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ons to others. By these and other actions, North Korea is osing a grave challenge to the international nuclear non roliferation regime that the world community has labored so hard to build up over our decades.
Reprocessing of spent fuel is of articular concern. North Korea could recover sufficient plutonium from spent fue at Yongbyon for several nuclear weapons. This could lead to a larger North Korean nuclear arsenal or the possibility that this economically desperate regime, the world’s foremost proliferator could sell plutonium, enriched uranium, or even nuclear weapons to rogue states or terrorists.
The United States and its friends and allies are in agreement that the Korean peninsula must be free of nuclear weapons, and that North Korea must completely, verifiably, and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear weapons programs. This is not a bilateral problem between the United States and North Korea: it is an affront to the international community. North Korea has violated explicit international obligations. While President Bush has not taken any option off the table, the United States is actively pursuing diplomatic solutions through international institutions, such as the IAEA and the UN Security Council.
Mr. LEACH. Mr. Rodman—Admiral Fargo.
STATEMENT OF ADMIRAL THOMAS B. FARGO, COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND
Admiral FARGO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee. It is a pleasure to be with you this afternoon. Last March my posture testimony focused on our five priorities in the Pacific Command, and today I would like to provide a brief survey of our four primary security concerns in the region, and then I look forward to your questions.
The dramatic events in Southwest Asia for which the Pacific Command has been a primary force provider have not eclipsed the importance of Asia-Pacific threats to global security.
First and foremost, we are keenly focused on the Korean Peninsula, where, although I believe the likelihood of war is low, the stakes would be very high if war occurred, and even higher if North Korea continues to pursue a nuclear capability.
The Demilitarized Zone borders the most heavily armed strip of territory on Earth, and as a result, millions of South Koreans live within range of North Korea’s artillery, some of which we know to be armed with chemical warheads. Further, from its highly enriched uranium program to its illicit drug trade, North Korean policies and performance are abysmal. Nuclear weapons in the hands of the world’s greatest missile proliferator would destabilize Northeast Asia and pose the threat of trafficking nuclear weapons or fissile material while undermining international treaties and norms against proliferation.
And our greatest fear, of course, is the nexus between terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. Armed with these weapons, undeterable, unaccountable enemies could inflict enormous damage without warning. It is this sobering conclusion that demonstrates the need for regional unity on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and requires multilateral cooperation to irreversibly and verifiably end North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
The President has repeatedly stated our commitment to a multilateral peaceful solution of this issue. Our job at Pacific Command has been to ensure that diplomacy is backed up by viable military strength, and we have done so. During the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Pacific Command forces were postured to deter ventures in Northeast Asia, and we continue to remain both vigilant and prepared.
Next we worry about miscalculation resulting in conflict between India and Pakistan or in the Taiwan Strait. I visited Kashmir last year, gaining valuable insight into that sensitive region, where India’s border concerns include not only Pakistan, but China as well. China and India are seeking ways to contain and resolve their differences. India and Pakistan, however, teetered on the brink of war just a year ago, and recurring violence creates the potential for military action. For the present, Prime Minister Vajpayee’s recent peace initiative adds a measure of reassurance and hope for the future.
Taiwan Strait is the other place where miscalculation could result in a much larger conflict. Taiwan clearly remains the largest friction point in the relationship between China and the United States. We seek peaceful resolution free from the threat or use of force as the only acceptable path. President Bush has made clear our support for the one China policy and the three communiques. It is also equally clear that our national leadership and the Pacific Command are prepared and committed to meet our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act. So the relatively calm rhetoric across the Taiwan Strait in recent months has been encouraging, as has China’s assistance on the North Korean issues.
We are building momentum in the war on terrorism in the Pacific theater. Besides our direct efforts against al-Qaeda, we have been focused on threats like the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines and the Jemaah Islamiah, or the JI, a foreign terrorist organization infecting Southeast Asia. Both of these terror groups are linked to al-Qaeda.
Last year we responded to a request from the Philippines to provide training, advice and assistance to the Armed Force of the Philippines in southern Mindanao, including the Basilan Island, then an Abu Sayyaf stronghold. That 6-month effort provided a template, if you will, to help the Republic of the Philippines develop a lasting counterterrorism capability, and as a result we have seen the beginning of stability on Basilan. The terrorists have been separated from the people, and normal activity like children going to school has returned.
There is clearly more work to be done. The ASG is reconstituting and have been active in bombing campaigns and are looking for outside support. We have an active exercise and security assistance program in place to continue to build the counterterrorist capability of the Philippine Armed Forces.
The Jemaah Islamiah has had cells in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, and has attacked American and other interests throughout the region. This group was also responsible for the tragic Bali bombing which killed some 200 people.
We are focused on the JI and are pleased with the cooperation of our friends in the region, including the investigations by the Government of Indonesia to apprehend and bring these terrorists to justice. Well over 100 JI members have been arrested or detained to date.
It is against this backdrop of security challenges and opportunities that we reach my final concern for this afternoon, and that is Transformation.
The world has changed dramatically with the end of the cold war and 9/11, and as a result, so has our strategic guidance. At Pacific Command, like all regional combatant commanders, our task is to “operationalize” this guidance, synchronizing multiple efforts and putting them into action with regional emphasis. So we are examining new ways of commanding, supporting and employing our forces. We call it “Operationalizing the Asia-Pacific Defense Strategy,” which includes six primary elements.
First, we are updating our operational plans. You have already seen some of the benefits of this effort in terms of knowledge, speed, precision and lethality as demonstrated by United States and coalition forces in Iraq.
Second, we are strengthening our command and control constructs to better respond to emerging security threats. Our aim here is to simplify joint structures, reduce overhead and streamline decision-making processes, and this new threat context, success is all about speed of command.
Third, we are working hard to develop expeditionary capabilities for immediate deployment in the Pacific and anywhere else that might be needed. Naval and Marine forces are inherently expeditionary, but they, too, can be enhanced for a variety of scenarios. And air and land forces are moving in the same direction.
These immediately employable capabilities are being integrated into new operating patterns and concepts. Expeditionary forces, collocated with appropriate high-speed lift and interdiction assets, ensure we can respond with regionally tailored power on short notice.
Advances in precision, lethality and the capabilities of our friends and allies provide a great opportunity to improve our force posture and footprint worldwide. We are looking for ways to increase combat power forward in theater while reducing the burden we place on our friends and allies in the region. Our goal is an enduring posture and footprint that demonstrates our commitment and its sustainability for the long term.
And finally, we are looking for access and logistics prepositioning opportunities throughout the theater that allow us to move forces quickly to the location of greatest need.
I am proud to represent the men and women of the U.S. Pacific Command, and thank you for the opportunity to testify today, and I look forward to your questions. Thank you.
Mr. LEACH. Thank you, Admiral.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Fargo follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ADMIRAL THOMAS B. FARGO, COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
On behalf of the men and women of the United States Pacific Command, I thank you for this opportunity to testify on security in the Asia-Pacific region.
Having served as Commander, United States Pacific Command (CDRUSPACOM) over the past year, and previously servin as Commander, United States Pacific Fleet for 30 months, has fortified my belie that a secure, peaceful, and prosperous Asia-Pacific region is of paramount importance to our country and the world. In contrast, an Asia that is uncertain presents grave dangers to our nation and to the security of our friends and allies in the region.
We have a number of security concerns, and they are addressed clearly in our national military strategy and supporting guidance:
0 Conflict on the Korean Peninsula
' Transnational threats like terrorism, the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), and illegal drug trade
0 Instability associated with a failing nation-state or humanitarian crisis, and ~ Ensuring the readiness of our forward-deployed forces in the region.
We are not facing these concerns alone. Since the terrorist attacks of 11 September and in the intervening months, we have had unprecedented regional cooperation in the Global War on Terrorism and in efforts to stop the proliferation 0 weapons of mass destruction. We have continued to build on the longstanding bilateral alliances and friendships necessary to deter regional aggression and coercion, dissuade military competition, and assure our allies and friends of our commitment to them and the region. We’ve accomplished this by our forward presence in the theater and by the actions of our forces as they execute tasks and operations in support of our nation’s security. In short, we have begun a journey to “operationalize” the strategic guidance we have received. Our destination is a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Asia-Pacific region.
Last year during my confirmation hearing, I provided five broad priorities for Pacific Command. Since then, I’ve used the priorities as a roadmap for focusing the command, directing operational initiatives and assessing progress. Today, my intent is to provide you an update on these riorities as they pertain to the defense posture of the U.S. Pacific Command (USPA OM).
Sustaining and Supporting the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)
Our highest USPACOM priority is sustaining and supporting the GWOT. This includes not only operations in the Pacific, but also as a force provider to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM-Afghanistan (OEF—A), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or wherever international terrorism might threaten our interests worldwide. Although we don’t have any government-su ported sanctuaries for terrorists in the Pacific, terrorist cells and organizations t at operate in the region provide unique challenges to USPACOM and to the countries in which they proliferate.
GWOT Update. Regional and local terrorist groups with ties to al-Qaida ose the most dangerous threat to U.S., allied, and friendly interests in the USPAC M Area of Responsibility (AOR). Bolstered by financial and technical support from al-Qaida, the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the southern Philippines have demonstrated their capability to attack U.S. and Western interests. Our task, in coordination with other agencies, is to ensure these terrorists do not destabilize governments in the region or threaten Americans or our friends. Regional alliances and partnerships are critical to achieving both our short-term goal of eradicating regional terrorist groups and our long-term goal of establishing a security environment throughout the Asia-Pacific region that rejects terrorism and addresses the underlying factors that breed terrorists.
Southeast Asia witnessed a number of terrorist acts in 2002, including the bombings of tourist nightclubs on the Indonesian island of Bali on 12 October that killed more than 200 civilians, including seven Americans. The Philip ines have also experienced a series of terrorist bombings, including an Octo er 2002 attack in Zamboanga that killed one U.S. serviceman and a March bombing at Davao airport on Mindanao that killed 23 people and injured over 100 others. Coincident investigations and arrests in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Australia have revealed an extensive, sophisticated network, centered on the Jemaah Islamiyah, that continues to plan attacks against U.S. and Western diplomatic interests and less defendable commercial or tourist venues across the region. We have credible information that al-Qaida has long sought to expand its movement in Southeast Asia. By leveraging its connections with sympathetic groups and individuals, some previously trained in Afghanistan, al-Qaida seeks to expand its network and obtain the su port of local pro onents in establishing a regional pan-Islamic state supportive o radical Islamic i eology.
To meet this challenge, USPACOM and regional governments have strengthened counterterrorism cooperation over the past year. Regional governments have made progress achieving counterterrorism goals through legislation that combats terrorism and its resource methods, by capturing and detaining terrorists, and through interagency coordination and intelligence sharing. To date, over 130 Jemaah Islamiyah suspects have been arrested or detained, primarily in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia. The U.S. government has designated J I, the ASG, and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. This action enables us to identify and freeze the financial assets of these groups and sets the conditions for their isolation. Governments in the region are also increasing their cooperation with regional counte arts—forming bilateral and multilateral alliances to combat terrorist activity. he Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plan to establish a re 'onal Counterterrorism Training Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is a notewort y example. USPACOM continues to support the efforts of these nations to strengthen the rule of law, improve the effectiveness of regional armed forces, and promote democratic ideals of pluralism and religious tolerance. Our long-term effort is to use international, regional, and local relationships to defeat terrorism through coordinated diplomacy, education, information operations, and the use of force when necessary.
We’ve learned a great deal about terrorism in Southeast Asia over the ast year: how these entities organize, how they operate, and what they seek to acliieve. We realize we have much more to learn and to accomplish. I am convinced that our best approach is to disru t terrorist activities where we can while helping build our regional partners’ capa ilities to do the same. It is a team effort.
To better synchronize our efforts in combating terrorism in the Pacific, we have assumed the offensive while putting in place an “active defense.” Offensively, we established a full time Joint Interagency Coordination Group for Counter Terrorism (JIACG-CT) at USPACOM Headquarters. Defensively, we designated our Army component, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), as our joint commander for Homeland Defense/ Civil Support/ Consequence Management. His area of responsibility includes Hawaii and all U.S. territories in the Pacific, as well as the Marshall Islands, Mariana Islands, and Federated States of Micronesia. Commander, Alaska Command (ALCOM) executes these responsibilities as Joint Task Force-Alaska. These command and control constructs are successfully prosecuting the War on Terror while (Protecting our forces and critical infrastructure.
JIA G—CT. We have established a Joint Interagency Coordination Group for Counter Terrorism (JIACG-CT) to coordinate DOD and other government agency (OGA) activities in USPACOM AOR, develop targets for future military or OGA operations, plan USPACOM regional and country counterterrorism (CT) cam aigns, and enhance U.S. and partner nation CT capabilities in su port of nationa objectives in the GWOT. It is an all-encompassing and focused e ort, where we are now integrating our Theater Count Teams to assess host-nation concerns and necessary conditions to proceed wifli our CT campaign. This team endeavor has been extremely successful as demonstrated by the actions of regional countries that are sup orting U.S.-led efforts in Afghanistan and regional operations, like those in the Philippines, while conducting CT operations in their own countries—all in the past year.
Forward and Deployed Forces. Within the last 15 months, the USS KITTY HAWK, JOHN C. STENNIS, CARL VINSON, CONSTELLATION, and ABRAHAM LINCOLN battlegrou s; maritime patrol aircraft; USS PELELIU, BONHOMME— RICHARD, BELLEA WOOD, and TARAWA Amphibious Ready Groups with the 11th, 13th and 15th Marine Expeditionary Units; 5th, 11th, and 13th Air Forces; and the 509th Bomber and 40th Air Ex editionary Wings have deployed in support of major roles in OEF-A and OIF. Furt er, many USPACOM countries continue to provide tangible support to both operations within their means. Australia, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand have all contributed support ranging from overflight, access and basing to escort, logistics, and troops on the ground. Many are actively participating in the reconstruction of Iraq. We appreciate their many contributions and valuable cooperation.
Regional Counterterrorism. Information sharing between countries in the Pacific has provided unprecedented insights into the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and al-Qaida networks in the Asia-Pacific region. As a result, Singapore and Malaysia have arrested dozens of members of JI, the primary transnational terrorist organization in the Pacific with links to al-Qaida. And Indonesia has arrested and is prosecuting suspected terrorist leaders and bombing suspects since the October bombings in Bali. However, Indonesia faces a difficult situation, including factions that do not want to aggressively investigate domestic groups sympathetic to al-Qaida. We need to cooperate more effectively at all levels with Indonesia on terrorism. An International Military Education and Training (IMET) program for Indonesia remains key to our engagement effort.
The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) continues to attack terrorist infrastructure and ca abilities in the Philippines and throughout the region. President Gloria Macapaga -Arroyo is firmly on our side in the GWOT—strongly supporting the effort. Our advice and assistance, including our maintenance and training packages provided under security assistance authorities, are improving the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) CT capabilities. Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines (OEF-P) serves as the ideal vehicle for U.S. forces to advise and assist the AFP in the development of skills necessary to fight terrorists. Addition