• Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, summarizes the state actor threats to the United States during AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific in Honolulu. Photo by Bob Goodwin
     Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, summarizes the state actor threats to the United States during AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific in Honolulu. Photo by Bob Goodwin
  • Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks at AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific in Honolulu. Photo by Bob Goodwin
     Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks at AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific in Honolulu. Photo by Bob Goodwin

The Good and the Bad on America’s Adversaries

November 15, 2016
By George I. Seffers
E-mail About the Author

U.S. Pacific Fleet deputy commander analyzes the current threat.


The good news, according to Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, is there is little likelihood the United States will go to war with China, Russia, North Korea or Iran, the country’s top four nation-state adversaries. Furthermore, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will not be able to hold onto its territories. On the other hand, North Korea is utterly unpredictable and ISIL will probably rebuild somewhere else.

“There are none of those state actors out there who want to go to war with the United States. Not a single one of them,” Adm. Sawyer said, while serving as the breakfast keynote speaker on the first day of the AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific conference in Honolulu. He added that the likelihood of war with any of those state actors is low. “It’s not zero, but it’s very, very low,” he said.

That said, the people of the United States need house insurance even though they do not believe their houses will burn down. The military provides insurance against war, he suggested. “Think of your military as the firemen,” the admiral said. “We are the insurance.”

He also added, however, that Kim Jong-Un, the leader of North Korea, is unpredictable. “I’m not sure he knows what he’s going to do tomorrow,” Adm. Sawyer said. “It’s very unpredictable.”

The deputy commander also predicted ISIL will lose control of the territory it has taken over in Syria. “Eventually, we are going to take control of that territory ISIL has. There’s no doubt in my mind,” he told the audience.

Still, the terrorist group will continue to be a threat. “The question is where they are going to go. They’re going to go somewhere. They’re going to reform. They’re going to reconstitute,” Adm. Sawyer warned. “It’s a problem throughout the world, and we need to recognize that.”

 

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