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wilsoncenter | The Squad and the Quad, 14 May INDOPACOM "latticework"
In recent weeks, a new minilateral in the Indo-Pacific has emerged: the "Squad," as it is dubbed informally in the Pentagon. The new grouping of Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States coalesced during a Defense Ministers' meeting in Hawaii in May 2024, following up on a previous gathering at the 2023 Shangri-La security dialogue. With its traditional security focus, the Squad adds another layer to the developing latticework architecture in the Indo-Pacific. But does it mean that the old Australia-India-Japan-US Quad is obsolete?
Unlike the original Quad, the Squad is about traditional hard power security, hence the "S" appended to its name. The meeting readout makes this abundantly clear, directly naming the People's Republic of China as the aggressor in the East and South China Seas. This meeting builds on several years of effort and defense cooperation between all four powers, including joint naval patrols in the South China Sea. Its hard power security emphasis and the addition of the Philippines instead of India distinguish Squad from Quad.
defense.gov | Joint Readout From Australia-Japan-Philippines-United States Defense Ministers' Meeting (03.05.24)
However, that does not mean that the Squad replaces the Quad, nor that the Quad is deficient. Instead, the Squad and Quad pursue different objectives with different levers of national power, traditional security (hard power),  and < wipes tears > non-traditional security (public goods) respectively.
bloomberg | New US-Backed Defense 'Squad' to Counter China in Indo-Pacific, 5 May
A US official who requested anonymity to discuss the "Squad" said the grouping aims to counter < wipes tears> coercion and aggression across Asia as well as to ensure that defense capabilities among their militaries are increasingly inter-operable, allowing them to work more efficiently together in the event of conflict.
by Cat on Thu May 16th, 2024 at 07:45:40 PM EST
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