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There are a number of new things going on in the region in recent years. The war on terrorism has introduced a new factor in our national security policy. The technological change in the nature of war, which we have seen in Iraq, leads the Administration to think about new ways of improving our effectiveness and capability as an ally and friend in the region. Transformation is the word that Secretary Rumsfeld likes to use. So there are a lot of new factors in our defense planning, but there are also some things that are not new.
The solidity of our alliances is, of course, an old thing. It has been for 50 years or so we have been an ally of alliances which remain the bedrock of our policy.
In addition, there are geopolitical realities that don’t change, and there are the traditional needs of deterrence. Those basic principles have not changed, and I would draw, as the Ranking Member did, some contrast with Europe.
In Europe we see integrated institutions that have reached a high stage of development, pulling the continent of Europe together in a positive way.
In Asia the institutions—regional integrating institutions are only in their rudimentary stages, and so America’s bilateral security relationships in Asia make up most of the regional security structure that exists.
Europe in an important sense was a main beneficiary of the end of the cold war. Europe is settling into some new patterns of stability, but in the Asia-Pacific region, in contrast, we see some more delicate conditions, some more fluid geopolitical conditions, changing geopolitical realities. We see China emerging. We see Japan and the Republic of Korea looking at their defense needs in new ways. North Korea, of course, is still a problem. We see the rise of Islam. You can extremism in Southeast Asia. So that just reemphasizes the importance of the American security, the American security involvement in Asia as a crucial determinant of peace.
And this brings me to the issue of the so-called footprint, the American military posture in the Asia-Pacific region. The buzzword in the Pentagon is our military footprint. And I want to say a few words, and my statement and Chris Lafleur's statement go into some of these principles, but let me make just a few brief points.
This is a global issue for the Department of Defense. We are looking—it is not just about Asia. We are looking at our presence globally because of, first of all, the end of the cold war, which has made dramatic changes in what our needs are in many parts of the world; technology, as I mentioned, the capabilities and possibilities of fighting wars differently and enhancing our capability in different ways; new missions, some relating to the war on terrorism. But this is something we are reviewing all over the world, and— but one conclusion is clear from this review, at least one conclusion, which is that a forward military presence still remains necessary, not only militarily necessary, but politically necessary, because we have allies and friends who look to us for our commitment, and the forward presence has that political function.
But it is clear that in new conditions our forward presence may need to change. It needs to be modernized. It needs to take the fullest advantage of new technologies, new possibilities. It needs to be flexible. One reason it needs to be flexible is that we do—we look at the theaters globally. We don’t look at each theater in isolation. More and more we see the breakdown or the reduction of the socalled seams that separate the regional commands, and we look at the world as a theater in which we want the flexibility to operate maybe one place, maybe move forces from one place to the other. So that is a way we are looking—new way we are looking at things.
We are looking at ways to diversify our overseas presence. We know that political conditions change. Having a multiplicity of options is smart strategy, politically as well as militarily. Jointness is one of the new features of our operations we saw again demonstrated very well in Iraq. So a lot of our facilities we look at in a new way, not just as a naval base or an Air Force base, but as a combined joint facility. So we are looking for that kind of presence qualitatively changed.
We are also looking to allies themselves to make the contribution that they must make to the common defense, and certainly we are fortunate to have capable allies who are capable of doing more and benefitting themselves from these new forces of transformation.
The bottom line is that whatever review or reassessment we are undertaking has the goal of enhancing, improving, upgrading and modernizing our presence and our ability to fight wars, to defend, deter, not to reduce our commitment, not to pull out. Just the opposite. It is to leave—it is to exploit new technological capabilities. It is to adapt to new threats that exist. The net result is meant to be a stronger commitment to our allies and more effective ability to fulfill our commitments, and I would say just in conclusion that after what was done in Iraq, I think no ally or friend should doubt either our capability or our political will to defend our interests and to defend our friends. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rodman followszl
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PETER RODMAN, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: Thank you very much for this opportunity to join you in addressing some of the most important security challenges before us in the Asia-Pacific region.
U.S. DEFENSE STRATEGY
U.S. defense strategy today, broadly considered, is a response to a variety of security challenges, many of which are new challenges that may well dominate the first decades of the 21st century:
0 the threat of international terrorism;
0 uncertainty about where new security threats will arise, and the need that this creates to be prepared to respond quickly to problems around the world;
0 the growing challenge of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including the threat arising from the nexus of WMD proliferation, rogue states, and terrorists; and
' advances in technology and asymmetric threats at the hands of potential adversaries, which, for us, place a premium on knowledge, precision, speed, lethality and surprise in the conduct of military operations.
But not everything changes in a new era. In the Asia-Pacific region, while the war on terrorism has affected many relationships and redefined many requirements, there are also some enduring strategic factors—our solid and vitally important alliances and some enduring requirements of deterrence.
Thus, the four key tenets of our defense strategy today are:
0 to assure allies and friends by strengthening existing security ties and developing new partnerships;
0 to dissuade military competition by influencing the choices of key states, raising the costs of military competition, and experimenting with transformed forces overseas;
0 to deter aggression and coercion forward by increasing our capabilities for swift military action within and across critical regions; and
0 to defeat any adversary if deterrence fails.
Let me apply these principles to the Asia-Pacific region.
Security and stability in Asia remain a vital U.S. strategic interest. Some critical facts about Asia illustrate why:
o More than 50% of the world’s economy and more than half the world’s population reside in Asia.
I U.S. businesses conduct more than $500 billion in trade with Asia each year.
0 Half a million U.S. citizens live, work, and study in the region.
0 Asia is home to four of the seven largest militaries in the world, some of them nuclear powers.
0 Real defense spending has risen 30 percent in the region since 1985, despite the end of the Cold War and Asia’s economic crisis of 1997-1998.
0 There are more than two dozen unresolved territorial disputes left over from historical conflicts.
Unlike Europe, the Asia-Pacific region has few, or only rudimentary, integrating institutions. U.S. bilateral alliances make up most of the regional security structure that exists. Whereas Europe was a principal beneficiary of the end of the Cold War, settling into a broad stability, the Asia-Pacific region in contrast finds its geopolitics all the more fluid after the Soviet collapse. For example:
0 The rise of China is a major new factor, economically and strategically. 0 Japan is taking important new steps in the security field.
0 The Republic of Korea is assessing its security and diplomatic requirements in new ways.
' The North Korean threat has grown.
0 The end of the Cold War has freed India and the United States to rediscover options towards each other, including in the security field.
0 The rise of Islamist extremism has introduced new challenges to stability, especially in Southeast Asia, but also on the Eurasian mainland.
In this complex new environment, the United States is well positioned to play a positive and effective role for stability and freedom.
We start with our strong security cooperation with our five treaty allies—Japan, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines—and other close partners, such as Singapore.
Their support for a strong U.S. military presence, and our bilateral military cooperation with them, allow us to maintain a strong deterrent posture. Even broader cooperation, bilateral and multilateral, has characterized the Asia-Pacific dimension of the war on terrorism.
Australia has long been a steadfast ally and partner, and recent events have only magnified the value of our alliance with it. The key role that Australia’s brave forces played in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its commitment to a leading role in regional security, only demonstrate Australia’s growing importance.
Our alliance with Japan has long been the anchor of stability in Northeast Asia. Our security relationship with Japan is now evolving into one that is relevant globally. J apan’s support in Operation Enduring Freedom has been unprecedented; its refueling operations for coalition ships in the Indian Ocean, for over 18 months now, have been invaluable, as have been some strategic lift missions it has undertaken. Japan has strongly supported us in Operation Iraqi Freedom and is considering ways to send its military there as well. We have also been cooperating with Japan in the area of missile defense.
In the Republic of Korea, where our alliance has endured for over 50 years, we and our Korean allies have launched a joint review of our military posture. The rocess is guided by how best to take advantage of new technology to counter North
orean capabilities and strengthen deterrence in new conditions. Modernization of our combined forces-—transformation—is a necessity and also an opportunity. Our two Presidents have pledged to work closely together on what they called, in their May 14 joint statement, “the transition to a more capable and sustainable U.S. military presence on the peninsula.” We have also reached agreement on plans to expand the role of ROK forces in the defense of the peninsula, to relocate the garrison at Yongsan, and to consolidate U.S. forces in Korea around key hubs.
U.S.-Philippine relations have grown closer in recent years. Our two governments share concerns over growing evidence of links between Philippine and international terrorist organizations, including Jemaah Islamiyah. We are providing security assistance to enhance the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to counter terrorism. We are currently planning a combined training exercise, Balikatan 03-1 in the 4th quarter of this calendar year.
Thailand has provided critical support for Operation Enduring Freedom and has cooperated with us on all aspects of the war on terror. Its commitment to support postwar reconstruction efforts in Iraq is a positive reflection of our ability to work together on issues of global importance. Thailand’s willingness to afford us unimpeded access to valuable facilities enables us to maintain a high level of readiness in the region. Cobra Gold, the centerpiece of the US-Thai annual training and exercise schedule of over 40 activities, is now focused on peace enforcement and peacekeeping. Our training relationship has expanded over the last decade to include cooperation also on counter-drug matters, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, demining, and now counter-terrorism.
Sin apore has been a strong supporter of the U.S. presence in Asia. Singapore has provi ed the U.S. with essential access to ports and facilities, including Paya Lebar Airbase and Changi Naval Base. A U.S. Navy logistics unit of approximately 160 people was established in 1992, in part to facilitate over 100 U.S. naval ship visits per year in Singapore. Singapore has been one of our strongest counter-terrorism
artners and a leader in multilateral counter-terrorist efforts in Southeast Asia. It as made a number of high-profile arrests of suspected Jemaah Islamiyah members and has disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S., British, and Singaporean interests.
The U.S. and the region have a great stake in Indonesia’s success as a modern and stable democracy. Reform of the Indonesian military is an essential piece of that effort. Indonesia is a crucial player in the global war on terrorism, and an important friend.
Our relations with China have improved in recent years. We seek a constructive and candid relationship with this emerging and important power. President Bush has met four times with top Chinese leaders, and relations have improved in the military-to-military sphere as part of the overall normalization of our relations. We look to China as an important interlocutor on a number of strategic issues, including the current tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
Taiwan is a success story—-a thriving democracy with a resilient economy. We have a firm commitment to Taiwan’s defense embodied in the Taiwan Relations Act. The United States is concerned by the trend in the military balance across the Taiwan Strait. Most disturbing is China’s missile build-up, which is proceeding at a pace of 75 new deployed missiles a year. Our task is to assist Taiwan to improve its deterrent capability, which we consider essential to the maintenance of peace in the Taiwan Strait.
REALIGNING THE U.S. MILITARY FOOTPRINT IN ASIA
There has been much discussion lately of the changing U.S. military “footprint” in the Asia-Pacific region. Let me explain our basic thinking.
The Department of Defense has been examining the U.S. overseas military posture and presence broadly, across the globe—in Europe, East Asia, Central Asia, and Southwest Asia, as well as in the Asia-Pacific.
Our goals in realigning our forces around the world are:
0 to tailor the mix of our military capabilities stationed or deployed in key regions to the particular conditions of each region; and
0 to strengthen our capabilities for prompt global military action anywhere in the world.
As the threats of the new era are not confined to a single area and often require immediate military response, the key to effectiveness is capabilities, not particular levels of forces. We saw this demonstrated in Iraq. Nor are forces expected to fight where they are based. We don’t necessarily know where the next threat will be coming from. Mobility and speed of deployment are key.
Our working assumptions include the following:
0 U.S. regional defense postures need to be based on global considerations, not just regional.
0 Existing and new U.S. bases overseas will be evaluated as combined and/or joint facilities, given the new premium on combined and joint operations,
I Overseas stationed forces should be located on reliable, well-protected terri
Forces without inherent mobility must be stationed along major transpor
tation routes, cs-pecially sea routes.
0 Long-range attack capabilities need forward infrastructure to sustain oper
Forward presence need not be divided equally among all the U.S. regional
commands, because we are also striving to reduce the barriers associated with
the “seams” that separate those regional commands.
Expeditionary operations require a network of forward facilities (with muni
tions, command and control, and logistics) in dispersed locations.
A key objective of U.S. transformation efforts will be to increase the capability of U.S. forward forces, thereby improving their deterrent effect and possibly allowing for reallocation of forces now dedicated to reinforcement of other missions. We can accomplish this by various means, including:
0 Increasing precision intelligence and strike capabilities on a global basis; operations in the war on terrorism, as well as a range of other military challenges, reinforce this need.
0 Planning globally for U.S. forces stationed and deployed overseas to take advantage of the superior strategic mobility of U.S. forces.
Any changes in overseas basing will be designed to strengthen U.S. defense relations with key allies and partners and enable us better to respond to unforeseen contingencies. The kinds of changes we have in mind for our overseas presence include:
v diversifying U.S. access to overseas bases and facilities, which should allow for military presence in areas closer to potential conflict regions and provide a broader array of military options in crisis or conflict;
0 posturing forces overseas that are more flexible and capable of a wide range of expeditionary operations, which will further broaden options and strengthen deterrence; and
0 promoting greater allied contributions, which will make for more durable U.S. defense relationships with allies and facilitate allied roles in future military operations.
The U.S. will maintain its critical bases in Northeast Asia, which may also serve as hubs for power projection in future contingencies in other areas of the world. This is especially important on the Korean eninsula, where we will maintain a strong deterrent capability and, if deterrence ails, a more robust capability for swift military operations on the peninsula.
We have not made any decisions about realigning U.S. forces in Japan, South Korea, or elsewhere in Asia. We will do so only in close consultation with our allies.
Our realignments will in no way lessen our commitment to our allies and friends and to preserving security and stability in Asia. On the contrary, they are conceived as part of a modernized and more effective global posture—one that strengthens our ability to fulfill our defense commitments. No ally or friend—especially after recent events——should doubt either our capability or our political will to defend our interests, our values, or our friends.
By far the most serious threat from East Asia is that posed by North Korea. The conventional military threat to South Korea on the peninsula remains undiminished. With its “military-first” policy, the North Korean regime continues to spend a disproportionate amount of its scarce resources on maintaining a millionman army that keeps tensions on the peninsula constantly high.
North Korea’s recent advances in its nuclear weapons program have created an increasingly serious situation. It has been caught in the act of building a highly enriched uranium production capability; it has repeatedly stated it has nearly finished reprocessing the spent fuel at Yongbyon; it has threatened to transfer nuclear weap