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Phl-US Defense Relations -The Way Ahead

Phl-US Defense Relations -The Way Ahead

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Published by Gene Gregorio
This paper’s assessment is that transnational threats, energy geopolitics, and environmental concerns will define Philippine-US defense relations for the first three decades of the 21st century. The preoccupation of the US military will be defense of the US itself and control of international terrorism, which will rightly be perceived as more of a threat to world peace than the conventional armies of the major nation states. The US will naturally retain particular areas of special interest, for example in the Middle East and in Latin America, and it will retain an overall interest in stability in the rest of the world. This was submitted to Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes in preparation for his 2002 meeting with US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
This paper’s assessment is that transnational threats, energy geopolitics, and environmental concerns will define Philippine-US defense relations for the first three decades of the 21st century. The preoccupation of the US military will be defense of the US itself and control of international terrorism, which will rightly be perceived as more of a threat to world peace than the conventional armies of the major nation states. The US will naturally retain particular areas of special interest, for example in the Middle East and in Latin America, and it will retain an overall interest in stability in the rest of the world. This was submitted to Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes in preparation for his 2002 meeting with US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Gene Gregorio on Mar 30, 2011
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03/30/2011

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RP-US Defense Relations: The Way Ahead
I. The US as the lone superpower in the next 25 years
US emphasis on innovation, through Research & Development, and onInformation Technology will allow it to maintain its lone superpower status for thenext 25 years. Through technology, the US has reached the limits of the keyparameters of warfare. These parameters are range, lethality, and speed. TheUS Armed Forces, unmatched by any other, can reach further, hit harder, andget there faster. This convergence is a true “revolution in warfare.”Consequently, the US has developed the AirLand Operations doctrine. Itemphasized the capacity to project power over long distances at high speeds. Itstressed the need for joint operations among the different services and combinedoperations with allied forces. It called for “greater scope for initiative” and “greaterreliance on quality soldiers.” Placing time at the center of its concerns, it calledfor synchronized simultaneous attacks and “execution control in real time.”Commanders should “control the tempo of fights.” Finally, knowledge – improvedintelligence and communication – becomes absolutely central to operations.The US Armed Forces place high stress on versatility – the ability of the army toswitch from one kind of conflict to another quickly. It shifts from a European to aglobal focus and from the idea of forward deployment – that is, forces based nearzones of potential conflict – to the idea of a US-based force that can goanywhere in the world fast. In addition, the new doctrine devotes attention towhat it calls “operations other than war,” which, in its terms, include disasterrelief, civil disturbance, peacekeeping, counter-terrorism & counter-narcoticsactivities.The US has a brain-based military. Its supremacy is due not so much to itsmilitary hardware as to the fact that its military bases are laboratories and itstroops are brains, armies of researchers and engineers. Knowledge has becomeits central source of defense and security.It now reaches for the vastness of space to maintain its military supremacy. TheFirst Gulf War was the first instance where combat forces largely were deployed,sustained, commanded, and controlled through satellite communications. Spaceadded a fourth dimension to the war. It influenced the general direction of theconflict and saved lives. It provided detailed images of Iraqi forces and gave earlywarning of Scud missile launches.The US Space Command is 1 of the 2 commands in the US Air Force that aregrowing. The other being Special Operations. In a future of decreased,retrenched forces, the US will rely on space even more. This growing emphasis
 
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on space changes the entire balance of global military power. And that is why theUS will remain the lone superpower for the next 20 years. With no force matchingthis, the US influence on the region and on RP will continue, if not increase, inthe following decades.
II. Regional: Geopolitical importance of the ASPAC and its impact toRP.
A 2001 study by Rand, the Pentagon think tank entitled The United States andAsia: Toward a New US Strategy and Force Posture, recognized the need for theUS to re-evaluate its strategy toward Asia. It reported:
The principal challenge for US regional strategy is to prevent 21
st
centuryAsia from becoming unstable and producing massive conflagrations.
Toward this goal, the US must begin to formulate policies that will enableAsia to develop peacefully and in ways compatible with US nationalinterests.
The US cannot hope to resolve every regional security issue in Asia, buttogether with its allies, it can strive to focus on the larger issues whileshaping the smaller ones so that they remain manageable.
At the same time, the US must build a framework for greater regionalcooperation in Asia.
Enhanced communication and more fully integrated economies will reducemisunderstanding and increase interdependence, thereby diminishing thelikelihood of major-power rivalry and armed conflict. Expanded securityalliances will further aid in deterring aggression.Cognizant of these, the September 2002 US National Security Strategy stressedthat:
To contend with uncertainty and to meet many security challenges we face,the United States will require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia, as well as temporary access arrangements for the long distance deployment of US forces.
Current projects and exercises involving RP, for instance are well within theprinciple of temporary access arrangements for the long distance deployment ofUS forces as well as dealing with terrorism and long-range security issuesdirectly confronting RP and most countries, including the US.The 2001 US Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), on the other hand, called fora reorientation of the US global posture which must take account of newchallenges, particularly anti-access and anti-denial threats. The QDR also raisedthe issue of limited access to Asia. It found the alignment of US assetsconcentrated in Western Europe and Northeast Asia “inadequate for the newstrategic environment.”
 
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According to the QDR, this requires a combination of immediately employableforward stationed and deployed forces; expeditionary and forcible entrycapabilities; globally available reconnaissance, strike and command and controlassets; information operations; special operations forces; and rapidly deployable,highly lethal and sustainable forces that may come from outside a theater ofoperations. The development and posturing of long-range strike aircraft andspecial operations forces that will provide immediately employable supplement toforward forces may create more insecurity. China, however, may feel threatenedand in reaction, develop similar capability.ASEAN members are seriously concerned with China’s rise but remain pragmaticin dealing with the situation. As such, ASEAN encourages the US and otheroutside powers to support it in efforts to persuade and press China to preserveregional stability. ASEAN expects the US to formulate an appropriate stancetoward China’s increasingly assertive role in Asian regional affairs, which mayinclude military actions in the South China Sea and near Taiwan. Strategicdeterrence or containment is the emerging strategy.The US seeks to promote abalance of power so that none emerges as a dominant country or that countriesgang up with other against itself in the future.Without an alternative security mechanism in place, the US presence is pivotal tomaintaining stability in a time of rapid power distribution. For countries withbilateral arrangements with the US, a continuing US military presencestrengthens their own national security. For countries without direct security tieswith the US, the US security arrangement potentially defers destabilizing forcesin the region.In Asia, US force presence plays a particularly key role in promoting peace andsecurity in regional affairs. US strategic interests in Southeast Asia center ondeveloping regional and bilateral security and economic relationships that assistin conflict prevention and resolution and expand US participation in the region’seconomies.In the month following the end of the war in Iraq, US President Bush has met with5 key Asia Pacific allies: Australian Prime Minister John Howard, SingaporePrime Minister Goh Chok Tong, South Korean Pres. Roh Moo Hyun, RP Pres.Arroyo, and Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi. The treatment extended to theseregional leaders reveals much about the Bush Administration’s views of theimportance and potential for relationships in Asia.Japan and Australia are the 2 anchor points of the US security presence in EastAsia: Japan hosts about 40,000 US forces and Australia is taking on a moreactive role as a military ally – so much so that the Howard government has been

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