Admiral Philip Davidson, the head of US Indo-Pacific Command, stressed the importance of Guam to regional security and American interests in testimony he delivered before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
According to Davidson, China is the greatest long-term strategic threat to security in the 21st century and Guam serves as a bulwark to counter this threat.
The admiral cited the recent video produced by Chinese propaganda which purportedly depicts a missile attack on Andersen Air Force Base.
Because Guam has US Air Force and Navy bases that can be used in the event of conflict with China, Davidson said Guam is already a target today and needs to be defended and considered as “homeland defense.”
“We all have to understand that Guam is US territory. We have 170,000 US citizens living there. We have 21,000 US servicemen and women, and DoD employees as well plus their families … it needs to be prepared for the threats that will come in the future, because it is clear to me that Guam is not just a place that we believe that we can fight from, as we have for many decades, we are going to have to fight for it,” Davidson said.
Right now, Davidson said the THAAD missile system on Guam is not capable of meeting the current trajectory of threats from China.
Toward this end, the admiral reiterated the need for the deployment of the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system to Guam to bolster the defense of the island from Chinese missiles.
The Aegis Ashore is the land-based component of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, which provides missile defense against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
Davidson said his number one priority is a “360-degree persistent and integrated” air-defense capability for Guam that can provide a shield against Chinese and North Korean missiles.
An Aegis Ashore air defense system for Guam could be delivered in 2026, if funding is approved.