Emerging Threats Won’t Stop Pacific Pivot: Locklear

Emerging Threats Won’t Stop Pacific Pivot: Locklear

The head of Pacific Command on Tuesday said the rebalance of U.S. forces to the Asia-Pacific region remained on course despite the growing demand for U.S. troops and assets to counter escalating threats in Europe and the Mideast.

“The military piece of it is moving forward,” Adm. Samuel Locklear said of the so-called “Pacific pivot” that has been a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s strategy. “I don’t get a sense that we’re backing away” from the commitment to the rebalance, Locklear said at a Pentagon briefing.

It was the second consecutive day in which a top Navy official defended the rebalance that has come into question amid the emerging and potentially long-term crises in Eastern Europe, the Mideast and northern Africa.


On Monday at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told sailors, “The rebalance to the Pacific is real.”

The $3.3 billion stealth destroyer Zumwalt (DDG-1000) that has mostly finished construction and two others on the drawing boards were under consideration for posting to the Pacific, Mabus said.

“We don’t know exactly where we are going to put them,” he said, but the Pacific was a likely choice.

At the Pentagon, Locklear said he backed the push by Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, who doubles as European Command chief and Supreme Commander of NATO, to bolster U.S. forces in Europe to counter the Russian threat against Ukraine and NATO allies in Eastern Europe.

The admiral said he agreed with the general that the U.S. needs to re-consider its force posture in Europe, but Locklear said Breedlove’s needs should not detract from his own in the Pacific.

“I don’t think along those terms,” Locklear said. In addition, “our forces are globally deployable no matter where they’re stationed,” he said.

On other issues, Locklear said he found it “a little odd” that China sent an intelligence ship to spy on the RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) exercises off Hawaii in which four of its own ships were participating. He said the presence of the spy ship “hasn’t created any difficulties in the exercise” which was ending Friday.

Continuing tensions between allies South Korea and Japan on a range of issues could affect their mutual defense, Locklear said, particularly in the areas of ballistic missile and air defense systems.

Failures by South Korea and Japan to communicate with each other could “degrade their ability to defend their own airspace” and “it must be recognized that they are in an impediment to their security,” he said.

North Korea remained a major concern, Locklear said. The desire of the North Koreans to develop nuclear warheads for their ballistic missiles was “highly threatening to the global security environment,” he said.

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(1) We don’t need to re-evaluate our force strcuture in Europe. Let the Europeans defend themselves and pay full price if they’re so scared of the Russians.
(2) With sequestration still coming big time in FY16 and beyond, the Navy just needs to take all its ship cuts against the Atlantic Fleet. Then the math will create the impression of a change from 50–50 to 60–40 “Pacific Pivot” without even redeploying a single ship (which saves us money)!
(3) As far as Europe and Japan/South Korean/Taiwan are concerned, let them pay to protect themselves. They’re all rich countries. Time to end the “coalition of the billing.“
(4) Just give Japan the GW battle group. We can’t afford it anymore anyway.

1) Sounds good. We need to keep forces in the UK, Gibraltar and Sicily. The rest of Europe will probably fall too quickly…we need the Pusans of Western Europe to kick off the counterattack, and not much more.

2) Putting more ships into ordinary or doing FMS on them may not be a bad idea. Ships sold to our allies are ships we can still count on in wartime, so long as they are not sunk or the recipient defects. It’s just a question of whether or not we have enough allies to take all our “surplus”.

3) Japan, South Korea and Taiwan pay their own way. We just like having bases in Korea…forward-deployed as if we learned nothing from using the Philippines as a tripwire in 1941.

4) A carrier would consume so much of the JMSDF’s manpower they wouldn’t know what to do with it. And since they are close to the fight, if anything they need STO platforms. License out the LiftSystem and let the real competition for a no-compromises short-takeoff strike aircraft for amphibs begin.

There is a term of art in politics, the “Kinsley gaffe”.

This occurs when someone in politics blurts out in public something which everyone in politics knows to be true, but which everyone in politics knows you can never admit to in public. And which is immediately defensively disavowed by everyone else.

There was a classic Kinsley gaffe earlier this year, when an assistant SECDEF said about the Pacific pivot that “candidly it can’t happen,” due to budgetary pressures.

She was forced to walk back that comment within hours of having made it, but it’s the truth.

If the United States wishes to genuinely exert military power over Pacific distances, the USA is going to have to spend more money rather than less to do so. It is going to have to put more ship and sub hulls in the water, rather than fewer. It is going to have to decide if replacing comparatively cheap Super Hornets with absurdly costly F-35s is a good idea. It is going to have to reckon with whether Zumwalt-class “destroyers” that cost as much per unit as a Nimitz-class flattop make economic sense.

China will have the J-20 operational by 2020 based on the newest report. It’s goal is to build at least 400, but possibly many more. It will make mince meat out of the F-35. When do we realize that the Cold War is back, but this time our opponents are China and Russia combined. When are the tea party hobbits and President Obama coming to their senses. We need to increase our defense budget by 30% financed through new taxes. We need to restart production of the F-22. We need to double the production of VIrginia nuclear subs and outfit them with missile compartments able to launch nuclear weapons. We need to built a land-based version of the Trident D5 ballistic missile and withdraw from New Start instead of decommissioning our ICBMs 4 years prior to the implementation date as President Obama is rushing to do. Russia will respond militarily to Western Sanctions as it knows that Western Europe is unable to defend itself. Germany had 4000 tanks 20 years ago and now is down to 200 tanks, but what is more frightening is that it is still planning to not increase its military spending. Maybe this entity called the West has failed and deserves to be swept away by the forces of darkness

We are in a world of hurt coming up in the future. When I was stationed in Germany in the late 70’s early 80’s I saw firsthand how weak our military was then compared to Warsaw Pact numbers and capabilities. I think the only thing that stopped The USSR was the threat of our P-2 Missiles. We are worse off now if a confrontation started. God help us 15–20 years from now. Hopefully I won’t see it as I am getting old.. The only way we can control it is to have a strong military with the best equipment and lots of training. This costs money.

As the last surviving member of the Enola Gay crew (who just passed away) said, wars settle nothing. So, what’s the difference between self-defense and warmongering?

Why does the U.S. need to support a navy to counter a country which is building its own navy to protect its own ships transporting its products to its American customers? Let China do for its commercial fleet and the oceans they transit what we did for ours. Which reminds me, where’s our commercial fleet?

In order to achieve the pacific pivot, shouldn’t the budget be rebalanced in favor of USN/USMC vs USAF/USArmy?

At least the USAF could get some of its F-35s in the form of Bs and Cs. Why would the RAF accept to get STOVL planes to operate from the UK carriers and not the Air Force?

@crackedlenses

Agree with what you say, but we can’t afford a large military given our debt situation. Would you rather your kinds and grandkids simply default on the $17 trillion (CBO projects to grow to $237 trillion in 75 years!) — which will take down all military and civilian retirement plans and health plans — because we can’t bring ourselves to stop spending on ourselves — which means less SS, Medicacre/Medicaid, military, and everything else?

@Taxpayer;

“As the last surviving member of the Enola Gay crew (who just passed away) said, wars settle nothing. So, what’s the difference between self-defense and warmongering?”

It depends on what you are trying to settle. In our case, Japan was once an enemy and a threat to its neighbors; now, it is an ally and no longer invading the Philippines, China, etc. I would say that the war and the nukes settled that little problem.

In regards to our navy vs China’s, downsizing our military has never kept us out of a war; it has merely left us unprepared when war came. War is inevitable, much as it has been for the past 200 years.…

yes we can afford to go from 3% GDP defense spending to 5%. That would increase the defense budget by 300 billion/yr or even more to about 800 bill/yr. Simply setting price controls for pharmaceuticals would save the federal governmet 400 bill/year without cutting any benefits. We just have to speak the truth about the threats we face and accept the new Cold War as a reality.

Next, Let the Arabs defend the Straights themselves. They are the most hypocritical bunch of overrated friends of the West. They can pool their money and protect their own oil tankers that bring us $100+ oil, that’s not our job. Might get more effort from the Iranians if they see the Suni really lay their cards on the table for once.….

Then why is Red China ramming-into ships of Viet-Nam, The Philippines, and Japan? Why are they seizing land /building bases on what is not theirs? Why are they openly/publicly boasting that they are going to engage US forces at sea? Why has the Bush & Obumma regimes allowed them to move into huge, former, military bases, on both coasts, seal them up, and conduct secret, ops/supply? Our commercial fleet is a trickle, due to greedy companies outsourcing American maritime jobs to cheap countries, often out worst enemies. Want a skipper job? Go work for the creeps & slum-dog ship lines1

As said before, let The Philippines, Japan, and the ROC lead a team of Australia, Viet-Nam, Singapore, Thailand, Burma, S. Korea, w/ poss. India & Malaysia. Cambodia would also be good, lying at the soft, underbelly of the PRC. Cambodia has tilted West, (you can thank devoted, unselfish missionaries for this), and voted the US dollar as their currency. Most of these nations have experienced ROC abuse in recent history. Have the US underwrite this team, hopefully with US prez. El Bozo & Wrecking Crew replaced by then; sooner the better for all. Confucius (paraphrase): “A thousand hornets will tame the greedy„ red, dragon”. El Paladin

Correction! Within the “Thousand Hornets” post above, should be: “have experienced PRC, (Peoples Republic of China) abuse in recent history”. As a rule, most citizens in the PRC are gracious. Their government is not, save when milking/spying-out ’”free stuff & technology”, from their yankee, Golden Goose!

I think the US should do more to help protect its allies from wicked Russians

China also happens to be the biggest trading partner of most of those countries.

Look at Vietnam and the Philippines. They both face outrageous maritime claims and provocation from China, yet they don’t work together to fight back. They’re also both members of Asean, but that organisation is keeping well out of it.

Why would Singapore encourage China’s wrath just to help the Philippines and Vietnam? The Australians need China to keep buying its rocks, the Kiwis have got milk powder to shift. Even Japan is torn. Its insular domestic businesses are desperate for international growth to escape the effects of a shrinking population at home. How can they ignore China?

In the last century it was the Europeans that start the World Wars (Japan excepted. Some argue that the US pushed them into attacking Pearl Harbor. Revisionists…) Russia just wants a southern port and the Soviet Union back. China is now the monster we created that may fall apart before it can be a Threat. If terrorists get a hold of Pakistani nuclear missiles half the world will glow. Ebola is now in the US. With the potential for global conflagration and pestilence as it now stands, where should we point our diminishing weapons?

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