New U.S. Military Strategy Focuses on Asia

      February 10, 2011 11:04

      The U.S. Defense Department predicts that America will face bigger challenges in the Asia-Pacific region due to the emergence of China and India and North Korea's nuclear program. The forecast come in the revised National Military Strategy released Tuesday.

      "The nation's strategic priorities and interests will increasingly emanate from the Asia-Pacific region," it says. "The region's share of global wealth is growing, enabling increased military capabilities. This is causing the region's security architecture to change rapidly, creating new challenges and opportunities for our national security and leadership."

      It is the first time in seven years that the U.S. has revised the strategy.

      The report called for a dual approach to China's rise. "It calls for increased cooperation with the growing Asian giant but cautions that the intentions of its increasingly powerful People's Liberation Army remain unclear," as the Washington Times puts it.  

      It says, "The Joint Force seeks a deeper military-to-military relationship with China to expand areas of mutual interest and benefit, improve understanding, reduce misperception, and prevent miscalculation." But on the other hand, "We will continue to monitor carefully China's military developments... We remain concerned about the extent and strategic intent of China's military modernization."

      Turning to North Korea, the strategy says the rogue nation "remains a provocative threat to regional stability." "North Korea's nuclear capability and potentially unstable transition of power poses a risk to regional stability and international non-proliferation efforts," it adds.

      To cope with threats in the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. will continue close cooperation with traditional allies South Korea, Japan, and Australia. "We will expand our military security cooperation, exchanges, and exercises with the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Singapore, and other states in Oceania -- working with them to address domestic and common foreign threats to their nation's integrity and security."

      A U.S. defense official said the higher priority of Asia does not necessarily mean the expansion of the U.S. military presence there but a possible "redistribution" of U.S. troops because there has been less demand for ground forces after a NATO missile defense system was established in Europe.

      The new strategy, dubbed "whole-of-nation approaches" in the report, urges foreign service personnel and NGOs as well as the armed forces to join efforts to address security challenges.

      Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that non-military approaches led by civilians will become more and more important.

      The 2004 report focused on combating terrorism, including the Afghan War. But the 2011 report aims to strengthen global security through regional and international partnerships and reorganize forces so that they can face future challenges, the department official added.

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