Pacific Allies Pleased with U.S. Rebalance, Dunford Says

November 5, 2015

U.S. Department of Defense

The theater is getting new Aegis-class ballistic missile defense capabilities. The Navy is adding two more destroyers and a cruiser by 2017. The USS Ronald Reagan has arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, as the only American aircraft carrier based overseas. The region is also getting F-35 Lightning II and MV-22 Osprey aircraft, the amphibious transport USS Green Bay and the P-8 Poseidon aircraft. And Marines and airmen are rotationally deployed to Australia.

The exercise calendar is similarly robust, with U.S. Pacific Command overseeing hundreds of exercises on land, sea and air and exploring ways to work with allies in cyberspace and space.

“I think there is a pretty good sense at the military level that the rebalance is reflected in our leadership engagement, is reflected in our deployment patterns, it’s reflected in the exercise schedule and it’s reflected in the decisions about where to field advanced capabilities — they are coming here [to the region],” Dunford said in an interview.

But this balance be must constantly be monitored, he said, and the U.S. military leaders are doing it.

Critics have pointed to the threats in the Middle East and Europe and said it is time to slow the rebalance; that the cuts in Europe emboldened a revanchist Russia.

“I don’t think it’s a question of ‘Did we cut too much in Europe?’” Dunford said. “I think it’s a question of, ‘Given the current security situation in Europe, is the deterrent that we have in place and the posture that we have to respond if deterrence fails, is it adequate?’ It’s a fair question to ask and I think we ought to be asking it all the time.”

The assessment, again, is about more than just numbers. Dunford said the United States needs to assess the situation from the perspective of allies and potential adversaries..

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