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flies between the Atlantic into our country, four 747s fly in between the Asia-Pacific region and the United States.
It is my understanding also, Mr. Chairman, that 6 of the 10 largest armies of the world is in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan alone is second only to our Nation as far as an economic power. Unless that has changed, Mr. Chairman, it is my understanding that Japan is the second most powerful economy in the world. It is also my understanding that 60 percent of the world's GNP resides in the Asia-Pacific region.
It is my real, real pleasure to see that there is a major shift in our commitments and the actions that our government has taken in dealing with the Asia-Pacific region because of its diversity and because so much of our own security, national interests lie within this area.
We are to review our military presence in this region. There is no question about these serious concerns as it was enunciated by our Secretary of State Colin Powell—the crisis with North Korea. The current problems we have in the Taiwan Straits between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. We have some very serious problems of terrorism, Indonesia being the largest Muslim nation in the world. We have elements of al-Qaeda supposedly within Malaysia and also within the Philippines. We have problems dealing with Pakistan and India, their rivalry, not only having in their possession of nuclear weaponry systems. The question of our military presence in South Korea, as well as in Okinawa.
It is my understanding that the Administration is now taking a very firm action in restructuring our military forces throughout the Asia-Pacific region as it relates also to the Atlantic and countries in Europe.
So these are some of the things that I am looking forward to learning from our witnesses this morning and certainly want to offer my personal welcome to Secretary Rodman and Admiral Fargo and Mr. LaFleur, and I am certain that the expertise and the substantive knowledge that they have in this region will be very helpful not only to our Subcommittee, but certainly to this body.
I want to say this especially to Admiral Fargo, because he happens to have the largest military command in the world with some 100 million miles of ocean and country, all the way from Madagascar, Africa, throughout all the Asian countries, and going as far as even Latin American countries and the Pacific Rim. Even in San Diego he has this command, Mr. Chairman. I mean, I don't know how Admiral Fargo is ever able to administer such a vast and comprehensive area, and I am sure that his testimony this afternoon will be welcome by the Members of our Committee, and not to say that any less of the substance that is going to be discussed with Secretary Rodman and also Mr. LaFleur.
So I welcome our witnesses this afternoon, and I look forward to hearing from them. Thank you.
Mr. Leach. Mr. Bereuter, do you have an opening statement?
Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will just commend you on the hearing and say I am looking forward to the testimony, and I yield back.
Mr. Leach. Thank you, sir.
Let me briefly introduce our witnesses. Secretary Rodman has served as the Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs since July 2001 during the Reagan and first Bush Administration. He served as Director of the State Department's policy planning staff and also as a Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security.
Admiral Fargo, as I was told yesterday, has been in the United States Navy for 63 years. That is an exaggeration. His father was a career Navy officer, so he was brought up in the Navy, and that is a very impressive circumstance. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and heads the most important command in the United States Navy, and we welcome you, sir.
Mr. LaFleur is a graduate of the—Secretary LaFleur is a graduate of Oberlin College, and he joined the Foreign Service in 1973. That was after they lowered their standards when I left, but we appreciate your career service, and we are very appreciative of your joining us.
Let us begin, unless there is agreement otherwise, in the order of the introduction. If you would rather testify in another order, let me know.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Will the Chairman yield? I am sorry. Our good friend and colleague Congresswoman Bordallo is with us on the dais, and we certainly want to welcome her.
Mr. Leach. You are welcome, Ms. Bordallo.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PETER RODMAN, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Mr. Rodman. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee.
Mr. Leach. You have to press it and pull it close, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. Rodman. It is working now, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I want to thank you very much not only for your courtesy to us today, but for convening the hearing. I think all of us in the Executive Branch see this as an opportunity to reassure not only to Members of Congress, but our friends and allies in the region that the United States remains absolutely committed to being a factor in the Pacific, a bulwark of stability and security and freedom in this vast region that has been described. There have been some confusing reports out there about what our plans are, and this is an opportunity for us to clarify and, as I said, to reassure, most of all to reassure, that the United States remains committed to being a loyal ally and friend and to remaining a factor for peace and security.
You have my prepared statement, which I respectfully ask to
Mr. LeACH. Without objection, it will be placed in the record. All three opening statements will be placed in the record, and all three of you may proceed as you see fit.
Mr. Rodman. Thank you.
So I will just say a few brief words based on the prepared statement.
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 follows:]
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:
• the threat of international terrorism;
• 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;
• 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:
• to assure allies and friends by strengthening existing security ties and developing new partnerships;
• to dissuade military competition by influencing the choices of key states, raising the costs of military competition, and experimenting with transformed forces overseas;
• to deter aggression and coercion forward by increasing our capabilities for swift military action within and across critical regions; and
• to defeat any adversary if deterrence fails.
Let me apply these principles to the Asia-Pacific region.
U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY IN ASIA
Security and stability in Asia remain a vital U.S. strategic interest. Some critical facts about Asia illustrate why:
• More than 50% of the world's economy and more than half the world's population reside in Asia.
• U.S. businesses conduct more than $500 billion in trade with Asia each year.
• Half a million U.S. citizens live, work, and study in the region.
• Asia is home to four of the seven largest militaries in the world, some of them nuclear powers.
• 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.
• 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:
• The rise of China is a major new factor, economically and strategically.
• Japan is taking important new steps in the security field.
• The Republic of Korea is assessing its security and diplomatic requirements in new ways.
• The North Korean threat has grown.
• The end of the Cold War has freed India and the United States to rediscover options towards each other, including in the security field.
• 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. Japan 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