Dempsey in Hawaii for First Leg of Asia-focused Trip
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
HONOLULU, May 30, 2012 The nation’s highest-ranking officer landed here yesterday to begin a week focused on Asia-Pacific military-to-military engagement centered on the annual Asian security summit known as the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will join Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and defense ministers and officials from countries throughout the region for the summit, which is sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies and runs June 1-3.
Topics on the gathering’s agenda include:
-- The U.S. rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region;
-- Protecting maritime freedoms;
-- Deterrence and regional stability;
-- Containing the South China Sea disputes;
-- The armed forces and domestic emergencies;
-- Northeast Asian dangers and opportunities;
-- Submarines and regional security;
-- South Asia’s growing security threats;
-- New forms of warfare: cyber, unmanned aerial vehicles and emerging threats; and
-- Emerging risks to global and Asia-Pacific security.
Dempsey is expected to meet with several of his counterparts from nations in the region during the summit. The Asia-Pacific region, which encompasses India, China and the Pacific Ocean, is a national security priority under the defense strategy President Barack Obama announced in January.
During an April NATO gathering in Brussels, the chairman said the new strategy rebalances U.S. forces toward the Asia-Pacific region while sustaining commitments in the Middle East.
“We and our partners need to innovate,” he said. “We need to move away from our traditional paradigm and take a fresh look at re-emphasizing policies and procedures that allow us to provide the capabilities we all need.”
Since the unveiling of what Obama called an “all-in” Asia strategy, new U.S. defense initiatives announced for the region include a rotational Marine presence in Australia and a new agreement with Japan on troop relocation and joint training.
The chairman told a Washington audience earlier this month that the “rebalance” toward the Asia-Pacific is a process, not a light switch.
“We’ll work our way into it,” Dempsey said. “It starts with intellectual bandwidth, more than anything. We have to shift some of our intellectual bandwidth and start to understand how to rebalance ourselves so it’s not just about our resources, equipment or basing. It’s about thinking, and we are beginning that process now.”