The proposal, which comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and China, has yet to be approved.
In recent weeks, Washington and Beijing have quarreled over trade, sanctions, Taiwan, repeated bomber flights over disputed seas, and a confrontation between US and Chinese warships.
The US military is reportedly planning to put on a serious show of force in contested waters from the South China Sea to the Taiwan Strait as a warning to China and a reminder of the United States’ ability to rapidly confront and counter any potential adversaries.
The US Pacific Fleet has proposed a series of exercises for November that would see American warships and aircraft demonstrating US military might in disputed waterways in a message to Beijing, CNN reported Wednesday afternoon, citing several defense officials.
While one official reportedly characterized the plans as “just an idea,” others indicated that the proposal, which already has an operational name, is being circulated at various levels of the military.
Assuming the plan is approved, the operations would be carried out over the course of a week. The plan, derived from the National Defense Strategy and assertions that the US is once again in an age of great power competition with Russia and China, is still under consideration and will require input from the intelligence community on possible reactions from Beijing and other international actors.
News of this plan comes on the heels of serious incidents in the East and South China Seas.
Twice last week, the US sent B-52H Stratofortress heavy long-range bombers tearing through the South China Sea. Those flights were immediately followed by a joint military exercise in which a US B-52 bomber joined forces with Japanese fighter jets over the East China Sea and Sea of Japan.
China called the flights “provocative,” warning the US that it would take “necessary measures” to defend Chinese national interests. Several days later, the Chinese military conducted “live-fire shooting drills” in the South China Sea.