Strategy Guidance Underscores Asia
Underscores Asia-Pacific Region
By Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. -- (AFPS)
-- January 6, 2012 – The new defense strategy guidance President Barack Obama
announced yesterday underscores the growing strategic importance of Asia and the
Pacific, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command said.
U.S. Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, U.S. Pacific Command
commander, gives the keynote address during the 11th Annual Hawaii Military
Partnership Conference, Jan. 5, 2012, in Honolulu. The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii hosts the annual event to give Hawaiian civic
leaders a better understanding of the importance of the military presence in the
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth
Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard told participants at the Hawaii
Military Partnership Conference yesterday the strategy recognizes challenges as
well as opportunities in a region where change is the only constant.
“There is always a lot occurring in the Asia-Pacific region,
and it is never static,” Willard told the forum. He noted that during his 39
years of military service, much of it served in the Pacific and Indian Ocean
regions, “there has never been what I would call stability.”
The United States has tailored its posture in the region over
the years, while the region itself has changed in “dynamic, dynamic ways,”
economically as well as politically, the admiral explained.
The new strategy guidance reflects those changes, Willard
said, providing a strategic vision intended to guide the military through 2020
with its heavy focus on Asia and the Pacific.
It recognizes that U.S. economic and security interests are
inextricably linked to developments in the vast, 39-nation region, he told the
“Accordingly, while the U.S. military will continue to
contribute to security globally, we will of necessity rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific
region,” he said, quoting the guidance directly.
U.S. relationships with Asian allies and key partners will
remain critical to the region’s future stability and growth, Willard said. So
while strengthening existing alliances that have provided a vital foundation for
regional security, he said, the United States also will strive to forge closer
ties with emerging regional partners.
Willard recognized India’s as well as China’s emergence as
“two Asian giants driving economic developments in the region.”
He cited investments toward a long-term strategic partnership
with India so it can serve as “a regional economic anchor” and enhance security
in the broader Indian Ocean area.
Noting China’s rise as a regional power, Willard underscored
both China’s and the United States’ interest in building a cooperative bilateral
relationship that promotes regional peace and stability. He shared concerns
expressed in the strategy about China’s lack of transparency about its strategic
intensions, emphasizing that greater clarity will help avoid friction in the
Meanwhile, Willard noted the emphasis in the new guidance in
working with allies and other regional states to maintain peace on the Korean
peninsula, particularly in light of North Korea’s new leadership.
U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea are watching that
situation closely to determine if the succession will go smoothly, Willard said,
and to assess any changes within North Korea or its relations with its allies,
including China and Russia.
Looking to the future, Willard said, the new strategic
guidance recognizes that a balance of military capability and presence will be
critical to maintaining peace, stability, the free flow of commerce and U.S.
influence throughout the region.
As the new strategy is implemented, Willard commended the
330,000 members of Pacom – soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen,
civilian employees and contractors – standing watch in Asia and the Pacific.
“They are proud, they are very accomplished and their
singular goal is to maintain the security, if not the stability, of the Asia-Pacific
region,” he said.
“We will continue to maintain the watch and deal with the
ever-evolving Asia-Pacific theater as it becomes central to the security focus
of our country for the first time, in my experience,” he said.
Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard
U.S. Pacific Command
Defense Strategic Guidance
Obama: Defense Strategy Will Maintain U.S. Military Pre-eminence