Rear Adm. Stephen Koehler, director of operations at Indo-Pacific Command, said that China is slowly and methodically building up military outputs in the South China Sea, putting missile and electronic warfare system an them. The U.S. and other allies and partners inthe region have beefed up operations near the human-made islands to try to blunt China’s development, but none of that has appeared to work.
Most recently China deployed aircraft to Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Island and is now operating them out of there.
Koehler stressed that while it’s not likely there will be three carrier strike groups consistently in the Pacific over the long term, it’s something we can do when we want to. This is “the new normal.”