The rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region is a critical national commitment that focuses on regional prosperity and sharpening the U.S. military edge, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, on September 29th, in San Diego, California. The Asia-Pacific remains the "single most consequential region for America's future," he said.
The rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, which President Barack Obama announced five years ago, includes diplomatic, economic and military components, he explained. All of the components, Secretary Carter said, are to ensure the Asia-Pacific region "remains a place where every nation can rise and prosper," even at a time of dramatic political, economic and security change in the region.
Secretary Carter highlighted security challenges in the region, including North Korea's "nuclear saber-rattling" that threatens allies and heightens tensions. Other challenges, he said, include maritime concerns that could hurt the region's prosperous future, as well as terrorism and transnational threats.
The U.S. military, he noted, faced five major challenges: Russian aggression and coercion; China behaving aggressively; North Korean missile and nuclear provocations; Iranian aggression and malign influence in the Gulf; and defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region has three parts, Secretary Carter explained. The first phase began five years ago, when the U.S. Department of Defense enhanced its military force posture in the region; the second phase launched last year, when the U.S. made qualitative improvements to its force posture; and the third phase will cement the progress made in the first and second phases, the secretary said.
The United States will continue to invest and make high-tech improvements in its military assets to "sharpen our military edge so we remain the most powerful military in the region and the security partner of choice," he added.
Secretary Carter highlighted the strong ties the U.S. military has with its many allies in the region. America's regional partnerships are growing in number and strength, he said.
Noting that the effort entails helping to unlock the tremendous potential in the region, Secretary Carter concluded, “the rebalance is about the future."