Defense Official Says Indo-Pacific Is the Priority Theater; China Is DOD’s Pacing Challenge


Date:2022-03-10 Source:defencetalk By:defencetalk Viewed:

by US Department of Defense  March 9, 2022 in Defense Geopolitics News

The Indo-Pacific region remains the priority theater for the Defense Department, and China remains the pacing challenge for the U.S. military, Ely Ratner, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs, said today.
The United States is a Pacific power and works with allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific to uphold the free and open regional order, he told the House Armed Services Committee. “At the same time, the region faces mounting security challenges, particularly from the People’s Republic of China, … which has adopted a more coercive and assertive approach to advancing its authoritarian interests,” he said. China is not the only adversary in the Pacific. North Korea is developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. This constitutes a clear threat to the United States and its allies, Ratner said.
他告诉众议院军事委员会,美国是一个太平洋大国,并与整个印太地区的盟友和伙伴合作,以维护自由和开放的地区秩序。 “与此同时,该地区面临着越来越大的安全挑战,尤其是来自中华人民共和国的……它采取了更加强制和自信的方式来推进其威权利益,”他说。中国不是太平洋地区唯一的对手。朝鲜正在研制核武器及其运载工具。拉特纳说,这对美国及其盟国构成了明显的威胁。
But China is the pacing threat, and Ratner said the defense budget that is scheduled to be presented to Congress later this month will reflect that reality. The budget request will be based on the needs of the new National Defense Strategy, which will be unveiled soon.
“We are prioritizing capabilities relevant to the China challenge to enable a joint force that is lethal and able to strike adversary forces and systems at range,” he said.
The force and capabilities must be resilient and able to gain information advantage and maintain command and control through cyber and kinetic attacks, Ratner said. The United States military must be able to field more lethal forces that are agile, fast and able to be sustained. “Alongside these capabilities, we’re building a combat-credible force posture in the Indo-Pacific, working toward a more distributed, lethal and resilient forward posture essential to addressing the full suite of challenges we face in the region,” he said.
At the heart of any strategy for the DOD is America’s greatest asymmetric advantage — the unparalleled network of allies and partners. “As I look across the region, I see our defense ties growing at a rapid pace with the U.S.-Japan alliance as the cornerstone of regional peace,” Ratner said. “We are deepening our defense cooperation with the Japan Self-Defense Forces, optimizing our alliance force posture, and integrating the alliance into a broader regional security network of like-minded nations.”
国防部任何战略的核心都是美国最大的不对称优势——无与伦比的盟友和伙伴网络。拉特纳说:“纵观整个地区,我看到我们的防务关系正在迅速发展,美日同盟是地区和平的基石。” “我们正在深化与日本自卫队的防务合作,优化我们的同盟力量态势,并将同盟融入更广泛的共同利益国家的区域安全网络。”
The U.S.-South Korean alliance remains “the linchpin of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the Indo Pacific region,” he said.
He said the U.S.-Australia alliance is surging forward with considerable momentum. Australia was already one of America’s closest allies, but the ties in all domains of combat have gotten closer. The announcement of the Australia, United Kingdom, United States security partnership further cements those ties, he said.
Ratner also said U.S. officials are also seeing historic progress in a major defense partnership with India. He said they continue to integrate and operationalize day-to-day defense cooperation and logistics, enhance information sharing, and increase bilateral cooperation in emerging domains such as space and cyberspace.
DOD is also working with the nations of Southeast Asia to strengthen capabilities and increase interoperability, Ratner said. These include Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Timor Leste.
Ratner also addressed China’s action regarding Taiwan. “Consistent with our commitment to our ‘One China’ policy, the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint communiques, and the six assurances, we’re focused on maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he said.
He noted that if China is DOD’s pacing challenge, then “Taiwan is the pacing scenario.”
“We aim to deter and deny PRC [China’s] aggression through a combination of Taiwan’s own defenses, its partnership with the United States, and growing support from like-minded democracies,” he said.

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