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US bases woefully exposed to Chinese missile attacks

US lawmakers are demanding urgent upgrades to US military bases in the Indo-Pacific, citing the severe threat posed by China’s improving strike capabilities while criticizing the US Department of Defense’s (DOD) slow adoption of critical defenses.

This month, Representative John Moolenaar and Senator Marco Rubio addressed a critical letter to US Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall and US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, urging immediate enhancements to the resilience of US military facilities in Asia.

They highlighted the grave threat posed by China’s missiles, which can now target all US bases in the region, including those in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The lawmakers criticized the DOD’s slow adoption of passive defenses like hardened aircraft shelters, which are crucial to withstand and quickly recover from potential Chinese missile attacks.

China has constructed over 400 such shelters in the past decade, while the US has added only 22, according to reports. The letter also called out a cumbersome DOD regulation on handling World War II-era munitions, which delays essential construction projects and inflates costs.

The letter’s signatories requested a shift from the restrictive “Munitions and Explosives of Concern” procedures to the more efficient “Recognize, Retreat, Report” approach while demanding answers on steps to be taken to enhance base defenses.

They warned that failure to act could severely impair the US military’s operational capabilities in a conflict including in the case of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

The New York Times reported in April 2024 that the Biden administration is indeed urgently transforming US defense infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific to counter the escalating threat