Hagel : "In Asia, We See a Range of Persistent and Emerging Threats"
Speech As Delivered by Secretary
of Defense Chuck Hagel, Singapore, Saturday, June 01, 2013. Source : U.S. department
and gentlemen I have, as John noted, a deep appreciation for the International
Institute for Strategic Studies. As John mentioned, I was present at the
creation of this conference. And I am so pleased and proud, and particularly
hopeful to see how much this institution has grown over the years and how
relevant it has become.
perspective is different today from when I spoke at the first Asia Summit in
2002, but my message today about the Asia-Pacific region’s critical importance
is similar to the message I gave 12 years ago. The first decade of this
new century has reaffirmed that this region is becoming the center of gravity
for the world’s population, global commerce, and security.
understanding of the region is based on some first-hand exposure to both its
perils and to its promises. I learned early in my life that America is a
Pacific nation – the first ocean I ever saw was the Pacific Ocean – and I
learned that U.S. security was tied to the security of others in this region.
child, I heard my father, a veteran of World War II, speak of flying in B-25
bombers as a radio operator-tailgunner in the South Pacific theater. I
recall when war broke out on the Korean peninsula in the early 1950s he was
called up from the reserves. Although he did not deploy, many from small
towns across Nebraska did go to the Korean peninsula.
my turn came to serve our country. As a young soldier in the United
States Army, I volunteered, along with my brother Tom, to fight in the Vietnam
War. I had little insight into the decisions or global politics of the
time – what the decisions were about to send American troops there. I was
simply doing my duty. But out of that experience I learned how important
it would be for America to engage wisely – engage wisely – in Asia, and
throughout the world.
the years that followed my service, I saw the region’s promise up close as a
businessman, President of the World United Service Organization (USO) and a
U.S. Senator. As President of the USO, I witnessed America’s security
role and its partnerships in the Pacific with our bases in South Korea and
Japan – Okinawa – as well as on the U.S. territory of Guam.
I co-founded a cellular telephone company in the early 1980s, my business
partners and I traveled to Beijing, Tianjin, and Guangzhou. We traveled
to China to market this new technology. I was impressed by the skill,
motivation, and hard work of the young Chinese technicians and engineers we met
across the country. It became very clear to me that China had the
potential to build a strong and dynamic economy in the years ahead.
to China in the late 1990s as a U.S. Senator, I saw how China’s growth had
created a new, more hopeful economic path for its citizens. Trade between
the United States and China had fostered understanding and mutual respect,
building bridges between people and helping cement a stable relationship…in
which other issues could also be discussed. In 1999 I saw the same thing
in Vietnam, where I returned with my brother Tom more than 30 years after we
had served together in 1968. I then also returned to Australia.
U.S. Senator I visited many nations in the Asia-Pacific region. What I
took away from all these experiences was a firm belief that the arc of the 21st
century would be shaped by events here in Asia. America has been a
Pacific power for more than two centuries. Our ties to this region –
economic, cultural and security – are unbreakable and broadly supported by
Americans of both political parties. However, these long-standing,
bi-partisan ties needed to be renewed and reinvigorated – they need this after
a decade of war in the Middle East and Central Asia.
these reasons, when I left the United States Senate in 2009, it was apparent to
me that the U.S. would need to rebalance its capabilities and resources toward
the Asia-Pacific region as it was winding down from two wars and complications,
and reviewing its global interests and responsibilities around the world.
rebalancing should not, however, be misinterpreted. The U.S. has allies,
interests and responsibilities across the globe. The Asia-Pacific
rebalance is not a retreat from other regions of the world.
the world is undergoing a time of historic transformation, and Asia is at the
epicenter of that change. The 21st century will be defined by
the rise of new powers; the rapid spread of information, goods, and
technologies; innovation and economic integration; new security coalitions that
take on shared challenges; issues of trade, energy and the environment; and
greater opportunities for all people of all nations to have a voice in shaping
their own futures.
this incredible promise come complications and challenges. In Asia, we
see a range of persistent and emerging threats. These threats
Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, and its continued
land and maritime disputes and conflicts over natural resources;
continued threat of natural disaster, the curse of poverty and the threat
of pandemic disease;
trafficking in people, weapons, drugs, and other dangerous materials –
including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;
the growing threat of disruptive activities in space and cyberspace.
are the challenges of the 21st century. This morning I want to
describe, from my perspective as the Secretary of Defense of the United States,
what we can do together to meet these critical challenges. In particular,
America and other nations of the Asia-Pacific must continue to strengthen
existing alliances, forge new partnerships, and build coalitions based on
common interests to ensure this region’s future is peaceful and prosperous.
support of this goal, America is implementing a rebalance – which is primarily
a diplomatic, economic and cultural strategy. President Obama is
increasing funding for diplomacy and development in Asia, including a seven
percent increase in foreign assistance in the Asia-Pacific region. The
United States is providing new resources for regional efforts such as the Lower
Mekong Initiative, which helps improve water management, disaster resilience,
and public health. We have built strong momentum toward implementing a
next-generation trade and investment agreement through the Trans-Pacific
Partnership negotiations. We are fostering regional trade and investment
through our work in APEC and our support to ASEAN.
Department of Defense plays an important role in securing the President’s
vision of rebalance. Our approach was outlined in the President’s 2012
Defense Strategic Guidance,which is still guiding the U.S. military as we
reorient its capabilities, its capacities to better prepare for future global
carry out this strategy, it is true that the Department of Defense will have
fewer resources than in the past. It would be unwise and short-sighted,
however, to conclude that our commitment to the rebalance cannot be sustained –
particularly given the truth that even under the most extreme budget scenarios,
the United States will continue to represent nearly 40 percent of global
defense expenditures. Like the employment of all resources, it is always
a matter of the wise, judicious and strategic use of those resources that
matters the most and has the most lasting impact.
fact of the matter is that new fiscal realities present an opportunity to
conduct a thorough and much-needed review to ensure we are matching resources
to the most important priorities.
that goal in mind, I recently directed a Department-wide Strategic Choices and
Management Review. Although the review is not final, the direction I
provided was to follow the President’s defense strategic guidance, to focus new
energy, new thinking on addressing long-standing challenges, and to make our
defense enterprise one that better reflects 21st century security
realities – including the rise of Asia.
the region, this means I can assure you that coming out of this review, the
United States will continue to implement the rebalance and prioritize our
posture, activities and investments in Asia-Pacific. We are already
taking many tangible actions in support of that commitment.
example, the United States is adding to the capacity of our ground forces in
the Pacific after Iraq and as we unwind from Afghanistan. The 1st
and 3rd Marine Expeditionary Forces and the Army’s 25th
Infantry Division are all returning to their home stations in the Pacific
theater. The United States Army is also designating 1st Corps
as “regionally aligned” to the Asia-Pacific region.
addition to our decision to forward base 60 percent of our naval assets in the
Pacific by 2020, the U.S. Air Force has allocated 60 percent of its
overseas-based forces to the Asia-Pacific – including tactical aircraft and
bomber forces from the continental United States. The Air Force is
focusing a similar percentage of its space and cyber capabilities on this
region. These assets enable us to capitalize on the Air Force’s inherent
speed, range, and flexibility.
United States military is not only shifting more of its assets to the Pacific –
we are using these assets in new ways, in new ways to enhance our posture and
partnerships. For example, we are pushing forward with plans for
innovative rotational [deployments] in the region. Last year, we noted at
this forum that the U.S. Navy had committed to rotating up to four Littoral
Combat Ships through Singapore. In recent weeks, the first of those
ships, the USS Freedom, arrived to begin a busy schedule of regional maritime
engagements. I look forward to visiting the ship tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the second company-sized rotation of U.S. Marines recently arrived
in Darwin. They are there to deepen cooperation with our treaty ally Australia
and other regional partners. Eventually, 2,500 U.S. Marines will be
deployed to Australia each year.
enduring commitment to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region depends on
sustaining the ability to deter aggression and operate effectively across all
domains, including air, sea, land, space, and cyberspace.
five year budget plan submitted to Congress this year put a premium on rapidly
deployable, self-sustaining forces. These forces – such as submarines,
long-range bombers, and carrier strike groups – can project power over great
distance and carry out a variety of missions. In the future, this region
will see more of these capabilities as we prioritize deployments of our most
advanced platforms to the Pacific, including the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter deployments to Japan, and a fourth Virginia-class fast attack
submarine forward [deployed] to Guam.
further over the horizon, we are investing in promising technologies and
capabilities that will enhance our decisive military edge well into the
future. For example, last month, for the first time, the U.S. Navy
successfully launched an experimental remotely piloted aircraft from an
aircraft carrier, ushering in a new era in naval aviation.
achieved a series of technological breakthroughs in the directed energy area,
next year for the first time the U.S. Navy will deploy a solid-state laser
aboard a ship, the USS Ponce. This capability provides an affordable
answer to the costly problem of defending against asymmetric threats like
missiles, swarming small boats, and remotely piloted aircraft.
with new concepts, doctrine, and plans that integrate these new technologies
and other game changing capabilities, we will ensure freedom of action
throughout the region well into the future.
investments in Asia are not just about cutting-edge technology and platforms,
they are also about cultivating deeper ties between our people and building a
network of professional military personnel and security experts across the
have prioritized investments in people, including:
the size and scope of our exercises in PACOM, allocating over $100 million
in funding for joint exercises in the PACOM region;
aside new funding for defense education that will allow us to
significantly increase the number of students who can attend the
Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii.
investments in people, technology, and capabilities are critical to our
strategy and to the region’s peace and stability. Even more important is
America’s continued investment in our alliances and partnerships, and the region’s
trust, and confidence are what matters most to all people and all nations,
including the region. America’s partners must have confidence in their
bilateral ties and alliances with us and our commitments to them and the
region, including our treaty alliances. These remain essential to our
long-term vision of regional peace and stability.
is why we have initiated processes with each of our treaty allies to define a
new, forward-looking agendabased on enhancing security for our allies and
partners, increasing the ability of militaries to work together seamlessly, and
building their capacity to contribute to the region’s security:
Japan, we have agreed to review the Defense Guidelines that underpin our
Alliance cooperation, and are making substantial progress in realigning
our force posture and enhancing Alliance missile defense capabilities;
the Republic of Korea, we are working to implement the Strategic Alliance
2015 and discussing a shared vision for a more globally-oriented Alliance
out to 2030;
Australia, we are expanding cooperation related to cyber security and
space situational awareness. The U.S. and Australian Navies recently
reached an agreement to deploy an Australian warship in a U.S. carrier
strike group in the Western Pacific, giving our naval forces new practical
experience operating together cooperatively and seamlessly;
the Philippines we are discussing an increased rotational presence of U.S.
forces and helping the Philippine armed forces to modernize and build
greater maritime capacity; and
Thailand, six months ago we announced our Joint Vision Statement, the
first such bilateral document in over 50 years.
Allies are also working more closely together. In this vein we are
encouraged by growing trilateral security cooperation between especially the
U.S., Japan, and the Republic of Korea, as well as the U.S., Japan, and
Australia. The United States is also looking at trilateral training
opportunities such as jungle training between the U.S. and Thailand that could
also expand to incorporate the Republic of Korea. Similarly, the United
States is working to build trilateral cooperation with Japan and India.
security threats facing the United States and our allies – which go beyond
traditional domains and borders – demand these new approaches to Alliance
cooperation, and they also demand new and enhanced partnerships as well.
in Singapore I look forward to building on our new practical collaboration
under the U.S.-Singapore Strategic Framework Agreement, which has guided
security cooperation not only in this region, but in the Gulf of Aden and
Afghanistan as well.
New Zealand, the signing of the Washington Declaration and associated policy
changes have opened up new avenues for defense cooperation in areas such as
maritime security cooperation, humanitarian assistance and disaster
relief. This week, in Guam, a New Zealand Navy ship is visiting a U.S.
Naval facility – the first such visit in nearly 30 years.
the Vietnamese, we are expanding our cooperation – as set forth in a new
memorandum of understanding – in maritime security, training opportunities,
search-and-rescue, peacekeeping, military medical exchanges, and humanitarian
assistance and disaster relief.
Malaysia, we are expanding maritime cooperation, including the first-ever visit
of a U.S. aircraft carrier to Sabah.
Myanmar, we are beginning targeted, carefully calibrated military-to-military
engagement aimed at ensuring the military supports ongoing reforms, respects
human rights, and a professional force accountable to the country’s leadership.
United States is also working to enhance our partners’ capacity to provide for
their own security and the security of the region. Ultimately, the United
States’ goal in the region is to encourage allies to work together to design
the next generation of platforms. With our closest and most capable
allies and partners, we are already working to jointly develop and deploy
cutting-edge technologies to tackle emerging security challenges.
important example of this cooperation is with India, one of the leaders in this
broader Asia region, where we are moving beyond purely defense trade towards
technology sharing, technology trade and co-production.
world’s largest democracy, India’s role as a stabilizing power is of growing
importance with the increase of trade and transit between the Indian and
Pacific Oceans. The United States considers India’s efforts to enhance
its military capabilities as a welcome contribution to security in the
vision for the Asia-Pacific region is an open and inclusive one. Along
with India, other rising powers also have a special role to play in a future
security order as they assume the responsibilities that come with growing
stakes in regional stability. To that end, a critical element of our
long-term strategy in Asia is to seek to build strong relationships with rising
powers – including India, Indonesia and China.
United States and Indonesia – the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation – are
building new habits of cooperation. That cooperation reflects a shared
vision for a peaceful and prosperous region. As a large, diverse, and
democratic country, Indonesia has a key role in helping lead this region.
The United States and Indonesia are working together on humanitarian assistance
and disaster response preparedness, maritime security, international
peacekeeping, and combating transnational threats.
a positive and constructive relationship with China is also an essential part
of America’s rebalance to Asia. The United States welcomes and supports a
prosperous and successful China that contributes to regional and global problem
solving. To this end, the United States has consistently supported a role
for China in regional and global economic and security institutions, such as
the G20. We encourage our allies and partners to do the same.
United States strongly supports the efforts made by the PRC and Taiwan in
recent years to improve cross-Strait relations. We have an enduring
interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The United States
remains firm in its adherence to a one-China policy based on the three joint
U.S.-China communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act.
the U.S. and China will have our differences – on human rights, Syria, and
regional security issues in Asia – the key is for these differences to be
addressed on the basis of a continuous and respectful dialogue. It also
requires building trust and reducing the risk of miscalculation, particularly
between our militaries.
Obama and President Xi will soon meet for a summit in California, and they have
both been clear that they seek a stronger military-to-military
relationship. And I am pleased that the dialogue between our armed forces
is steadily improving. Over the course of the past year, positive
developments have included:
hosted then-Vice President Xi Jinping at the Pentagon, and later hosted
China’s Minister of Defense;
Panetta, General Dempsey and Admiral Locklear led delegations to China
first ever Chinese observation of the US-Philippine Balikitan exercise;
first-ever joint counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden;
U.S. invitation for China to participate in RIMPAC, the Pacific’s largest
multilateral Naval exercise;
agreement to co-host a Pacific Army Chiefs Conference with China for the
this year, I look forward to welcoming the Minister of Defense to the Pentagon.
we are pleased to see this progress, it is important for both the United States
and China to provide clarity and predictability to each other about each
other’s current and future strategic intentions.
China, the United States and all nations of the region have a responsibility to
work together to ensure a vibrant regional security architecture that solves
problems. America’s bilateral relationships and Alliances will continue
to underpin the region’s security and prosperity, and multilateral institutions
provide critical platforms and opportunities for countries to work together.
United States strongly supports a future security order where regional
institutions move beyond aspiration to achieving real results, and evolve from
talking about cooperation to achieving real, tangible solutions to shared
problems, and a common framework for resolving differences. We are
working toward a future where militaries can respond together rapidly,
seamlessly to a range of contingencies, such as providing immediate
humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
has set the stage for regional cooperation by developing a network of viable
institutions. ASEAN nations play a critical role in this region’s
security architecture, and will continue to do so. In addition to the
East Asian Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum, the relatively new ASEAN
Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+) provides an important framework – and
important framework for nations in the region to pursue common security objectives.
encouraging example of tangible and practical security cooperation of the ADMM+
is China, Vietnam, Singapore and Japan co-hosting this month a Humanitarian
Assistance/Disaster Relief and Military Medicine exercise with Brunei.
The United States will participate in this exercise and also conduct bilateral
military medicine exchanges with our Chinese counterparts.
United States supports Asian nations taking the lead in pushing their region
towards greater cooperation and I look forward to meeting with my ASEAN
counterparts at the upcoming ADMM+ Ministerial in Brunei later this
relationships with ASEAN nations are critical, and ASEAN leaders extend great
hospitality to members of my government every year and work closely every day
with members of my government. This weekend, in my meetings here in
Singapore, I am reciprocating this hospitality and I am extending an invitation
to ASEAN Defense Ministers to meet together next year in Hawaii. I
believe this first-ever U.S.-hosted meeting of ASEAN Defense Ministers will
provide another opportunity for us to discuss a shared vision for a dynamic,
peaceful, and secure future for the region.
future can only be realized if we work together to create an environment where
all can prosper and succeed, and where coercion and conflict are put aside in
favor of open dialogue. This requires a continued commitment to certain
foundational principles that have enabled this region’s success for
generations. These include free and open commerce; a just international
order that emphasizes rights and responsibilities of nations and fidelity to
the rule of law; open access, by all, to the domains of sea, air, space, and
now, cyberspace; and the principle of resolving conflict without the use of force.
to these principles are threats to peace and security in the 21st
century. Unfortunately, some nations continue to dismiss these values and
pursue a disruptive path – most notably, North Korea.
United States has been committed to ensuring peace and stability on the Korean
Peninsula for sixty years. That means deterring North Korean aggression
and protecting our allies, and achieving the complete denuclearization of the
Korean Peninsula. The United States will not stand by while North Korea
seeks to develop a nuclear-armed missile that can target the United
United States has been clear that we will take all necessary steps to protect
our homeland and our allies from dangerous provocations, including
significantly bolstering our missile defense throughout the Pacific. No
country should conduct “business as usual” with a North Korea that threatens
its neighbors. We are working closely with our Republic of Korea and
Japanese allies to strengthen our posture and ability to respond to threats
from North Korea. The prospects for a peaceful resolution also will
require close coordination with China.
the peninsula, the United States also remains concerned over the potential for
dangerous miscalculations or crises posed by numerous competing territorial
claims in the region.
United States has been clear that we do not take a position on the question of
sovereignty in these cases. That does not mean, however, that we do not
have an interest in how these disputes are addressed and settled. The
United States stands firmly against any coercive attempts to alter the status
quo. We strongly believe that incidents and disputes should be settled in
a manner that maintains peace and security, adheres to international law, and protects
unimpeded lawful commerce, as well as freedom of navigation and overflight.
the South China Sea, the United States continues to call on all claimants to
exercise restraint as they publicly pledged in 2002, and to seek peaceful means
to resolve these incidents. In that regard, we support the recent
agreement between China and ASEAN to establish crisis hotlines to help manage
maritime incidents. The U.S. also welcomes efforts to start talks on a
Code of Conduct for the South China Sea. We encourage claimants to
explore all peaceful means of settling their territorial disputes and the use
of the dispute adjudication resolution mechanisms provided by the Law of the
Sea Convention. Such efforts should not hinder progress towards
developing a binding Code of Conduct.
as we seek to uphold principles in well-established areas, we must also
recognize the need for common rules of the road in new domains.
U.S. and all nations in the region have many areas of common interest and
concern in cyberspace, where the threats to our economic security, businesses
and industrial base are increasing. In response, the United States is
increasing investment in cyber security and we are deepening cyber cooperation
with Allies in the region and across the globe. Next week I will attend a
meeting of NATO Defense Ministers with many of my NATO colleagues in attendance
here this morning devoted to cyber issues.
are also clear-eyed about the challenges in cyber. The United States has
expressed our concerns about the growing threat of cyber intrusions, some of
which appear to be tied to the Chinese government and military. As the
world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China have many areas of common
interest and concern, and the establishment of a cyber working group is a
positive step in fostering U.S.-China dialogue on cyber. We are
determined to work more vigorously with China and other partners to establish
international norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace.
United States and ASEAN nations, Pacific allies, and all nations are far more
likely to be able to live peacefully and prosperously in a world where we are
bound together by strong economic ties, mutual security interests and respect
for rules, norms, and the institutions that underpin them.
is essential because we are living at a defining time. For Americans, the
words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at his Fourth Inaugural on January 20, 1945
echo even more loudly today, when he said: “We have learned that we
cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the
well-being of other nations, far far away…We have learned to be citizens of the
world, members of the human community.”
the 20th century, America’s role as a leader in the world community
helped this region grow and prosper. It came at a cost – one I
experienced first-hand as my father, my brother and I were sent off to war in
Asia. Many others here in this audience this morning from other nations
across the region understand, far better than I, the high price so many have
paid for the peace and prosperity we have enjoyed.
must not squander those precious sacrifices. I do not want my children,
nor your children, nor anyone’s children, to have to face the same brutal
realities that were visited on this region in the last century. Instead,
I, like each of you, want them to have an opportunity, all of them to live in a
century of peace and prosperity. We owe that to future generations.
is a complex and challenging time, but it is also a hopeful time. It is
hopeful because of the tremendous legacy that has been built through the shared
sacrifices of many nations and millions of their people. It is hopeful
because there exists today more real possibilities for more people than ever
before in the history of man to prosper. Whether those possibilities will
be fulfilled depends on us.
world’s seven billion people are being brought closer together than ever before
in human history, and we will add two billion people to the face of the earth
in the next twenty-five years. Together, we have the opportunity to forge
a secure, prosperous and inclusive future. The decisions we make today
will help determine how that future unfolds in what will undoubtedly be a