Armed Services Committee Testimony
Keating, Timothy J., DISAM Journal
[The following are excerpts from a transcript of the Admiral's testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, 24 March 2009. The article is provided by the courtesy of the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) web site: http://www.pacom.mil/web/site_pages/commander/ Statements%20&%20Testimony.shtml.]
In November , we [PACOM] published the U.S. Pacific Command Strategy. It underscores the fundamental importance of sustained and persistent cooperation and collaboration in times of peace to mitigate situations that could lead to conflict and crisis. While it emphasizes security cooperation and capacity building, it does not signal a departure from our primary responsibility to fight and win. Instead, it acknowledges the complexity of our security environment and the importance of pro actively employing forces to strengthen partnerships and support conditions that preclude the necessity for combat operations. It is a strategy in which we collectively seek with our allies, partners, and friends multilateral solutions, recognizing challenges are best met together. Ours is a strategy based on partnership, readiness, and presence.
It is hard to overstate the importance of our engagement in the Asia-Pacific both to our national interests and to the broader interests of all in the region. Having visited most of the 36 nations in our area of responsibility (AOR), I am convinced that our success depends on our ability to understand the complexities and intricacies of this dynamic region. Please consider the following:
* USPACOM AOR encompasses almost half the earth's surface.
* More than half the world's population lives in our region.
* The Asia-Pacific is home to 36 nations, 3.4 billion people, three thousand different languages, the world's six largest militaries, (1) and five nations allied with the U.S. through mutual defense treaties?
* The region includes the most populous nation, the largest democracy, the largest Muslim-majority nation, and the smallest republic in the world. (3)
* China, Japan, [and] South Korea are three of our top trading partners. About one-third of our total two-way goods trade (4) is with nations in the region.
* Collectively, the region contributes 20 percent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP), thanks to several of the largest economies in the world?
* The Asia-Pacific region is home to 10 of the 15 smallest economies and to several hundred million people who still live below the $1.25 a day poverty line.
Given such diversity, the challenges are many. While the region is characterized by a remarkable level of relative stability, the endurance of the secure and stable conditions that underpin prosperity in the region is not a foregone conclusion. While USPACOM cannot take full credit for this generally favorable environment, the positive contributions of U.S. Armed Forces cannot be disputed. Our strategy is designed to ensure USPACOM remains an engaged and trusted partner committed to preserving the security, stability, and freedom upon which enduring prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region depends.
USPACOM readiness and presence support extensive military and civil cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. In response to several significant natural disasters this past year, our military forces provided aid during a number of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. Coordinating with U.S. Government (USG) agencies, U.S. embassy teams, and other Asia Pacific nations, our forces provided support to Burma in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. In February and in May 2008, our men and women aided China after it was struck first by extreme winter storms and followed by an earthquake in the Sichuan province; and in the wake of Typhoon Fengshen, the USS [U.S. Ship] Ronald Reagan Strike Group delivered critical supplies to outlying areas of the Philippines. …