Greenert: Navy Advances Asia-Pacific Partnerships
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2012 The Navy is working to bolster existing partnerships and forge new ones in Asia and the Pacific, an initiative that supports U.S. Pacific Command’s overarching goals in implementing the new defense strategic guidance, the service’s top officer said here yesterday.
Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations, told a forum at the Center for a New American Security that the Navy will focus largely on relationships -- rather than a naval buildup in the region -- to support President Barack Obama’s strategic guidance.
The new strategic guidance, announced last week to guide the military through 2020, underscores the growing strategic importance of Asia and the Pacific.
Greenert noted that the Navy will need to review its numbers of ships, aircraft and equipment and how they are distributed around the world in light of the new guidance.
“But my first assessment is we’re in good shape in the Navy where we stand in the Western Pacific,” he said.
He noted the strong naval presence already there. “On any given day, … we have 50 ships underway in the Western Pacific,” he said, with about half of those forward-deployed naval forces in and around Japan.
“We put our best in the Western Pacific,” he said. This includes not only “the most advanced air wing we have, the most advanced cruisers and destroyers, ordnance [and] anti-submarine warfare,” he said, but also carefully screened commanders and sailors.
Emphasizing the need for the U.S. Navy to be “tangibly present out there,” Greenert said it enhances that presence by continuing to nurture partnerships and potential partners.
“There are many out there, and they are growing, through a range of missions that we will have to foster,” he said, some through closely integrated operations and some in a more ad hoc manner.
Greenert also expressed a need to continue dialogue and work toward a relationship with China.
Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, U.S. Pacific Command commander, struck these same notes earlier this week during an address to the Hawaii Military Partnership Conference.
U.S. relationships with Asian allies and key partners will remain critical to the region’s future stability and growth, he said. So while strengthening existing alliances that have provided a vital foundation for regional security, Willard said, the United States also will strive to forge closer ties with emerging regional partners.