Trump to Strengthen US Military Power in Asia as US Prepares to Confront China Militarily
Sources close to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump are saying the next President will put more teeth into Barack Obama's five year-old pivot to Asia strategy by increasing the number of ships, planes and men in the U.S. Navy.
Confronting China militarily has long been expected of Trump, who blamed the effete Obama for failing to prevent China from building man-made islands that militarized the South China Sea and led to festering tensions that might one day ignite a war.
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Trump has also repeatedly assailed Obama for failing to stem the continuous weakening of the U.S. armed services.
During the presidential campaign, Trump noted that under Obama's watch, the Navy has shrunk to its smallest size since World War I. The Army is the smallest it has been since before World War II while the Air Force is the smallest in its history, while its aircraft are the oldest.
Trump and his Republican Party allies also claim readiness levels across the services are the worst in a generation, with pilots facing significantly reduced cockpit time and deferring critical maintenance.
Navy ships and crews are deploying as long as 10 months while Army units are deferring critical training before deployments. Trump's administration plans to stop this rot.
The US Navy has 272 ready-to-deploy warships and plans to boost this number to 315 by 2020 as part of the Navy's 2016 Force Structure Assessment.
Trump, however, plans to increase the number of active warships to 350 to add more powerful teeth to Obama's pivot strategy in the Asia Pacific region, also called the re-balancing strategy.
Should Trump's plans pan out, the US Navy and Marine Corps are expected to ramp-up their naval patrols and military exercises in Asia, especially in the South China Sea.
Trump also wants Marine combat strength to rise to 36 battalions from 27, which will send a strong signal to China the U.S. is prepared to invade and seize its militarily indefensible man-made islands.
Trump is also expected to bolster military ties with the United States' most powerful military allies in Asia: Japan, India and Australia.