Deterrence in Depth: From Japan to Amarillo, the Case of the Osprey


We have highlighted in our work both on Pacific and European defense, the importance of shaping a deterrence in depth strategy to deal with the 21st century authoritarian powers.

Such a strategy is facilitated by global partnerships, which allow for enhanced interoperability, and in some cases operating core innovative platforms in common.

The Aegis global enterprise has been one example; the F-35 global enterprise another. Now the Osprey by adding the Japanese to the force, and by expanding the users of the platform to include the US Navy with its CMV-22B, are augmenting the fleet and shaping global reach for the platform.

This will also drive the need for enhance global support to ensure that the platform can contribute more effectively to deterrence in depth.

In a July 9, 2014 article, I highlighted the way ahead for Japan and the coming of the Osprey to the JDF.

“When we wrote our book on Pacific strategy, a key element in considering how the key challenges facing the United States and its allies was how Japanese relationships with the US and the Pacific allies might evolve.

“The entire second section of our book deals with Japan, and after a history of the relationship, which was largely, the work of Dr. Richard Weitz, we focused on where Japanese defense policy might evolve in the coming years. We argued that with the emergence of the “dynamic defense” approach Japan would reach out to shape new capabilities to provide for perimeter defense and to plus up its working relationships with allies in the region.

“We argued that:

The Chinese seem bent on driving the two greatest maritime powers of the 20th century together into a closer alliance.

And at the heart of this alliance are key joint investments and procurement working relationships.

Japan is a key technological partner for the United States throughout. They are a founding member of the Aegis global enterprise.

They are an investor and operational partner in the SM-3 missile capability to enhance missile defense.

They are a major player in the F-35 program, which will allow the shaping of an attack-and-defense enterprise.

They are building a final assembly facility for the F-35, which will become a key element in the F-35 global procurement system, subject to Japanese government policy decisions.

And they are keenly interested in seeing how the Osprey can shape greater reach and range for the “dynamic defense” of Japan.1

Recently, when I visited Amarillo, Texas for the ceremony officially launching the CMV-22B into the Navy fleet, I had a chance to tour the line. And on the line were several Ospreys being prepared for the Japanese Self Defense force.

Part of the reshaping of the JDF strategy is to push the perimeter of their defense capabilities, and to be able to defend their outer islands, and to operate more effectively as an amphibious force. Both the F-35B and the Osprey are being procured as part of enhanced capabilities to provide for perimeter defense.

In other words, deterrence in depth for Japan reached back into the Bell factory in Amarillo.

This means that the work force of Amarillo is, in effect, a key contributor to the defense of a core ally.

The Osprey is one of the most complex airplanes ever built and requires highly skilled workers to craft such an outcome.

At the ceremony held on February 7, 2020, the Commander of the Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing 1 or COMVRMWING, which had been stood up on Oct. 10, 2019 to manage the CMV-22B entry into the fleet, Captain Dewon “Chainsaw” Chaney emphasized how he saw the importance of the workforce to his mission.

“I would like to first acknowledge the artisans that put this fine machine together. I visited the Bell factory on Wednesday and had a brief walkthrough of this factory yesterday.

“This is an incredibly complex machine that you have built, and I am in awe of your precise talent, and even more inspired by the magic that makes it fly,” Captain Chaney said.

Before the ceremony, I was fortunate to have the Mayor of Amarillo, Ginger Nelson, sit next to me, and she graciously allowed me to visit her at her office in the afternoon for an interview.

And my core question was simple: Why Amarillo?

From where are these skilled workers coming from, and why is Bell here?

“Because we want Bell here, because we have a tremendous workforce here in the Texas Panhandle,” Nelson said.

“We are a city fed by the small-town rural communities that surround our region.

“Our people are only one or two generations from having grown up on a farm or having owned their own small business.

“And the work ethic for our people is simply: if you are not doing it, it is not going to get done.

“Our work ethic is strong; and patriotism is a core value in the Texas Panhandle.

“For Bell, this means that they need to produce a highly complex aircraft, and they can rely on the ethics, commitment and competence of our workforce dedicated to defend our country by building these machines.”

“The culture that Bell brings with its innovation mixes well with our rural roots,” Nelson said. “The people that work at Bell are leaders in our community in many other ways – on the Chamber of Commerce and many nonprofit boards.”

“We rely on Bell to bring leadership and innovation into our community. Bell relies on us to supply dedicated, competent workers who are ready to meet the responsibilities that include the defense of our nation.”

Going from the delivery to Japan for its latest aircraft to Amarillo, that is what I would call truly deterrence in depth.

And for the Chinese government, I would warn you to not mess with Texas.

Editor’s Note: In the video below, produced on July 31, 2018 by Channel 10, Amarillo, Texas in July 31, 2018, a test flight by Bell of their V-280 was highlighted by both the Lt. Governor of Texas and by the Amarillo Mayor. 

V-280 Amarillo 2018 from on Vimeo.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick views the company’s involvement in Amarillo as a success.

“The fact that Amarillo had the foresight to say, ‘we are going to invest in Bell and bring Bell here’,” said Lt. Governor Patrick. “It is really a tribute to the forward thinking of the people of Amarillo.”

A military contract could spell huge economic growth for the area. If granted a contract, Bell plans to build 120 to 150 V-280 aircraft every year.

“We have over 800 direct jobs here at the plant,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. “But, we have over 5,000 indirect jobs related to the work Bell does in our community. When you begin to look at the potential army contract for the V-280, it is a huge impact.”

Mayor Nelson said a contract would also bring recognition to the Panhandle.

“When all that comes together to have a national and worldwide impact for us, and we here in Amarillo played a part in that,” said Mayor Nelson. “It makes me extremely proud of our workforce here in Amarillo as well as our vision for the economic impact that Bell has in our community.”

Lt. Governor Patrick said big businesses investing in small towns is what keeps Texas,Texas.

“When you think about Texas, you think about towns like Amarillo, and it’s important that we keep them vibrant,” said Lt. Governor Patrick. “We know that most of the population is going to be in the triangle of Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and then now Austin with that corridor, that’s where most of the growth is. But it’s important we attract businesses to our towns in rural Texas to keep these great cities, and communities alive.”

Lt. Governor Patrick hopes more people are inspired by Bell and more areas will receive business that can help local economic growth.

The above comes from the article by Mike Makie published on July 31, 2018.

For the full interview with Mayor Ginger Nelson, see the following:

Why Amarillo? Mayor Ginger Nelson on the Amarillo Community and Bell










  1. Laird, Robbin F.; Timperlake, Edward (2013-10-28). Rebuilding American Military Power in the Pacific: A 21st-Century Strategy: A 21st-Century Strategy (The Changing Face of War) (Kindle Locations 3968-3969). ABC-CLIO. Kindle Edition.