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American Forces Press Service

Dempsey Discusses North Korea, U.S. Strategic Rebalance

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2012 – The decision by North Korea to conduct another missile launch is unfortunate and counterproductive to stability in the region, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey took a moment during his travel on his annual USO holiday tour for a one-on-one interview with American Forces Press Service to discuss North Korea's recent actions and the U.S. strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific.

"My thoughts are that the North Koreans continue to be a force of instability in a region while we're working diligently to increase stability," Dempsey said.

"So their decision to do that [missile launch] was very unwise, very unfortunate and I think the international community increasingly sees them for what they are -- which is a force of instability during a time when they ought to be looking for opportunities to contribute to regional stability," he said.

The chairman also discussed the progress made in the U.S. strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.

"Last year, we talked about our strategic interests, globally, and how they would change over time," Dempsey said. "But that's an important point -- over time. This wasn't a light switch."

"And so, as we thought about that rebalancing of our interests, kind of horizontally, this year we're looking at the impact of that vertically," he said.

The chairman explained the three-part, vertical aspect of the rebalancing, "which is to say how much of our force structure is forward, how much is rotational and how much is retained in the homeland to provide surge capability for security issues that we may not anticipate."

Asked of the "gains" seen in this strategic pivot, Dempsey described what he perceives as a gain, although he said he doesn't necessarily view the rebalancing in terms of "losses and gains."

"When you use the term 'gains,' I would say the single biggest gain is we've got this, I think, pretty coherent vision of how our security will be shaped between now and [the year] 2020," he said. "[This is] the first step and that's a significant step."

Over the course of the next three or four years, "we've got to put into place a system, processes, resources [and the] intellectual energy to deliver," Dempsey said.

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