The president is discussing the possibility of sending artillery units to the region.
China is said to be building military bases on artificial islands in the hotly-contested region.
A senior US army source has said the plan to install surface-to-air missiles is set to go ahead.
The source said: “A Howitzer can go where it has to go.
He added: “It is a way of changing an offensive weapon and using it in dual capacity.
Officials suggest similar weapons could be used to challenge Putin”s Russia.
The potential deployment raises the prospect of clashes between US forces and Chinese jets.
The Chinese government has already accused Washington of stoking tensions in the volatile region.
The renewed American presence could set up a bloody clash between the two forces.
Its troops have conducted several operations with allies such as Japan in a show of force against the Chinese.
The Pentagon has also authorised a series of naval exercises close to China”s military bases.