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Author: Admiral Samuel Locklear

Title: The complex security challenges we face in the Indo-Pacific (Speech, Kokoda


Date: 15 November 2012




[..] Ive been in command of U.S. Pacific Command for about eight months now

and during that time I have grown in my appreciation of the diverse complexity of the


[] The Indo-Pacific encompasses over half the earths surface and well more

than half of its population. It is incredibly culturally, socially, economically, and geo-

politically diverse. The many nations who associate themselves here include two of

the three largest economies in the world, and seven of the ten smallest; the most

populous nations in the world, the worlds largest democracy; the largest Muslim-

majority nation; and the smallest republic in the world.

It is the engine that drives the global economy. Last year alone there was

over eight trillion dollars of two-way trade, nine of the worlds ten largest ports are

here. The sea lanes here are the busiest in the world, through which pass well over

half of the world's container cargo and 70% of ship-borne energy.

By any meaningful measure, the Indo-Pacific is the most militarized area in

the world with seven of the worlds ten largest standing militaries, the worlds largest

and most sophisticated navies, and five of the worlds declared nuclear nations.
All these aspects of the Indo-Pacificwhen you take them and sum them

togetherresult in unique strategic complexity.

[] Of course how the rise of China and India as global economic powers and

regional military powers emerge, and how they integrate into an established, generally

peaceful and stable security environment environment which in modern times

has been underpinned by U.S. military presencehow these occur will be key.

And adding to the picture a recognition that no single governance mechanism

exists in the Indo-Pacific to manage our relationship, and nor organizations exist to

provide a framework for conflict resolution.

[] Our patchwork quilt relationships in the Indo-Pacific have been shaped

by history, and by our shared interests, and are increasingly driven by our economic

interconnectedness. They range from historic bilateral alliances to mature and

emerging multilateral forums that focus on converging interests and security concerns,

with those same relationships struggling to be effective when their member states

interests diverge.

And a trend where most nations will inevitably shift military resources from

internal to external security matters as they seek to preserve their own access to the

global commons. A patchwork quilt underpinned by a shifting tide of military

resources; as prospering emerging nations, by necessity, they will spend more on

military hardware[].

So [] can we together create an Indo- Pacific security environment that is

resilient enough to withstand shocks and after-shocks that will occur in this complex

environment, all the while maintaining relative peace and stability?

[] permit me to comment briefly on how I see the U.S. role, specifically the

U.S. military role in the Indo-Pacific as we go forward

The keystone of our rebalance will be to modernize and strengthen our five

Pacific treaty alliances, and this work is in progress in earnest [] these alliances

bring with them years of mutual trust and respect, significant interoperability and

information sharing, a common view of regional security landscapes and challenges,

and they provide a very good base from which multilateral relationships can grow and

we are seeing this today in our alliance with Australia, all of which will continue to

underpin U.S. security objectives in the Indo-Pacific for decades to come.

We are also developing and expanding our bilateral partnerships with nations

throughout the Indo-Pacific with whom we have shared security interests. Nations

such as Indonesia which I look forward to visiting so that I see first-hand the

invaluable perspective of the worlds largest Democratic, Muslim-majority nation and

a critical partner to a successful rebalance to the Indo-Pacific. And we will pursue a

long-term partnership with India and support her leadership role in the Indian Ocean

and South Asia. And while modernizing and strengthening our bilateral relationships,

we will also strengthen our commitment to multilateral forums such as ASEAN and

the East Asia Summit. In fact, President Obama will attend the East Asia Summit

hosted just next week in Cambodia, along with his visits to Thailand and Burma, there

can be no mistaking the level of American commitment to the Indo-Pacific.

We will pursue a lasting relationship with China, including our mil-to-mil

relationship. We are hoping to look past our differences and to focus our relationship

on our converging interests, such as counter-piracy, counter-terrorism, protecting sea

lines of communication, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response, to name a

few. We will continue to pursue a military-to-military relationship that is healthy,

stable, resilient, and enduring, and look for opportunities to increase our cooperation

and encourage mutual understanding and trust, while avoiding miscalculation.

Today there are nearly 350,000 U.S. military personnel serving forward in the

Indo-Pacific and with them nearly 70,000 family members, all of whom continue to

demonstrate U.S. commitment to allies and partners. Persistent, forward presence of

our people and their equipment enables our forces to work daily, side-by-side with our

partners to quickly respond to current and future challenges. As part of the rebalance,

with the support of our allies and partners, we are working towards a force posture

that is geographically distributed. In short that means that our forces will remain

relevantly deployed for the 21st century.

[...] Keys to success will be innovative access agreements, greatly increased

exercises, rotational presence increases, and efficient force posture initiatives that will

maximize every dollar spent. And finally, we will put our most capable forces forward

in the Indo-Pacific, to ensure we effectively operate with our allies and partners across

a wide range of operations as we collectively work for peace and stability.

At the top of the list; our most advanced ships and submarines, fifth-

generation aircraft including Joint Strike Fighters and P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft,

the very best air and missile defense technologies, our most proficient ISR assets, an

adaptable and responsive joint and coalition command and control architecture, and of

course, the most highly trained Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines in the world.

[] The U.S.s enduring role, will always be informed by the imperative that

we cannot fail to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. It should not be an

option. Through the tumultuous years of the last century, Americas military served as

a key stabilizing factor in the Indo-Pacific security environmentthis will continue.

During the same year Locklear used the same speech content and area, from
Bollywood to India to also denote the Asia-Pacific and the Indo-Asia-Pacific.