EXCLUSIVE: House China Select Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher is requesting information from the United States Army on its efforts to protect an “essential” U.S. territory that remains “highly vulnerable” amid heightened Chinese military aggression, Fox News Digital has learned.
Gallagher, R-Wis., penned a letter to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital, requesting information on protecting Guam, the westernmost point of the United States.
Guam hosts Naval Base Guam, the Navy’s only submarine base in the western Pacific, as well as Anderson Air Force Base—a large air base that is able to host U.S. strategic bombers and fighters.
“With over 20,000 U.S. troops stationed on the island, Guam will play an essential role in the defense of American allies and interests in the region,” Gallagher wrote to Wormuth. “But despite its strategic importance, Guam remains highly vulnerable to an increasingly sophisticated network of missiles from the People’s Republic of China, especially its cruise missiles.”
Guam is significantly closer to China than Hawaii, Gallagher said, and warned that China has spent “decades developing both short and intermediate-range ballistic missiles that can target Guam and U.S. airfields in Japan, as well as U.S. aircraft carriers and warships operating in the western Pacific.”
Gallagher warned that China also has developed “a formidable inventory of highly capable cruise missiles that can be launched from multiple platforms, including from ships, submarines and bombers.”
“While the United States has developed sea and land-based ballistic missile defense capabilities and sufficient sea-based cruise missile defense capabilities, it has significant gaps in capabilities to defend against PRC cruise missiles attacking land-based targets such as Guam,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher warned that those “deficiencies put at grave risk our ability to use Guam as a vital submarine port and base to support operations in any contingency with the PRC.”
At this point, the U.S. Army’s ground-based missile defense system is designed to defend against cruise missiles, but Gallagher said the system has been “encountering significant delays.”
Back in 2021, Gallagher said the Army selected a launcher prototype, which, due to supply chain issues, was unable to be delivered. By May of 2023, the Army said that the launcher prototypes were planned to be delivered in September, but noted that the operational assessment of that prototype would be delayed to late 2024.
“This delay could potentially push the date by which soldiers are scheduled to field the air defense system,” Gallagher said, asking to understand “alternative options that could fill the defense gap created by delivery delays.”
“The United States has sent to Ukraine multiple National Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems, which, according to the Pentagon ‘have been extremely successful,’” Gallagher wrote, though “unfortunately, the Army has not provided a similarly effective system to Guam” and said that the first delivery of launcher prototypes “faces an unclear future.”
Gallagher is requesting that the Army provide information on the delays, and also on how it plans to strengthen land-based cruise missile defense capabilities in Guam. He also asked if the Army would support integration of capabilities with allies Japan and Australia.
The Army did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.