Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Saki’s Lessons for WESTPAC

Was it Ukrainian Special Operations forces? Did the Ukrainians operationalize their Grom SRBM? Did the USA sneak in some ATACMS along with HARM missiles to strike Saki Airbase in Russian occupied Crimea?

My bet is in that order, and in time we will find out … but there is one thing I do know for sure; this is just another reminder that this regional conflict is telling us a lot about what we need to understand about the future of war that will manifest itself in the likely big war to come in the Western Pacific.

Multiple explosions on Tuesday rocked a Russian air base in occupied Crimea — killing at least one and wounding several others, Russian authorities said.

Videos circulating on social media purported to show large explosions at a military airfield in the Saki district of Crimea, a disputed peninsula annexed by Russian forces in 2014.

Russian state media reported one death at the airfield, and at least five wounded.

“We have blasts at the airfield. All the windows are broken,” Viktoria Kazmirova, deputy head of the occupation government in Crimea, told Russian outlet TASS.

Local residents reported hearing 12 explosions coming from the base. Russian officials said the explosions were caused by the detonation of several ammunition stores.

Not unlike how the Spanish Civil War gave hints to what WWII would look like, the Russo-Ukrainian War today is showing shadows of what is to come.

From drones, to highly accurate long range precision fires by conventional ballistic and cruise missiles, to exceptionally well-trained special forces – if you have a high percentage of your air forces, supply depots, maintenance facilities, and ammunition magazines within range of your enemy – if they have the ability, they will attack them. If you concentrate your forces, you distill your operational risk to an essential vulnerability too attractive not to attack.

The Russians are lucky that the pre-war Ukrainian government and its blinkered Western advisors did not have the Ukrainians properly ready for the war that came this February. 

America and her allies do not have that luxury in the Pacific west of Wake. There is no larger power who will send us meaningful amounts of aid to cover our peace time distraction.

The People’s Republic of China’s rocket forces have our bases covered. You can safely assume that the PRC’s clandestine services are good and well set. They know what needs to be done. They have been preparing for decades and the Russo-Ukrainian War shows they were on the correct path.

If we continue to assume that we will be able to have access and use of these fixed facilities in any future conflict for more than a day or two, we are setting ourselves up for an inability to operate forward.

Yes, this is an election season, but time is short and our leaders need to act now.

We need to start to better distribute our risk, faster – especially maintenance and rearming. Otherwise, we will find ourselves – once again – pushed back east of Wake and south of New Guinea for the second time in a century in the opening months of a global war that will last years – one fate does not guarantee we will win this time. 

Photo credit NZHerald.

No comments: