The United States faces a hypercompetitive geopolitical landscape in the Indo-Pacific region, arguably the most consequential theater for US national interests over the coming decades. Although the United States has created exquisite military capabilities to counter insurgencies and fight terrorists, rivals like China have developed a whole-of-government toolkit focused on expanding their span of control and freedom of action, separating the United States from its allies, and deterring US leaders from greater engagement in East Asia.
China is actively transforming its military forces, with an eye toward defeating the United States in the event of armed hostilities. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is also creatively employing its military and paramilitary assets strategically to outmaneuver the United States and partners in meaningful gray zone approaches. The PRC enjoys strategic depth and increasingly operates on internal or heavily protected lines of communication while demonstrating the ability to threaten American interests with a variety of multi-domain capabilities and forces.
Meeting this challenge will require joint transformation to a more hypercompetitive theater design. Army adoption of the four transformational roles of grid, enabler, multi-domain warfighter, and capability and capacity generator will be essential to realizing this more hypercompetitive Joint theater approach.