Exclusive: House China Select Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher is requesting information from the United States military regarding its efforts to protect “essential” US territory that remains “extremely vulnerable” amid rising Chinese military aggression, Fox News Digital has learned.
Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, wrote a letter to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, obtained exclusively by Fox News Digital, requesting information about protecting Guam, the westernmost point in the United States.
Guam hosts Naval Base Guam, the only naval submarine base in the Western Pacific, as well as Anderson Air Force Base – a large air base capable of hosting US strategic bombers and fighters.
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“With more than 20,000 U.S. troops stationed on the island, Guam will play an essential role in defending U.S. allies and interests in the region,” Gallagher wrote to Wormuth. “But despite its strategic importance, Guam remains highly vulnerable to the People’s Republic of China’s increasingly sophisticated missile network, especially its cruise missiles.”
Gallagher said that Guam is much closer to China than Hawaii, and warned that China has spent “decades developing short- and medium-range ballistic missiles that can target Guam and American airfields in Japan, as well as American aircraft carriers and warships operating in the territory of Guam.” Western Pacific.”
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China has also developed “a massive stockpile of highly capable cruise missiles that can be launched from multiple platforms, including from ships, submarines and bombers,” Gallagher warned.
“While the United States has developed defensive capabilities against sea-based and land-based ballistic missiles and sufficient defense capabilities against sea-based cruise missiles, it has significant capability gaps to defend against PRC cruise missiles attacking land-based targets like Guam,” Gallagher said. .
“These deficiencies jeopardize our ability to use Guam as a vital submarine port and base to support operations in any contingency with the People’s Republic of China,” Gallagher warned.
At this point, the US Army’s ground-based missile defense system is designed to defend against cruise missiles, but Gallagher said the system is “facing significant delays.”
Back in 2021, Gallagher said the Army selected a prototype of the launcher, which it was unable to deliver due to supply chain issues. By May 2023, the Army said prototypes of the launcher were scheduled to be delivered in September, but indicated that operational evaluation of that prototype would be delayed until late 2024.
“This delay will likely postpone the date on which Soldiers are scheduled to deploy the air defense system,” Gallagher said, asking to understand “alternative options that could fill the defense gap caused by the delivery delay.”
“The United States has sent Ukraine several advanced national surface-to-air missile systems, which, according to the Pentagon, have been highly successful,” Gallagher wrote, although “unfortunately, the Army has not provided a similarly effective system to Guam.” The first delivery of launch prototypes “faces an uncertain future,” he said.
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Gallagher is asking the Army to provide information about the delay, as well as about how it plans to bolster Guam’s ground-based missile defense capabilities. He also asked whether the Army would support the integration of capabilities with its allies Japan and Australia.
The Army did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.