The administration has sought to limit missile defenses in Europe because of objections from Russia. The Czech withdrawal represents a failure of the administration to back pro-U.S. allies in Eastern Europe, said one U.S. official.
New China strategy
Defense Secretary-designate Leon E. Panetta revealed an emerging new U.S. military strategy toward China that is gaining new urgency as tensions between China and several states in Southeast Asia continue to rise.
In a little-noticed statement in Mr. Panetta’s written answers to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said he is launching a review of U.S. force posture in Asia in response to the “rise of new powers” - code for China.
Asked what specific force enhancements he plans for the U.S. military in Asia, Mr. Panetta stated: “If confirmed, I will review DoD’s posture in Asia and make appropriate recommendations on any enhancements.”
Mr. Panetta, currently CIA director, said he agreed that U.S. forces must be bolstered in Asia and noted that U.S. allies in the region “must remain confident in the continued strength of our deterrence against the full range of potential threats.”
The Pentagon “should maintain an enduring military presence in the Asia-Pacific region that provides a tangible reassurance that the United States is committed to Asias security, economic development and the prosperity essential to the regions success,” he said.
Security priorities in Asia include protecting U.S. territory, citizens and allies; deterring aggression and maintaining regional stability; and maintaining free and open access to the maritime, air and space domains, in addition to countering violent extremism and arms proliferation, Mr. Panetta said.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates also highlighted the new strategy during a speech in Singapore June 4 when he spoke of “enhancing” U.S. forces and alliances in Asia.
Specifically, he mentioned the threat “that new and disruptive technologies and weapons could be employed to deny U.S. forces access to key sea routes and lines of communication,” a reference to Chinese weapons, such as the anti-ship ballistic missile.
To counter the Chinese weapons, the Navy and Air Force are developing “a new concept of operations” called the Air-Sea Battle Concept “to ensure that Americas military will continue to be able to deploy, move and strike over great distances in defense of our allies and vital interests,” Mr. Gates said, without mentioning China.
On Monday, Sens. Jim Webb, Virginia Democrat, and James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs subcommittee, introduced a Senate resolution condemning China’s use of force in the South China Sea.
The resolution highlighted several incidents of Chinese harassment, including two recent encounters when Chinese vessels disabled the cables towed by Vietnamese energy-exploration ships. The resolution also noted the recent attempted ramming of a Philippines ship by a Chinese vessel and Chinese harassment of U.S. Navy ships in the past.
Japan thinks nuclear
A State Department cable made public on Tuesday from 2008 reveals new details about U.S. and Japanese strategic nuclear deterrence, including discussions by Tokyo about developing its own nuclear arms.View Entire Story
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Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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