Was this a simple case of misunderstanding of military policy or did the senator in question let slip details of actual U.S.-military-proposed machinations not yet in bud and thereby perhaps sunk yet-to-sail ships with his loose lips?
It is a logical counter step to China’s continual, unexplained erection of ‘Dr. Evil islands’ in the East China Sea - patently designed to metastasise their control further and further into disputed areas they have declared as their own - to move more opposing and imposing forces into the area. As such, it seems to me that Shear may not have been vetted on what to announce and what not to, and so gave the U.S. brass’s game up before they could ‘sidle’ their plans into effect more diplomatically and tactfully.
Suffice it to say, the Chinese aren’t happy at even the mere mention of a U.S. military build-up in the region, as they obviously have designs on becoming the regional superpower (at least) and manipulating neighbours to their advantage accordingly. So, this announcement (albeit predictably damage controlled as “misspeaking”) has certainly served to ratchet up U.S.-Sino angst a notch or deux and has rendered the hapless Aussies the sizzling shrimp on the geopolitical barbie!
I’m not sure what the point would be. It’s over 7000 miles from Australia to China after all. I’m thinking we could base B1’s (and why B1’s? I’d think we’d be better served with the B2’s, which are stealthy and have more range and more capabilities) out of the US and only have a bit further to fly…and have exactly as much deterrent effect on the Chinese as bombers based on Australia would have. For that matter, we could base them out of Hawaii (or Guam…or, perhaps, Japan or Taiwan or maybe even South Korea). I looked it up and the B1’s range is only a touch over 7k miles, so you’d be talking about multiple mid-air refueling missions whether it’s in Australia or CONUS…or Hawaii or Guam.
Now, if you said we wanted Navy basing and fleet facilities…well, actually, it’s still 7000+ miles, so not seeing how that would be a big deterrent to the Chinese either or their base building efforts in the South China sea, to be honest. It doesn’t make sense.
As for the slip, no idea. Perhaps it’s something that was or is being discussed (though, again, I don’t see the point) at high levels, but my WAG is the senator was just talking out of his ass on this. Who knows though?
I suppose there’s a psychological “boots on the ground” effect. The United States seems more committed to South East Asia if there are American military units stationed in the region rather than just a promise to send them in if they’re needed.
According to the Great Circle Mapper it’s only a bit over 5,500 miles from Sydney (YSSY) to Beijing (ZBAA), and only 3,700+ miles from Darwin (YPDN) to Beijing. And from Darwin to Hainan (ZJHK) is a bit over 2,600 miles.
It’s about 2,500 miles from Guam (PGUA) to Beijing, 5,000+ miles from Honolulu (PHIK) to Beijing, and a bit over 5,900 miles from San Francisco (KSFO) to Beijing. (My first reaction to those last two figures was “That can’t be right…” but then I realized that of course the straightest route from San Francisco to Beijing doesn’t go by way of Hawaii.) It’s also a bit over 4,300 miles from Diego Garcia (FJDG) to Beijing.
They would not be a deterrent, I doubt that the idea is for deep strikes into mainland china. No, this I would wager, is for control of the pacific. The bones would be dropping captor mines and interdicting chinese merchant shipping.
Options, Australia like England is a platform for jumping off, thats secure. I dont see NavComm deciding that it wants to redo WW2 and lose the PI right off the hop. The US probably has agreements with Vietnam to reopen cam rah bay, as well as subic bay. So right off the bat, we want to interdict merchant shipping to Africa, to and from mainland China, as well as sea based oil deliveries.
B-2’s would be held back for deep strike and nuclear delivery. I don’t think that the bones and stratoforts are plumbed for nukes anymore.