WASHINGTON, DC – The United States military has entered a period of historic change after more than a decade of war following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. We ended the war in Iraq; we are implementing an effective transition and drawdown in Afghanistan; and we have seriously weakened Al Qaeda’s leadership in the fight against terrorism.
As a result of these efforts and the reality of budget constraints, the US has developed a new defense strategy for the twenty-first century, one that emphasizes agility, technology, and force projection. We have begun to focus on the challenges and opportunities of the future, and it is clear that many of them lie in Asia.
After all, the global center of gravity is steadily shifting toward the Asia-Pacific, tying America’s future prosperity and security ever more closely to this fast-growing region. At the same time, increasing military spending, challenges to maritime security, non-traditional threats ranging from piracy to terrorism, and the destruction wrought by natural disasters are making the region’s security environment more complex. For these reasons, the US Department of Defense is implementing a “rebalance” of America’s strategic focus and posture to the Asia-Pacific.
The vast majority of America’s rebalance comes in non-military areas like trade and development. This is part of a broad effort directed by President Barack Obama to deepen our diplomatic, development, economic, security, and cultural engagement across the region. For the Department of Defense, the rebalance is about helping to ensure that the US and all countries in the region continue to benefit from a secure and prosperous Asia-Pacific – as we have for nearly 70 years.