The U.S. Navy increasingly will need to rely on nonmilitary means to solve problems in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. strategic rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region continues, but its implementation will need to adjust to account for budgetary constraints.
Undersecretary of the Navy Robert O. Work explained some of these nuances to a packed luncheon audience at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. Work noted that many large- and medium-size Asia-Pacific nations are increasing the size of their navies and other maritime forces. By comparison, most European nations are shrinking their fleets.
With this growth in Asia-Pacific naval capabilities comes an increase in gunboat diplomacy, Work notes. States that might seem more likely to use gunboat diplomacy could cause a problem for U.S. interests there. Accordingly, the U.S. Navy must remain engaged in the region.
Work also pitched the Navy and the Marine Corps as “a sure bet” for carrying out the Asia-Pacific strategy, especially in a down defense market.