Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

Moving the Throttle Forward in the Pacific

Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

Moving the Throttle Forward in the Pacific

Article excerpt

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The opportunities are immense, they're profound, and we're going to capitalize on them.... That is what we will be about in the Pacific Command--service. Service to our friends, to our allies, to all departments, and we will be working hard with our commercial partners to ensure a better quality of life, to ensure free lines of communication, to ensure the development of free and democratic societies throughout our area of responsibility.

--Admiral Timothy J. Keating

I have been privileged to serve in the Pacific before. But now, from my vantage point as commander of U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), I have gained a fuller appreciation for the vibrancy, diversity, and complexity of the Asia-Pacific. You can sense the optimism among the region's 43 nations. I also see a region with security challenges, where the U.S. military continues to play an indispensable role in preserving stability. But in the main, I judge the future as one in which opportunity outweighs risk. In this article, I convey my sense of the area of responsibility--both the challenges and opportunities. I am proud to lead the men and women of USPACOM as we work--along with the interagency and allies and partners--to help shape a bright future for the nations and people of the Asia-Pacific.

U.S. Pacific Command capabilities have facilitated the region's recovery from multiple crises--from major wars to natural disasters--by establishing conditions of security and stability. Security and stability have been at the foundation of the economic boom in the Pacific, particularly over the last three decades. Since World War II, Japan, South Korea, India, and now China have joined the United States at the top of the list of the world's largest economies.

Among the leaders of the Pacific, there is unquestionably a sense of enormous potential for continued economic growth. At the same time, more and more regional countries see the value of fostering mutual security through cooperative approaches between nations and their militaries. USPACOM welcomes this shared sense of responsibility for meeting mutual security goals. As such, the command is actively pursuing military-to-military activities within existing bilateral frameworks, while encouraging more multilateral venues and supporting the development of new strategic partnerships. These efforts are vital to our security, compatible with our national interests, and beneficial to the entire Asia-Pacific region.

U.S. Pacific Command envisions a future of peace and prosperity among all members of the Asia-Pacific community. To be successful in this regard, USPACOM must leverage the great advantages of the region--diversity, economic strength, healthy alliances, strong partners--while overcoming the challenges of vast distances and weak governmental institutions in some nations. We operate within a geopolitical environment characterized by:

* 43 diverse, independent nations, with over 100 languages and 1,000 dialects

* varied government systems, including democracies, constitutional monarchies, communist states, and military regimes

* many of the world's major religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, and Taoism

* nearly 60 percent of the world's population, including the 4 most populous nations (China, India, Indonesia, and the United States)

* 5 of the top 10 economic powers (the United States, Japan, China, Canada, and India)

* mutual defense treaties with Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand (five of the seven U.S. mutual defense treaties)

* vast distances, spanning 51 percent of the Earth's surface and covering 16 time zones

* extensive littoral areas and sea approaches.

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Roles

U.S. Pacific Command plays an important role in realizing the future. …

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