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Red Letters #7
The Red Letters series is an ongoing short form Q&A. You can find the previous edition here.
For JTACs (Joint Tactical Air Controllers), does China have an equivalent/what are their CAS (Close Air Support) capabilities?
The PLA is just starting to figure all that out. Nothing like JTACs yet and the PLA pointy end lacks a direct link to air. Within JTAC it is also doubtful they even have a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) concept for the battalion to brigade level. Of course there is someone doing JTAC/TACP duties, but for the PLA it is likely the Air Operations Group (AOG) which sits all the way up at the Theater Command Level.
How do the Chinese employ their flamethrowers and what is the best way to counter this?
PLA flamethrowers (Type 74) are employed to destroy hard points, sweep trench works, and dislodge enemy troops from urban terrain. If the 74 gets to flame range, there’s really no counter. It’s more of a psychological weapon and everyone will immediately run away from the flame for at least a short time.
The best defense is probably good unit marksmanship and designated marksmanship to take out the 74 operators. Using organic precision fires and ISR (drones) will help as well.
Is US support of Israel primarily a showcase to the rest of the world/allies that the US stands by its treaties?
Issues of credibility and extended deterrence are present in allied/partner relationships. The US-Israeli relationship is much more than a showcase as Israel is Washington’s closest ally in CENTCOM. Israel qualifies as a “Major Non-Nato Ally” like Japan. The US-Israel relationship is captured in four agreements: The Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement (1952); a General Security of Information Agreement (1982); a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (1991); and a Status of Forces Agreement (1994).
A major portion of Washington’s relationship with Israel also involves maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME) so that Israel has overmatch against any combination of state or non-state actors in their region. A quadrennial report to Congress analyzing Israel’s QME helps monitor this framework.
What is the biggest challenge Marine Corps infantry will face in a fight against China?
Mass. PLA Army battalions usually deploy with four or more companies. On top of this, the PLA has built a density of fires that the US can’t bring to the table as of 2023.
In a PRC/US scenario, does Russia move on Kuril Islands and Hokkaido?
At least not for the next five years. Russia doesn’t want to increase its ground combat power requirements right now for obvious reasons. Also note that the Kuril Islands are already Russian: Moscow is Japan’s closest neighbor.
As always, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions. A sneak peek into our upcoming project is below.