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process is guided by how best to take advantage of new technology to counter North Korean 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.
Singapore has been a strong supporter of the U.S. presence in Asia. Singapore has provided 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 partners and a leader in multilateral counter-terrorist efforts in Southeast Asia. It has 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:
• to tailor the mix of our military capabilities stationed or deployed in key regions to the particular conditions of each region; and
• 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:
• U.S. regional defense postures need to be based on global considerations, not just regional.
• 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,
• Overseas stationed forces should be located on reliable, well-protected territory.
• Forces without inherent mobility must be stationed along major transportation routes, especially sea routes.
• Long-range attack capabilities need forward infrastructure to sustain operations.
• 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 munitions, 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:
• 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.
• 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:
• 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;
• 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
• 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 peninsula, where we will maintain a strong deterrent capability and, if deterrence fails, 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 weapons to others. By these and other actions. North Korea is posing a grave challenge to the international nuclear nonproliferation regime that the world community has labored so hard to build up over tour decades.
Reprocessing of spent fuel is of particular concern. North Korea could recover sufficient plutonium from spent fuel 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 proliferates 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. PACD7IC 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
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 serving as Commander, United States Pacific Fleet for 30 months, has fortified my belief 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: