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Pacific Rebalancing Must Continue, With or Without Funding

January 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Whatever budget cuts are imposed on the U.S. military services, the strategic rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region must be carried out. Global geopolitical events virtually require that the United States increase its presence to protect national interests in the increasingly dynamic region.

These points were emphasized in a special Wednesday luncheon town hall that featured service chiefs from the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Coast Guard at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. Gen. James F. Amos, USMC, commandant of the Marine Corps, left no ambiguities in his assessment of the strategic shift.

“We need to stay the course with the [rebalancing] strategy,” he declared. “We may like to think that we’re done with the thorny ‘other things’ going on around the world, but they’re not done with us.”

Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, USN, chief of naval operations, pointed out that the Navy will have 60 percent of its ships in home ports west of the Mississippi River. Yet, he emphasized, “there’s much more to it than ships.”

Gen. Amos cited the need to expand activities with partner nations and allies, as they can help U.S. missions in the region. Australia in particular knows South Pacific countries “very well,” he related.

“We need to be there to do presence missions and to influence good behavior,” the general stated. U.S. forces need to establish good relationships with trust so that nations know the United States will be there to help if needed.

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