As tensions continue to rise between the United States and China, the possibility of a near-peer war between the two nations looms on the horizon. One potential scenario that has been discussed among military experts is an island hopping campaign, in which the US would attempt to gain control of strategic islands in the Pacific region. In this scenario, US special operations forces would play a critical role in engaging with China. One of the key roles that special operations forces would play in an island hopping campaign would be reconnaissance and intelligence gathering. These forces would be tasked with gathering information on Chinese military capabilities and troop movements on the islands, as well as identifying potential targets for US military action. This information would be crucial in planning and executing successful operations.
In addition to reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, special operations forces would also be responsible for conducting direct action operations against Chinese military targets on the islands. This could include seizing control of key military facilities, disrupting Chinese supply lines, and disabling key command and control systems. These operations would be designed to weaken Chinese military capabilities and create opportunities for US forces to gain control of the islands. Another key role that special operations forces would play in an island hopping campaign would be working with local populations. These forces would be tasked with building relationships with local communities and working with them to gather information and gain their support. This could include working with local leaders, providing humanitarian aid, and training local security forces. Building relationships with local populations would be crucial in gaining the support of the local communities and creating a more favorable environment for US operations.
US special operations forces also possess a significant maritime component. The Navy SEALs, for example, are specifically a maritime unit with an extensive range of capabilities, including amphibious assaults and the use of small boats and submarines. They also have the capability to conduct underwater reconnaissance and sabotage operations. The Marine Raiders, another special operations unit, are trained in amphibious warfare and have the capability to conduct raids and assaults on coastal targets. They also have the ability to operate from ships and submarines, making them a versatile force in a maritime environment. Special operations forces also have access to advanced technology, such as the Dry Combat Submersible (DCS), which allows them to conduct stealthy, underwater operations. This technology would be particularly useful in a scenario where the US needs to infiltrate Chinese-controlled islands undetected. In addition to these capabilities, special operations forces also have access to a range of aircraft and vessels that are designed for special operations missions. These include the MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, which is used for vertical insertion and extraction of troops, as well as the Mark V Special Operations Craft, which is used for fast-moving maritime operations. Overall, US special operations forces would play a critical role in an island hopping campaign against China. They possess a wide range of capabilities that would be useful in a maritime environment, including reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, direct action operations against Chinese military targets, and working with local populations to gain support. They also have access to advanced technology and specialized aircraft and vessels that would be useful in a maritime environment. These capabilities, combined with their expertise in amphibious and maritime operations, would make US special operations forces a formidable force in a potential war with China.