“The world is undergoing a time of historic transformation, and Asia is at the epicenter of that change,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said recently at the Asia Security Summit held in Singapore.
“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.”
The U.S. Department of Defense plays an important role in securing President Barack Obama’s vision of a rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.
“Our approach was outlined in . . . the 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 security,” said Secretary Hagel.
“The United States is adding to the capacity of our ground forces in the Pacific after Iraq and as we unwind from Afghanistan . . . In 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,” Secretary Hagel said.
"These investments in people, technology, and capabilities are critical to our strategy and to the region’s peace and stability.”
“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.”
“Our investments in Asia . . . are also about cultivating deeper ties between our people and building a network of professional military personnel and security experts across the region,” Secretary Hagel said.
These include allocating over $100 million for joint military exercises in the Pacific Command region; and new funding for defense education to significantly increase the number of students who can attend the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii.
“These investments in people, technology, and capabilities are critical to our strategy and to the region’s peace and stability,” Secretary Hagel said. “Even more important is America’s continued investment in our alliances and partnerships, and the region’s security architecture.”