiles, may I remind you that to take out every single US base in the Pacific theater, China would have to use up all of its supply of missiles to get anywhere near destroying the 7th fleet, as well as the US Marines stationed in that area, and of course the USAF installations. Also, before people start yelling “carrier killer missile” may I remind those folk this: they are YET to be tested in a situation where it sinks a carrier. That situation in that video is in the GOBI DESERT. For god’s sake, how is that anything like engaging a carrier in the ocean? While the carriers little body guards (AEGIS ships) have had a spotty record on intercepting missiles, there is a chance that they could knock the DF-21 out. And this is all assuming that China gets a clear shot at the carriers. Assuming the DF-21 can “kill a carrier” is silly, in my mind, as they are yet to sink a gunboat with it, and there are so many variables that it boggles my mind. My thoughts, of course, up for evaluation.

      • blight_

        It’ll probably be useful for hitting a carrier at port, at least until they prove they can hit a moving target.

        You can however “test” a smart bomb by throwing random vector offsets and see how well the guidance system can re-correct from being pushed off course: self-correcting ability is critical to a “smart” bomb. It is one hurdle that could be tested on a static target.

        The alternative is a synthetic target: Knowing your time-of-flight and with input target vector (position+direction), have the missile and launch system calculate projected coordinates by end of TOF and fire missile. If missile lands at what you cross-validate beforehand to be the final impact site, you win. Then the next test is to see how it behaves with sea targets. For that, you need test ships in the ocean to hit.

        China doesn’t have any sea-based test ranges, so that’ll be a toughie.


          Definitely. I am not saying that the DF-21 is not a threat at all (it could sink a gunboat ;) ) but I am saying that from the tests China has done, and has the capability of doing, its capabilities are extremely varied. Of course, carriers in that region, I would imagine, try to spend as little time in port as possible. So using the information you have, what do you personally think of the DF-21? Carrier killer? I think its a valid point. If it is, then, well.

        • orly?

          They have numbers.

          Everyone keeps saying missile saturation will kill us all (every branch).

          Though carpet missile barrages don’t sound practical.

          • Rest Pal

            No carpet missile barrages needed to sink US destroyers and cruisers.

            Each US surface combatant can handle only a few incoming missiles at any one time, if those missiles are sub-sonic. It only takes a few missiles for a saturated attack per ship.

            The US has no proven defense against supersonic ASCMs capable of high-G maneuvers shortly before impact. No saturated attack is necessary in this case.

            In addition, EMP weapons can be used to first soften up shipborne defense systems.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            EMP weapons. Right. Okay. What will fire those? Aircraft? Oh wait, they would have been shot down. If the DF-21 does maneuver before impact, does that not, you know, kinda CHANGE WHERE IT HITS A MOVING SHIP? Guidance systems, phhsh. I agree that the CIWS systems on US ships need improvement, but Saturated Attack? Why?

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            They have, what, 50 of those missiles (correct me if I am wrong here). Thats actually not a lot. Enough air strikes (think like Kosovo) could ruin their entire arsenal.

    • Rest Pal

      There is a very simple way to avoid getting wiped out by China : unilaterally withdraw all US military assets and personnel from Asia and keep them home.


        And pigs fly……..

    • LtKitty

      Idk, dude, something about mutual economic suicide comes to mind. It’s always good to be vigilant, but it’s also good to be sane.

    • blight_

      The logistical success in WW2 in the Pacific was those mobile drydocks at Ulithi and Christmas Island…and only parts of the mobile drydock remain in inventory. We must base our fleets out of static bases, bases known to the PRC and not necessarily intact in a shooting war. We can’t even reload VLS tubes at sea! You’d think that capability would be a priority. Procuring semi-submersible lift-ships for MSC and using them as mobile drydocks or the base for VLS-replenish-at-sea would be a start. Then drilling for mobile dry-dock/VLS-at-sea activities as part of RIMPAC would be next.

      • orly?

        In terms of distance to China, I think Japan is a world closer than Ulithi and Christmas were to Japan.

  • Dfens

    “U.S. Navy leaders told lawmakers they are “vigilant,” but not necessarily “worried” about the Chinese military build-up in the Pacific.” They are “vigilant,” but not worried enough to stop paying their contractors more to f’ up than they do if they come in with a good product on-time and on-budget. They are “vigilant,” but not worried enough to be concerned about the fact that their latest ship costs more than an Iowa Class Battleship, but packs all the punch of urinating into the wind when it comes to putting a beating on the enemy. They are “vigilant,” but not worried enough to give up those revolving door jobs with the defense contractors who make obscene profits from designing their ships. The are “vigilant,” but not worried enough to stand up for what is right.

  • Hefe

    The south Koreans are building thousands of t-50 fighter jets. Japan is building it’s own stealth fleet. Though that’s some years off. Australia is buying the f-35 and they have a decent airforce. The Philipines are signing defense pacts with us too. My guess is we’re penning them in so we don’t have to worry about them. That could lead to a backlash. All the same, It’ll be interesting to see where we’re at in 20 yrs with them. They could mass produce a lot of weaponry and sell it it to nations that are hostile to us in retaliation. What does everyone think about Boehner saying we should pay them the trillion before we pay U.S. vets?

  • Zimm

    Water! For a minute, just a minute mind you I thought I saw Nyquil behind that can of Dew. Whew!

    • Menzie

      That makes more sense than water, the way they are acting.

  • Rosalee

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm this sounds very much like the assurance
    in the 30s of Japan and its movement in Asia

  • Lance

    Think it shows we need to up arm our Taiwanese and Filipino allies ASAP. Apart from that no worried we do have far better weapon than China can ever have.


      We kinda are…….

  • SFP

    An adversarial China image is good for the military industrial complex – that’s why the government and media hype it up. Same thing with Iran.

  • Mike Wong

    The US has exclusisve use of the Pacific Ocean. China aint going to challenge the US but to remind them the Chinese can ahve equal access. If the US threatens China as in the past,it will be tangling with a far stronger China that can counter attack.