Chinese People's Liberation Army-Navy soldiers rehearse before a ceremony outside the Great Hall of People in September in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — A study group is calling on US officials and lawmakers to dramatically increase America’s naval footprint in the Pacific to “offset China’s growing military capabilities.”
In its annual report, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission calls for an American “surge [of] naval assets in the event of a contingency.”
The commission, created by Congress in 2000, calls on lawmakers to “fund the US Navy’s shipbuilding and operations efforts to increase its presence in the Asia Pacific to at least 60 ships and rebalance homeports to 60 percent in the region by 2020 so that the United States will have the capacity to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific.”
Such an increase in shipbuilding would “offset China’s growing military capabilities, and surge naval assets in the event of a contingency,” according to the commission.
In a somewhat contradictory recommendation, the study group also urged Congress to urge the Pentagon “to continue to develop the US-China maritime security relationship in order to strengthen strategic trust.”
The commission wants Washington to flex its muscles in the region with a seeming expectation that China will respond by seeking more friendly relations with Washington.
In addition, the commission proposed some steps to combat alleged Chinese-based cyber shenanigans.
For instance, the study group called on lawmakers to support the Obama administration’s push to strengthen US intellectual property rights within regional groups. It also wants Congress to pass legislation “clarifying the actions companies are permitted to take regarding tracking intellectual property stolen through cyber intrusions.”
It also wants US officials to work with other nations to create a list of individuals, groups and organizations “engaged in commercial cyber espionage.”
In a typical recommendation when multiple federal entities and private firms are involved, the commission wants to promote better information sharing.
Finally, the commission called on Congress to call on the administration to “expedite” parts of a 2011 law designed to safeguard Pentagon supply chains from cyber attacks.