News / Asia

Pentagon Says US Has Resources for Strategic Asia Shift

U.S. Navy deck crew members stand in front of an F/A-18 fighter jet on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in Hong Kong, November 9, 2011.
U.S. Navy deck crew members stand in front of an F/A-18 fighter jet on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in Hong Kong, November 9, 2011.
VOA News
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says the Pentagon has the resources to implement its strategic re-balance toward the Asia-Pacific, despite increasing budget restrictions in Washington.

Speaking Wednesday at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, Carter acknowledged that it is fair to question whether the United States has the ability to meet the objectives of the "pivot" toward Asia announced by the Obama administration last year.

The plan was recently criticized in a U.S. government-mandated report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which found that the pivot has not been presented in a way that reflects "current budget realities."

Washington "watching every dollar"

But Carter insists the Pentagon has the capacity to resource the re-balance, saying defense officials are "focused intently" on seeing it through.

"We're watching every dollar, every ship and every plane to make sure that we execute our re-balance effectively," said Carter.

Under a bill passed by Congress last year, the U.S. Defense Department is required to cut $487 billion from its budget, in the next 10 years. Carter says his department can handle the cuts, but he warns of a potentially "disastrous" part of the bill, known as sequestration, that would trigger another $500 billion in automatic defense cuts.

"It's chaotic, wasteful and damaging, not just to defense, but to every other function of government," said Carter. "It's no way to do business. The nature of sequestration makes it impossible to devise a plan that eliminates, or even substantially mitigates, its foolish impacts."

Carter says the Pentagon considered future budget cuts in its new defense strategy and vows that it will be able to invest and sustain peace and prosperity in Asia as part of that plan.

Pivot not aimed at containing China

The U.S. military's new focus on Asia has also been received skeptically in China, where leaders view it as an attempt to halt its rising influence. But Carter repeated the administration's insistence that it is not aimed at containing the emerging country.

"Our re-balance is not about the United States.  It's not about China.  It's not about any other individual country or group of countries. It's about a peaceful Asia-Pacific region, where all countries can enjoy the benefits of security and continue to prosper," he said.

Echoing recent comments by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Carter says that an essential part of the re-balance is strengthening, not limiting, the Chinese military's ties with its U.S. counterpart. He said a "healthy, transparent, and sustainable" Sino-American defense relationship is important for global security.

US sends "newest assets" to Asia

But he also outlined details of plans that have angered Beijing, including the transfer of U.S. military ships to the Pacific and the stationing of U.S marines in Australia.

"By 2020, we will have shifted 60 percent of our naval assets to the Pacific. That's an historic change for the United States Navy. The Marine Corps will have up to 2,500 marines in rotation in Australia. We will have four littoral combat ships stationed forward in Singapore," said Carter, "And, we'll proceed to fully build out our military presence on Guam and surrounding areas."

As wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, Carter says the United States have more flexibility to send its "newest assets" to the region, including warships, aircraft carriers, B-1 bombers and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

No position on territorial disputes

Regarding recent heated territorial disputes between China and several of its neighbors, Carter says the U.S. does not take a position, other than to defend the principles of freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution.

China has accused Washington of trying to build military alliances with China's foes in the region and says an increased military presence is emboldening its neighbors to assert their claims to disputed territory.

But Carter says the disputes should be "kept in proportion" and says all sides should not allow "small things" to endanger the prosperity and development of the region as a whole.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs