US to ‘rebalance’ its military in Asia Pacific: Pentagon



Washington: As part of its "rebalance", in Asia Pacific, the US is all set to deploy additional military resources, including more aircraft careers and fighter jets, in the region, a top Pentagon official has said.

"Our rebalance means that a higher proportion of our assets will be in the region," the Deputy Defence Secretary, Ashton B Carter, said in a speech in Jakarta Thursday, a copy of which was made available here.

Carter said that 60 per cent of US naval assets will be assigned to the Asia-Pacific region by 2020, which he said is a substantial and historical shift.

"The Air Force, for its part, will increase its posture and presence in the region by 2017, to include tactical aircraft like the F-22, space, cyber, bomber forces; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets like the MQ-9 Reaper, the U-2 and the Global Hawk," he said.

"We will be able to leverage more capacity from our ground forces -- including Army, Marines, and special operations forces, now that they are coming home to the Pacific from Iraq and Afghanistan," he added.

Carter said the US is modernising and enhancing its forward presence across the region in cooperation with its allies and partners.

"We're modernising and updating our alliances with Japan and South Korea. In Japan, we've added aviation capability, we are in the process of realigning the Marine Corps presence in Okinawa, and we are upgrading our missile defence posture," he said.

"We are working to revise the defence guidelines with Japan to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

On the Korean Peninsula, we are implementing the Strategic Alliance 2015 and taking important steps to advance the alliance's military capabilities to meet the North Korean threat," the US official said.

Beyond Northeast Asia, the US is enhancing its presence in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean region as well.

"In this regard, I think it's important to underscore, as National Security Adviser (Tom) Donilon did last week, that we are not only rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific but also within the Asia-Pacific, in recognition of the growing importance of Southeast Asia to the region as a whole -- emphasising humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, capacity building and multilateral exercises," he said.

"In Australia, for example, our first company of Marines rotated through Darwin last year -- the key first step toward using this presence to engage in bilateral and multilateral exercises with partners in the region," Carter said.

In the Philippines, the US is working on ways to enhance the capacity of the Philippines Armed Forces and to increase its rotational presence and partnerships with the key treaty ally.

"In Singapore, the first of four littoral combat ships will be arriving in early April, providing a key capability to work bilaterally and multilaterally with our partners in the region," Carter added.

PTI