World

October 31, 2013

U.S. looks to Asia nations to build their militaries

Lawmakers voiced bipartisan support Oct. 29 for the Obama administration’s strategic pivot to Asia but stressed the need for partner nations to strengthen their military capabilities and contribute more to their own defense.

Members of the House Armed Services Committee plan to step up scrutiny of U.S. military policy in the fast-growing region, where despite budget pressure, Washington wants to increase its presence as it draws down forces in Afghanistan.

Lawmakers said they plan a wide-ranging examination of U.S. force deployments and how to optimize security relationships. They plan a series of five hearings between now and early 2014, mostly focused on the growing military power of China. Topics will include its capabilities in space, the modernization of its navy and air force, and maritime disputes.

The lawmakers said part of the committee’s intent is to explain to congressional colleagues and the American public about the strategic importance of the U.S. remaining engaged in the Asia-Pacific, where it has been the dominant force since World War II. Some in Asia, however, are voicing doubts about Washington’s staying power in the region as it grapples with political divisions at home and crises in the Mideast.

“The biggest thing for us is presence. If we have presence there it’s the greatest stability you can have in that region,” said Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., one of six lawmakers briefing reporters on the upcoming hearings.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said the committee would look at how the U.S. can guarantee its alliance commitments with nations like South Korea and Japan, while building on its many other relationships in the region.

“One of the keys to making this work is partner capacity,” he said, citing as an example U.S. counterinsurgency support for Philippine forces fighting Islamic rebels. “What other options are out there to build capacity in forces so it doesn’t all fall on us?”

But Smith also advocated cooperation with China, which views the U.S. pivot as an attempt to encircle and crimp its emerging power. Smith said China should be viewed as a partner that could work with the U.S. on issues including North Korea and the transition in Afghanistan.

Committee chair Howard McKeon, R-Cal., sounded less accommodating.

He supported a more active role for Japan’s military in response to assertive behavior by China. Japan has the region’s second strongest military after China but it remains constrained by its pacifist constitution.

“It’s incumbent upon us to do all we can to build up and strengthen our partners so they can bring more to the table when they are needed,” McKeon said.

That risks tension not just with China but South Korea. Both those nations nurse bitter memories of Japan’s wartime atrocities and colonialist expansion in the first half of the 20th century.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, said the U.S. needs to recognize that the historical conflicts between its allies like South Korea and Japan, often can’t be solved by Washington.

“They have got to, on their own, decide that this is either a conflict they can park on the side for a little or resolve,” she said. “We are not going to be able to resolve history.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

NATO is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border immediately in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the alliance’s chief said April 16. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO’s air policing aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region west of Ukraine, far from the tensions in the eastern part of the...
 
 

Ukrainian officers join NATO drills in Bulgaria

NOVO SELO, Bulgaria – Lt. Col. Valeria Parada had a challenge. She and her team were responsible for rescuing people caught up in a dangerous situation around the Black Sea and making sure they received whatever humanitarian assistance they needed. To do that, she first had to learn how to coordinate among the air, navy...
 
 

Republic of Korea Selects Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II

The Republic of Korea has formally selected the Lockheed Martin ) F-35 Lightning II aircraft for its F-X fighter acquisition program.  “We are honored by and appreciate the trust and confidence the Republic of Korea has placed in the 5th Generation F-35 to meet its demanding security requirements. We look forward to supporting the discussions between...
 

 

U.S. will beef up air operations in Poland

More U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcons will deploy to Poland in the coming days and weeks, a Pentagon official said March 10. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak spoke yesterday, and Siemoiniak thanked the secretary for looking at options for basing, said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. “No decision [have been...
 
 

Six F-15s, KC-135 to augment NATO mission in Baltics

Following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s announcement March 5 during Senate testimony that the United States is augmenting its participation in NATO’s air policing mission in the Baltics and will increase joint training through its aviation detachment in Poland, a defense official provided additional information. In a statement provided on background, the official said the United...
 
 

Three U.S. military aircraft hit in S. Sudan, 4 wounded

Gunfire hit three U.S. military aircraft trying to evacuate American citizens in a remote region of South Sudan that Dec. 21 became a battle ground between the country’s military and renegade troops, officials said. Four U.S. service members were wounded in the attack in the same region where gunfire downed a U.N. helicopter the day...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>