Magazine article U.S. Department of Defense Speeches

Remarks on "America's Growing Security Network in the Asia-Pacific" (Council on Foreign Relations)

Magazine article U.S. Department of Defense Speeches

Remarks on "America's Growing Security Network in the Asia-Pacific" (Council on Foreign Relations)

Article excerpt

As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, New York, New York, April 08, 2016

Good afternoon everyone, and, Richard, thanks. Thanks so much for those words, for decades of friendship, your leadership here at the Council, and above all for your public service, which continues, as Richard is a member of the Department's Defense Policy Board, we count on him for advice on all subjects all the time. He and I were just talking shortly before this about some things that he is preparing to give us some advice on in just a few weeks' time.

It's nice to see a lot of old friends here at the Council. I looked at the list of attendees coming and it was like a homecoming in many, many ways. Great to visit all my friends, and to be here at the Council. Because for generations now, the Council has hosted the debates and supported the thinkers and ideas that have shaped America's relationship with the world. And those ideas are important as ever, as we enter a new strategic era. Indeed, today's security environment is dramatically different from the one we've had for the last 25 years.

In this era, we face no fewer five evolving major, immediate challenges: countering the prospect of Russian aggression and coercion, especially in Europe; managing historic change in the vital Asia-Pacific region, including China's rise, which we welcome, and some of its actions, such as in the South China Sea, about which we share the serious concerns of all in the region; strengthening our deterrent and defense forces in the face of North Korea's continued nuclear pursuits and provocations; checking Iranian aggression and malign influence in the Gulf and protecting our friends and allies, especially Israel; and accelerating the defeat of ISIL in its parent tumor in Iraq and Syria and everywhere it's metastasizing around the world, as well as protecting our people here in the homeland.

The United States, and the Department of Defense, must and will address all five of those challenges. To do so is going to require new strategic and operational approaches, new force posture in many places, and large investments in new and enhanced capabilities. And all this we're doing.

But today, I want to talk to you about how we are meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities in the Asia-Pacific, and in particular our growing security network there. Almost all the nations there are asking us to do more with them... bilaterally and multilaterally. Tomorrow, as Richard said, I leave for India and the Philippines, and I'm going to highlight today some of the advances we'll be announcing along the way.

The Asia-Pacific is, Richard made this point, the single most consequential region for America's future. We have long played an essential and pivotal role in that region. And we're working today, both individually and with our allies and partners, to ensure the Asia-Pacific remains a region where everyone--everyone--can rise and prosper.

That has been America's objective and practice for decades. Regardless of what else was going on at home or in other parts of the world--during Democratic and Republican administrations, in times of surplus and deficit, war and peace--the United States has played a pivotal role... economically, politically, and militarily in the Asia-Pacific.

Along with a wide variety of partners and allies, for decades we have stood tall for enduring principles, including peaceful resolution of disputes, and the freedom of navigation and overflight. We helped ensure that countries can make their own security and economic choices, free from coercion and intimidation. And we've promoted free trade and the rule of law to support development and unprecedented growth.

Of course, fundamentally, sustaining this human progress requires as a foundation security and stability. And the United States has helped provide both with its strong defense engagement in the region. …

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