Washington: The United States faces difficult challenges in the Asia and Pacific regions, including how to engage emerging powers such as India and China, according to an Obama administration nominee to a top defence job.
"The challenges of this dynamic and important portfolio are self-evident," Mark Lippert told the Senate Armed Services Committee here on Thursday at a hearing on his nomination as assistant secretary of defence for Asian and Pacific security affairs.
Among the challenges, he said, are the fight to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to maintain and enhance the US force posture with treaty allies and partners in East and Southeast Asia, to engage emerging powers such as India and China, and to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Lippert agreed that normalising US-Pakistan relations will require Pakistan to eliminate extremist safe havens inside its borders.
If confirmed, the official said he would help guide defence department policy in the Asia-Pacific region as the department works in an austere budget environment to address continuing national security threats.
Lippert also said he would work with the US Pacific Command, US Central Command, and the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies, and be responsible for oversight of security cooperation programmes and foreign military sales programs in the region.
Lippert worked in the Senate for nearly 10 years as an adviser to several senators and as a professional staff member for the Senate Appropriations Committee before joining the National Security Council staff in 2009.