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Security Brief: PACOM Week of March 14, 2022

Week of Monday, March 14, 2022 | Issue 43

Francesca Cavazzuti, Tiberius Hernandez, Nagesh Shukla; PACOM Team

Hannah Norton, Editor; Jennifer Loy Chief, of Staff

US Marines conducting a military drill in Okinawa, Japan[1]

Date: March 15, 2022

Location: Japan

Parties involved: Japan; US; Russia; Ukraine; China; Taiwan; South Korea; US Marines; Japanese Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB)

The event: The Japanese and US militaries conducted an airborne landing and combat training near Mt. Fuji, Japan. Using tiltrotor military aircraft, amphibious armored vehicles, and artillery, 400 troops from Japan’s ARDB and 600 US Marines based in Okinawa practiced landing and combat operations in an enemy invasion scenario.[2] The drill was part of a three-week joint exercise, from Monday, March 7, 2022, to Friday, March 25, 2022 to improve Japan-US interoperability and strengthen their deterrence and response capabilities.[3] The war in Ukraine has heightened Japan’s security concerns in the Asia-Pacific region, where tensions have risen, as China has assumed an assertive stance over Taiwan.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s increasingly assertive stance over Taiwan will likely lead Japan to improve its defense capabilities against an eventual incursion of China into its territories. In the case of an invasion, China could very likely deploy its navy and air force in the East China Sea and try to penetrate Japan from its south-western coasts. If China’s actions in the region become more threatening, Japan will likely reorganize its naval, aerial, and ground military forces on its western coast. Japan could also very likely exploit this new military reorganization to deter China from conducting military activities in the East China Sea, preventing it from operating near Japanese waters.

  • US participation in the military drill likely suggests the geopolitical and economic significance the region holds for the US and its intention to intervene if one of its regional allies is attacked. In the short-term period, the US will likely conduct new joint defensive and offensive military training with Taiwan and South Korea to showcase and test their military capabilities. The increased occurrence of these operations is unlikely to intimidate China, which will most likely respond by conducting its own military drills in the South China Sea, leading to escalating tensions in the region.

Date: March 16, 2022

Location: New York City, USA

Parties involved: India; UN; Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT); Indian Mujahideen

The event: On March 16, a counselor in India's Permanent Mission to the UN warned that “preventing terrorist groups from acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction must be a central priority and responsibility of this Council and the international community,” citing recent UN reports that indicate terror groups may now have the capability to acquire a WMD.[5] Specifically, the representative advocated for a more substantial international commitment to enforcing Resolution 1540, a UN resolution passed in 2004 aimed at mitigating the level of access terror organizations have to nuclear materials.[6]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Referencing Resolution 1540 likely indicates that India believes that the nonenforcement of the legislation poses a threat to their national security. India’s decision to speak out about this issue now means it is likely that there have been recent findings by Indian intelligence that point to a likely potential for nuclear terror strikes. There is a roughly even chance that India perceives one of the several terror groups operating within India, such as LeT or then Indian Mujahideen, as being capable of acquiring a WMD, prompting India to renew international pressure to ensure other actors do not provide nuclear materials to these organizations. Further, there is a roughly equal chance that Indian intelligence has uncovered potential nuclear threats in neighboring states, and they wish to mitigate the risk of the transborder fallout of a nuclear terror attack.

  • India’s call to increase enforcement of Resolution 1540 will likely be realized in the form of another UN resolution that reaffirms international commitment to securing nuclear material. The drafting and debate over such a resolution would likely be utilized by India to introduce new clauses that are targeted at mitigating the terror threats they have identified. If India proposes any specific amendments to Resolution 1540, it is very likely that the Indian suggestions could be utilized to understand what type of nuclear threat India believes they are facing.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[2] Japan-US marine combat drills held amid China, Russia worry, AP News, March 2022,

[3] US, Japan flex their Osprey capabilities amid tensions with China and Russia, Stars and Stripes, March 2022,

[4] Japan-US marine combat drills held amid China, Russia worry, AP News, March 2022,

[5] Threats Of Terrorists Acquiring WMDS 'No Longer Theoretical', India Warns, The Sentinel, March 2022,

[6] Urgency needed to advance work of UNSC 1540 Committee to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction: India, The Print, March 2022,



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