Development of Allied Amphibious Capability and the Policy of Rebalance

  • Lieutenant Colonel James Brandon Conway

In response to the territorial disputes in the East China and South China Seas and the ongoing build-up of military power in the Asia-Pacific region, many of the United States’ allies and partners in the region, including Australia and Japan, have demonstrated renewed interest in the development of amphibious forces. China, a potential adversary, is also continuing to expand its capabilities. This paper argues the development of allied amphibious forces provides a wide range of diplomatic, military, budgetary, and economic benefits to the U.S. policy for rebalance in the Pacific. Specifically, it augments U.S. amphibious capability, promotes stability, improves multi-lateral relations, and directly and indirectly contributes to the U.S. economy. As a method of analysis, this paper evaluates the development and potential employment of Japanese and Australian amphibious forces as examples of states that seek the capability, though for different purposes.