Sunday, July 12, 2015

• America and Japan's 'War' Plan: Defend and Deter - Wallace C. Gregson

Wallace C. Gregson
July 10, 2015
Japan is on its way to strengthening its deterrence through increased military capabilities, along with political reform. Yet its U.S. security relationship needs to be updated for the twenty-first century, especially to address China’s rapid arming and regional ambitions. 
As Japan reforms its defense policies, it is up to both the United States and Japan to build a Collective Self-Defense strategywith a relatively unobjectionable strategic goal: protecting the interests, territory and the lives of the citizens of our two nations.
There is a clear distinction between war as an instrument of policy and self-defense to protect Japan and its people.
In order to develop such a strategy, we must address and analyze the development of Japan’s security structure and constitution, emerging threats to security, legislation promoting cooperation, as well as methods for strengthening deterrence.

Japan’s Security Architecture Revolution
The years since 2011 brought major changes in Japan’s security structure. Japan’s new National Security Council (NSC), a new and definitive National Security Strategy, new rules governing export of military articles, a defense-budget increase and robust participation in bilateral exercises Dawn Blitz, Iron Fist, Cope North and other achievements infused our alliance with reinvigorated energy and promised enhanced deterrence. The twin capstones are Japan’s 2014 approval of Collective Self-Defense and the creation of new, epochal Alliance Defense Guidelines in 2015 to realize greater capability and greater deterrence. More work remains to be done to fully implement Collective Self-Defense within our alliance. How the United States and Japan will shape the future depends on understanding the issue and what is needed to practically and effectively execute Collective Self-Defense.

The Issue and the Constitution
It all depends on what “war” means. Collective Self-Defense as an issue emerged from the Japanese constitution’s proscription against “war” as an instrument of national policy. “War as an instrument of policy” grew from the writings of Carl Von Clausewitz in the early nineteenth century. General MacArthur and the members of his staff were certainly cognizant of those writings as Clausewitz’s theories and writings were—and remain—a staple of military education. The good general was convinced that the advent of the atomic weapon made “war” obsolete as an instrument of policy. “War” as an instrument of policy is distinctly different from Self-Defense, but that distinction was lost in the immediate postwar mood. After all, there was nobody left to fight.

The concept of foregoing “war” as an instrument of policy—and its extension to foregoing Collective Self-Defense—was further shaped by the emergence of the Cold War between 1945 and 1950. That time featured such historical figures as Emperor Hirohito, General MacArthur, Prime Minister Yoshida, Josef Stalin and Kim Il Sung. Each had a part to play, some for good, some for evil, in shaping this issue. It is topical again as a result of the Japanese government’s 2014 reversal of a 1972 executive decision foregoing Collective Self-Defense and the new 2015 Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation.

The Japanese Constitution was drafted in 1946 at General MacArthur’s headquarters. It featured rapid staff action and frank exchanges between U.S. and Japanese officials. Indirect but close collaboration between the Supreme Commander and the Emperor helped ensure its acceptance. Perhaps the most critical product of this collaboration was the Emperor’s renunciation of divinity. Thanks to the strengths of Japan’s culture and the coherence of its society, Japan adopted land reform, created labor rights and ended feudalism. This stands in stark contrast to our recent lack of success in helping democracy emerge elsewhere in the world.

The prevailing world view in 1946 shaped all of our activities in Japan. We were barely half a year from the end of the war. The United States was lord of all it surveyed across air, land and sea. The last battle of that war saw the U.S. Navy with over 1,000 ships at the Battle of Okinawa alone. We had sole possession of the atomic weapon. Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech was still a month away. The Soviet blockade of Berlin was two years away.

There was a belief that we had seen the last of war. The dream of outlawing war—“renouncing it as an instrument of national policy” as in the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928—emerged again. The United Nations promised an elimination of critical League of Nations flaws. After the devastation of the second global conflict in forty years, perhaps we could successfully legislate against a recurrence. Confident of the emergence of an enduring peace underneath our possession of the atomic weapon, convinced that war was now so terrible that it could not happen again, and with nobody left to fight, we quickly sent our forces home, rapidly demobilized and imposed disarmament on Japan.

In this atmosphere, the Japanese Constitution came into force in 1947. Prime Minister Yoshida presented it to the last Imperial Diet and declared that Japan would henceforth depend on the United Nations and renounce war even for the purpose of self-defense.

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

New Threats Emerge
As we well know, the 1945-1950 period was unique, not a final destination. It’s been called a “Unipolar Moment,” when the United States stood as the sole undamaged power following the devastation of WWII. In the United States, it was a time of hope and rebuilding amid assumptions of enduring dominance and peace.

But then it became a time of rapidly spreading Soviet influence and subversion of national governments in the midst of chaos. As the threat became clear, our initial response was the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, or “The Marshall Plan.” This was:

An Act to promote world peace and the general welfare, national interest, and foreign policy of the United States through economic, financial, and other measures necessary to the maintenance of conditions abroad in which free institutions may survive and consistent with the maintenance of the strength and stability of the United States.

In short order, we were shocked out of our false comfort by the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948, the Soviet detonation of an atomic weapon and Mao Tse Tung’s defeat of our wartime ally Chiang Kai Shek in 1949 and the North Korean invasion of South Korea in 1950. Convinced of the need to counter Soviet-backed aggression and fearing Europe was next, President Truman moved to defend South Korea and reinforce our capabilities. Thanks to a Soviet boycott, the UN Security Council lent its new authority to this effort.

Our rapid postwar demobilization now proved to be nearly disastrous. Forces occupying Japan were rushed to Korea. They lacked training, proper clothing and equipment and meaningful numbers. The United States, the unquestioned victor in the greatest war in history five years earlier, was very nearly ejected from the Korean Peninsula and the Asian mainland by an army that did not exist in 1945. Times had certainly changed.

The San Francisco Treaty and the Supreme Court’s Decision
The original U.S.-Japan Security Treaty was signed in 1951, while the outcome in Korea was still very much in doubt. The Cold War was threatening to become “hot” in more places than Korea. In 1952, Japan regained sovereignty over its territory, with the exception of Okinawa. The U.S. occupation ended—again, with the exception of Okinawa—but U.S. forces would remain in Japan for its defense. In 1954, Prime Minister Yoshida created the Japanese Self-Defense Force, despite objections from a split public.

The constitutionality of the Self-Defense Forces and of U.S. Forces Japan made its way to the Japanese Supreme Court in 1959. As often happens, a very pedestrian issue became the agent for a major decision. A Japanese citizen was convicted of vandalizing U.S. Air Force property and the defense appealed by challenging the constitutionality of our treaty. In what became known as the Sunakawa Case, the court ruled that the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty was “not unconstitutional.” It further stated that Article 9 was propagated with a sincere desire for lasting peace by the people of Japan, who, as a result of defeat and militaristic activities committed by the government in the past, firmly resolved that never again shall Japan be visited with the horrors of war through the actions of the Japanese government. Specifically:

It is proper that our country, in the exercise of an inherent national function, be able to take the measures necessary for self-defense so that we can maintain our own peace and security, and preserve our existence. [We] do not maintain what is termed "war potential" in Article 9, but we have determined to preserve our peace and security... Article 9 does not at all prohibit a request to another country for security guarantees for the maintenance of the peace and safety of Japan.

The court’s tightly reasoned judgment drew a clear distinction between war as an instrument of policy and self-defense to protect Japan and its people. The pacifism advocated in the constitution was never intended to mean defenselessness or nonresistance. In other words, Japan’s constitution was not intended to be a suicide pact.

Speaking to charged political issues related to self-defense, such as the management of the U.S.-Japan alliance, the court declared it would respect a high degree of political discretionary judgment on the part of the Cabinet and the Diet to flesh out defense security policy. As a consequence, the Cabinet and the Diet have shaped Japan’s security policy from that day forward.

Executive Action Counters the Court
In 1972, Okinawa reverted back to Japanese sovereignty. That same year, the government outlined a constitutional interpretation based on the legal reasoning of the Sunakawa Case.

Self-Defense was validated as an inherent right for Japan. But the government,

—that is, the administration—then said something the Supreme Court did notsay: that Collective Self-Defense was unconstitutional. Individual Self-Defense, not Collective Self-Defense, was to be Japan’s course.

The statement went beyond the Supreme Court decision and ran counter to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The Charter states, in part:

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.

Collective Self-Defense was endorsed by the UN as a right of all sovereign nations, including Japan, but Japan chose not to take advantage of that.

Executive Action Reversing the 1972 Action, and the Alliance Defense Guidelines

Last year, Japan’s administration reversed the 1972 executive decision to make clear that the Constitution does allow Collective Self-Defense, stating the obvious seventy years after WWII. This year, Japan and the United States created new Guidelines for Japan—U.S. Defense Cooperation. This is far more than a revision of the 1997 guidelines. This is an epochal change.

These new Alliance Defense Guidelines, only the third in the history of the U.S.-Japan alliance, take a major step toward the effective implementation of Collective Self-Defense. It’s entirely fitting that this major achievement was announced during Prime Minister Abe’s historic visit to the United States. But this is not the end of the story.

In many ways, it marks the beginning of hard legislative work needed to provide clarity and detail and to strengthen alliance deterrence. It is also the beginning of hard work in the United States and Japan to create the necessary strategic coordination, as well as needed technical and operational capabilities. A continuous line of coordination at all levels, from the NSC level all the way through operational and tactical execution of the forces, will allow us to integrate all of our collective national capabilities and our forces’ military capabilities—maneuver, fires and effects—across air, land, sea, undersea, space and cyberspace.

Diet legislators, as well as U.S. and Japanese alliance managers, must deal in the real world of national-security policy and strategy across the spectrum from peacetime activities to more-stressful scenarios. Legislation must be crafted that assists in the development of policies and strategic concepts that are capable of winning the public’s support. The laws developed must allow the creation of needed capabilities at operational and tactical levels for our forces operating together. The legislative effort must be informed by the both the history of this issue and the reality of contemporary security threats. Once legislation is in place, Japan will be in a position to contribute more proactively to security in the region and, should it so choose, beyond. As the needed work goes forward on force capabilities, our “collective” forces will be much more efficient and much stronger operating together than ever before. The product of this collective capability will be far more effective than just the sum of our separate parts. Deterrence will be similarly strengthened. The new laws will be passed this summer.

Circumstances where this may be invoked include protection of peace and security. The logistical support that Japan can provide U.S. and other forces will be greatly expanded. Japan intends to adopt a system compatible with modern peacekeeping operations, expanding allowable activities to include nation-building support and demilitarization.

Security Challenges, a Strategy for Enhancing Deterrence, and Public Support
Defense strategies and strategic concepts offer value far beyond merely sorting out how military and naval forces should organize their share of public resources in support of the nation’s security. Their greatest contribution for democratic countries lies in building and maintaining public support for the nation’s defense plans and the needed resources. Public understanding and support are very important now as the nation absorbs Japan’s new security architecture and Collective Self-Defense. Diet deliberations reflect the vigor of the public debate. A publically declared alliance strategy for the Collective Self-Defense of Japan will illustrate what Collective Self-Defense means in practice, and help to dispel rumors, myths and anxieties. Japan and the United States should develop this strategy “collectively” and quickly.

Within this strategy, the facts of geography, technology, weapons capabilities, surveillance means, communications and cyber threats are contextual and must be considered anew as laws, regulations and capabilities develop. Geography and nuclear weapons dominate all other security considerations. Closely related are the matters of possible numerical odds and technology’s effect on warfighting.

Japan is an archipelago of roughly 6,852 islands from northeast to southwest. It is naturally a maritime nation, with an extensive Exclusive Economic Zone. It faces continental powers on the Asian mainland. In Japan’s immediate neighborhood, three nations—all with nuclear weapons, missile capabilities and large military forces—must be considered as existing or potential threats to Japan. North Korea’s missile and nuclear program is a direct threat to both Japan and the United States. It has the capability to reach Japan and beyond, as demonstrated in August 1998. China’s territorial expansion and rapidly expanding military power pose a threat to established boundaries and stability. Russia, with demonstrated expansionist ambitions elsewhere and territorial issues in Asia, must be considered a potential threat.

We may begin building an allied Collective Self-Defense strategy with a relatively unobjectionable strategic goal, that of protecting the interests, territory and lives of the citizens of our two nations. That can best be done by strengthening deterrence through the maintenance of an unquestioned ability to prevail. That invites a declared strategy that is strategically defensive, that explicitly rejects any territorial expansion while still demanding the full range of military capabilities, including offensive action, at operational and tactical levels. Such a declared strategy recognizes the existence of nuclear weapons in the three states of concern. It would be thoroughly compatible with the ethos of the Self-Defense Force and Japan’s constitution. It is also best suited to a situation where, singularly or in combination, we are not very likely to match the force structure of China.

This is compatible with the reality of nuclear weapons. Three times in the nuclear age, two nuclear armed states came to conflict, or nearly so. In each incident, the antagonists worked to limit the conflict to conventional arms and a confined area. Precedent is not always predictive, but in this case it’s hard to imagine the national leadership of the United States and Japan agreeing to a conventional attack on the mainland of a nuclear-armed power. At the very least, “regime change,” as recently practiced elsewhere, looks to be impractical, especially in North Korea. Therefore, the logical response is a strategy of robust defense.

Anticipating Change
Advancements in technology are quickly changing the face of conflict. In the past, nations came to disaster by failing to consider how new technology affected combat. As just one example, the French, Germans and British drew lessons from the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 that argued for aggressive movement and attack. Victory was to be had, it was believed, through spirited troops, mobility, maneuver and relentless attack. Apparently, the history of frontal assaults in the U.S. Civil War was disregarded.

Then the battlefield changed. From 1870 to 1914, and the beginning of the World War, steel improved in quality, poisonous gas emerged as a weapon and black powder—which was smoky when used, giving locations away—was replaced by cordite and smokeless powder. The improved steel led to standardized industrial production, vast railway expansion supporting massive logistics, massive artillery forces, barbed-wire barriers and automatic weapons—not least, the machine gun that became one of the deadliest icons of trench warfare.

The end result, entirely predictable in hindsight, was a battlefield of exceptional lethality for maneuvering, exposed troops. Despite that, commanders persisted in massed, frontal-assault tactics for years, dooming a high percentage of the youth of their nations to an early grave for no gain.

Between that “World War” and its successor, the advent of “wireless” communication—the radio—the emergence of efficient, reliable internal combustion engines, very effective submarines and advances in aviation returned maneuver to the battlefield with a vengeance. France’s exquisitely constructed Maginot Line, a defensive measure and a strategy perfect for the previous war, proved disastrous to Great Britain, as well as France. A failure to anticipate technology’s effect on combat can be fatal.

Today’s technology adds two more warfighting domains to the familiar terrestrial domains of air, sea, undersea and land: space and cyberspace. Surveillance means are proliferating and improving at an accelerating pace. Automation and expanding computerization yield small, robotic air, land and sea platforms that are remotely controlled or fully autonomous. Three-dimensional printing, or 3D printing, is rapidly advancing, promising major advancements in manufacturing and a logistical revolution. Directed Energy Weapons may reverse the current cost paradigm of sophisticated “bullets” costing more than the targets. Major weapons are increasingly accurate at increasing distance. One net effect of all this is that finding targets and hitting them at distance is ever more practical. The days of massed forces—even more massed logistics—may be over, as they become a lucrative target to be destroyed from a distance. In response, our forces must be widely distributed, agile and integrated across air, land, sea, undersea, space and cyberspace. Intelligence, command, control, communications and coordination, as well as fires, must move at digital speed, not that of analog systems or voice.

Strengthening Alliance Deterrence
Effective deterrence is built upon perceptions of the alliance’s ability to prevail in the event of conflict. We must reinforce this perception by building alliance force capabilities with a clear-eyed view of our new reality. Prevailing while fighting outnumbered beneath the nuclear threshold in an age of guided weapons and pervasive surveillance requires development of capabilities that must be permitted in the pending legislation, promptly fielded and aggressively practiced in continuous bilateral and multilateral exercises.

We must fight as one force while distributed over a wide area, and operate at a speed faster than any potential opponent. That means data-driven, secure communications to permit mutual support between U.S. and Japanese forces and mutual support among forces operating in the different domains. An integrated, comprehensive allied common operating picture must be available to all alliance forces. This will require changes to our current communications equipment and capabilities. Perhaps more important, it will require education and training for our forces’ commanders and staff in the integration of alliance operations. We must enhance our bilateral training activities to validate our technical capabilities and educate commanders and staff officers on the management of our integrated forces.

We must build endurance and innovation into our capabilities through solid research and development cooperation and U.S.-Japan industrial cooperation. Recent changes to Japanese laws governing the export of military articles make it possible for us to combine our efforts for best advantage. The successful co-development of the Aegis missile, the SM-3 Block 2A version, points the way to mutually beneficial combined efforts that enhance the defense industries of both nations.

We must support our men and women in the services with the capabilities they need while being good stewards of our defense resources. We must make the best use of our current equipment through selective upgrades to ensure that all of our forces can operate effectively in the emerging conditions. We must pace threat developments and ensure an ability to integrate with new equipment acquisitions. One possibility is cost-effective upgrades of our existing aircraft to better meet threat capabilities and effectively integrate with newer aircraft joining the inventory. This cooperative engagement capability will exploit and extend the advantages of the newer craft’s advanced capabilities to the entire allied force. Another would be upgrades of existing communications gear to ensure effective—and secure—integration across alliance forces and with newer, more-capable devices procured over time. The goal must be to assure seamless integration, as called for in the Guidelines, at the tactical level across air, land and sea. One compelling example is enabling aircraft from each nation to provide close fire support for the other nation’s ground and maritime units. Yet another is collocation of Japanese and U.S. command posts to build the interpersonal relationships and trust needed in high-intensity operations.

Prime Minister Abe illustrated a practical example of Collective Self-Defense by talking about a U.S. Aegis ship protecting Japan suddenly being attacked by enemy forces. He said it was right and proper that Japan come to the aid of the U.S. ship, even though Japan was not itself under attack. The United States certainly agrees with that declaration. Such an attack could come from forces at sea, such as high-speed cruise missile craft, in the air, or even on land, with cruise missiles or artillery fire. Attacks from under the sea—submarines—are also possible. If Japanese Self-Defense Forces are to execute an immediate response to such attacks, both U.S. and Japanese forces must have a clear and common view of all friendly and enemy forces and must be able to integrate actions through data communications passing real-time information and direction. Without such integrated capability, we risk a late or impotent response, or worse—fratricide. Deterrence relies heavily on our ability to build such alliance capabilities.

Yet another Japanese achievement deserves prominent mention in closing. Japan’s adoption of a Joint Dynamic Defense doctrine in the most recent National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Program is a major initiative. This promises the effective operational and tactical integration of Japanese forces across air, land and sea under a single command element. This Joint Task Force model will create agile, rapid and integrated maneuver capability across Japan’s 6,852 islands and permit effective and responsive support to other Japanese security elements. Now we must build the necessary capabilities—technical, intellectual and interpersonal—to implement this Joint Task Force organizational doctrine for the Self-Defense Force, and across the alliance, to ensure effective deterrence.

These capabilities are urgently needed to defend the Southwest Islands, also known as Okinawa Prefecture. The Guidelines call for the collocation of operational coordination functions. Therefore, a good place to establish such a Japanese Joint Task Force command element is Okinawa, the area most under pressure, collocated with Joint Task Force–capable major U.S. command elements[i] already present in mainland Japan and Okinawa.

Wallace C. Gregson is Senior Director, China and the Pacific at the Center for the National Interest. He retired from the Marine Corps in 2005 with the rank of Lieutenant General. He last served as the Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific; Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific; and Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Bases, Pacific, headquartered at Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii. Gregson also served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs from 2009-2011.

[i] 5th Air Force; 7th Fleet; III Marine Expeditionary Force