Shutdown Threatens Pacific Pivot

Shutdown Threatens Pacific Pivot

While on a trip through the Asia-Pacific to meet with key allies, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters that the ongoing government shutdown is adversely impacting U.S. military partnerships with allies in the region.

Calling the shutdown “completely irresponsible,” Hagel said the situation affects “our relationships around the world,” in a released statement. “It cuts straight to the obvious question: Can you rely on the United States to fulfill its commitments to its allies?”

During his recent trip to South Korea, Hagel did say the U.S. would preserve its commitments to security in the region and keep U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan. At the same time, South Korean officials repeatedly asked about the reason for the government shutdown, reports indicated.


The U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, is currently conducting joint exercises with the South Korean Navy off the coast of South Korea, Navy officials said.

Meanwhile, Pentagon officials say scores of civilian linguists, regional specialists and policy experts have been furloughed, greatly impacting U.S. military relations with allies in the Pacific region and around the globe.

“We’ve taken a dramatic hit. The true experts for Asia policy are civilian workers. They speak the language and they know the intricacies. The shutdown has had a dramatic impact upon our capacity to do work in this realm,” said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeffrey Pool.

The civilian policy experts are often the ones who maintain regular contact with counterparts from allied nations – so their current absence is substantially impacting the U.S. militaries’ ability to sustain partnerships, Pool explained.

“These are the people who help refine our policy and help work the day to day issues and engagements,” he said.

Pool also said that Pentagon officials are concerned that their expert colleagues are not currently being paid due to the political impasse.

“These people have lives and families,” Pool explained.

In addition, Pentagon officials are concerned that events like the ongoing government shutdown run may very well make it harder to attract and retain highly skilled policy and strategy experts, many of whom have Masters degrees and Phds.

“There is concern about the future impact of what this is going to do to recruiting – to attract these people who could easily work in the civilian world,” Pool added. “They could easily work for a larger corporation or think tank.”

With the Asia-Pacific region rapidly growing in strategic importance and the U.S. militaries’ Pacific rebalance strategy already underway, this is not a great time for allies in the region to begin questioning their confidence in the U.S., Pentagon officials said.

In fact, the U.S. militaries’ Asia-Pacific strategy specifically calls for stepped up coordination and collaboration with key regional allies such as South Korea, Japan, Australia and others.

In addition, the Navy’s Pacific reblance strategy calls for 60-percent of the fleet to be based in the region and up to 2,500 Marine Corps units to rotate through Darwin, Australia.  The Navy will also rotate four of its now-in-development Littoral Combat Ships through Singapore, service officials said.

One analyst said the Pacific rebalance and U.S. military-to-military relationships with allies in the Pacific theater could be affected by the shutdown.

“Military-to-military exercises could potentially be curtailed but that is not the same things as maintaining alliances which are longer term,” said Benjamin Friedman, research fellow, defense and homeland security at the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank.

Friedman also said the shutdown could have a negative impact on how the U.S. is viewed by key strategic partners around the globe.

“The way we’re looked at in the world is not irrelevant. This clown show that is going on in our country can’t be helpful to our ability to manage alliances,” he added.

While emphasizing that key alliances in the Pacific rebalance require important diplomacy, Friedman pointed out that the shutdown and furloughs at the State Department are likely to impact the equation as well.

“It is difficult to have this sort of collapse of our ability to run our country for reasons that are tough to understand overseas. The pivot to Asia is not just military effort but also a diplomatic effort which is more difficult due to the shutdown,” Friedman said.

Hagel called the shutdown a “dark cloud” of uncertainty.

“Here this great republic and democracy, the United States of America, shuts down its government. The Pentagon, even though we are exempted – our military – has no budget. We are still living under this dark cloud of uncertainty, not knowing what’s going to happen,” said Hagel according to the American Forces Press service.

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Oh, NO!…NOT the PACIFIC PIVOT!…We’re DOOMED!…DOOMED, I say!…
Does this mean we will get the Atlantic Belly Flop.…???…
Hey!, I know!…Let’s do The Indian Ocean TWIST!…
Diego Garcia, here I come!…
Yassuh, that’s what I’m talkin’ about — this FedGov shut-down is the greatest thing since a cabal of Global Banksters fabricated an un-audited *private* Federal Reserve Bank out of thin air back in 1913!…

Yassuh???? what does that mean???

Once we get past the side show of no budget and get to the real issue of cutting government (round 2 of sequestration, $50 billion less money to the Pentagon) it could suggest we just give the USS George Washington to South Korea (because we can’t afford it any longer) and let them defend themselves. Our sailors would come home and South Korea would assume all operating costs.

I also see we are going to station a couple of Global Hawk drones and some Navy P-8 antisubmarine aircraft in Japan. We should charge them full costs for doing that, or turn over these aircraft to Japan and as payment cancel some that $800 billion in our US Treasuries they own.

Plus, they whole issue of recruiting people for government jobs is false. These people would work for the government anyway because there is no other market for their political, diplomatic and military skills and expertise.

…“yassuh” = “yes, sir”, it’s Native Yankee…I’m from N.H.…You know, stuck between Vermont, and Maine?…
We were the 9th State to ratify the Constitution…Sorry about Franklin Pierce. Even WE think he’s an embarassment. Almost as bad a President as Bush,jr…
I’m almost surprised you didn’t ask what “talkin’ ” means…or “Banksters”…

As a consequence, Georgetown University closes. Boohoo, suckers

I always thought the Pacific Pivot is what the single guys got in Subic or Pohang.

Can anybody explain this the the a-holes in the other seas and oceans?

Putin is going to be looking for some “appeasement” in about 5 years.

shut it down. The federal reserves promise to monetize federal debt is a bigger threat to my well being than any foreign “enemy”

Good: Monetizing our federal debt should result in driving the dollar down. In turn, that drives up the cost of imports. Which company is the biggest importer of all? WalMart. And if things get too costly at WalMart, what happens? We start making it in America again — and get our jobs back! Maybe monetization isn’t such a bad thing.

Bad: But, it’ll shaft all the retirees with US Treasuries in their pension portfolios.

Agreed, Taxpayer…and because at least 1/2 of what WalMart sells, is cheap plastic crap that nobody needs anyways…we won’t miss it…we’re better off without it… Seriously.

And to add, either Made in China or in Bangladesh. They can sell cheap because it is cheap.

Diego Garcia?? I always heard it was hot, sticky and everything wants to bite you.

They will probably use that to rebuild their military, especially the fleet.

Wrong pivot. ;~)

Oh no, we’re not going to be able to focus on the largest geographic buffer that our country has? Say it ain’t so.

Well, yeah, you’re right, it is that, but it’s still in the Indian Ocean, isn’t it? The Fukushima Earthquake wasn’t THAT big!…
Maybe we could salvage the Pacific Pivot by getting Hyundai to finish the Gerald Ford-class supercarriers in ROK…or sell them to Taiwan — that would sure tick off the Peking Ducks…

We gave up the Philippines and Vietnam and let the j@ps have their country back so why do we care about the pacific. Except for Guam and Hawaii

First, we STOLE the Philippines from Spain, in a bogus, trumped-up “war” after the USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, with NO evidence that Spain was in any way involved…And, in 1945, Ho Chi Minh *TRIED* to ally with U.S., but we refused, and he went commie to Russia, and China, instead…
Japan and Russia have been traditional enemies, but Russia was our close ally in WW2…
Maybe we should also give HAWAII BACK to the Samoans, or Polynesians, or whatever…
They must not have cable TV yet, out in the wilderness…

“so why do we care about the pacific”

Because the water keeps the zombies away

They should’ve diversified.

Rescue is for banks only, all else is welfare.

Naw, I saw the Movie where the Zombies could walk under water…They don’t have to breathe and the only thing they have to worry about is the Crabs eating them up before they get to the other side…

I knew a guy who had the Pacific Pivot once. It was no laughing matter back then, but I’m pretty sure there’s a cream for it now.

We could just extend the Border Wall between So.Cal. and Mexico, west out into the Pacific, to Hawaii, at least…That would take care of China, and South America, wouldn’t it?
Maybe we should CARE MORE about the Pacific.
And PHP is correct, “blight_”, now there’s hydro-zombies, and aqua-zombies, too…
And what about Okinawa, huh?

I think Obama’s twin cuts of $500 billion totalling $1 trillion will impact the Pacific Pivot far, far, far more than a week or two of gov-mint shutdown.

Really dodbuzz, this is a pathetic attempt to spread Obama Admin propaganda.

Still have the debt ceiling to hit.

Betting the Congress deadlocks when the legislation to up the debt ceiling gets an Affordable Care Act rider attached to it.

You’ll wish you had four timezones between you and the boogeyman when the boogeyman owns the Pacific Ocean.

“Obama not protect our mainland like Benghazi”

Have the South Koreans pay a bigger share to have our troops stationed there. That failing, reduce the number of troops there.

If you look at that part of the labor market, it is ghastly competitive, and there are many more losers than winners. Lots of these folks take on second careers, going into law, IT, business, whatever. And the poor old American Political Science Assocation can’t even protect political and social science research from the Coburn Amendment. So much for our commitment to soft power.

So much for our commitment to the SPEED of progress. If we keep going faster, eventually, we will all get so FAR AHEAD of ourselves, that we will NEVER catch up… Good thing the future F-35 is GONNA BE super-sonic capable…we’ll never hear the end of it…

“there are many more losers than winners”

Pretty sure this is true in STEM as well; though a friend of mine got off the PhD-meatgrinder, went into pharma and then to the patent office (and I’m sure she’s furloughed today). An MS in computational chemistry probably buys entry into more doors than government work…or at least, I hope it does. :|

SK isn’t even that expensive any more. Land mines don’t eat and most of the defense is ROKA. Americans are there to keep the DPRK honest; and serve as a tripwire that send the USN back to the DPRK with shiploads of TLAM.

Edit: Indeed, we should consider moving bases away from Seoul, anything with dependents should be in the southeast, near Pusan. We won’t have time to fight and evacuate dependents once the KPA comes over the border.

Thank goodness! Someone else’s realizes this is simple BS.…a whole lot of dooms day talk just to cover a good excuse to not cut the DOD budget. Now please explain how on one hand we are downsizing our prescience in the pacific by closeing posts in s. Korea but building in places like Australia …shuffle or hustle!

Poole points out, “These (Korean, Japanese, …) people have lives and families,” Then Friedman goes on to talk about how the “clown show that is going on in our country” is negatively impacting how “we” are viewed.
Well guess what guys, it isn’t much different her in the good old USA either. We have plenty of our own people who are are trying to figure out how to take care of their families and are also taking a dim view of the “clown show” in Washington. From Obama and Harry Reid on one side to John Boehner and his bunch on the other, I’ve never seen a bigger bunch of incompetent, self-serving cry-babies in my life. I believe it’s time for a new election.

Our smoke-and-mirrors machine isn’t designed to fool US, no, it’s designed to fool THEM…

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