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U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Transcript

Presenter: Senior Administration Official October 03, 2013

Background Briefing by a Senior Administration Official on the 2+2 Joint Communique in Tokyo

MODERATOR: So, this is fun. Hello, DoD press corps. Very nice to meet you.

QUESTION: Hi. (Moderator)



MODERATOR: So this is a background briefing for attribution to a U.S. Official. Our goal here – you all should have the communique. I believe it’s embargoed until the press conference. Is that right?



MODERATOR: Okay. Embargoed until the press conference. But what we wanted to do is take an opportunity to walk you through what this is, what it means, what it doesn’t mean. So our Senior Administration Official, (name withheld), who for your records is the (title withheld), but here forward will be a background briefer. So the Senior Administration Official will give some opening remarks, and then we’ll take some questions. So with that, I’ll turn it over. And if anybody is not participating, if we could exit the room, that would be great, just so we can keep it nice and quiet in here.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Okay. Well, thank you all. Appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about what, for us, is really an historic 2+2. As you probably know, it’s the first one we’ve had in Tokyo where both Secretaries of State and Defense were able to be here, so this is really an historic occasion, I think by itself symbolizes the rebalance to Asia, the Administration’s commitment to this region.

What I’d thought I’d do is walk through some of the highlights of the joint statement. I know for those of us who write these things, it’s very exciting, but it can probably be a little bit hard for all of you to unpack. So I thought I’d kind of walk through what we see as some of the highlights. Really the theme, the overall theme, of this statement is a statement of how our intent to modernize the alliance, the U.S.-Japan alliance, to ensure that it’s relevant and capable of responding to 21st century security challenges. So – and there are really five things that I would call you attention to as you go through this document.

The first – and really kind of the most important announcement – is, of course, our announcement that we’ll be revising the U.S-Japan defense guidelines. This is the document that sets the framework for roles and missions between U.S. forces and Japanese forces during peacetime and during contingencies. The last time the guidelines were released was in 1997, so there’ve been a lot of changes in the security environment since then. And the idea is to revise these in a way that reflects new areas, new challenges, such as in the space and cyber domains, that reflect Japan’s more active international role both regionally and globally, and also look for ways to enhance our ability to consult, cooperate during a crisis. So you’ll see a long description in the statement about the objectives of the guidelines review. You’ll also see other sections that discuss our efforts in space and cyber going forward. So that’s kind of number one. I think that’s really the highlight.

A second area that I would call your attention to is in the ballistic missile defense area. You’ll see there’s a section that describes our cooperation bilaterally there, and most particularly with this statement we are announcing for the first time the location of the second ballistic missile defense radar. This is an initial – initiative that’s been in the works for some time, but with this announcement we have agreed on a location for the radar. And this radar will provide additional coverage for the U.S. homeland as well as additional coverage against North Korean ballistic missile threats for the Japanese. So that’s what I would say is a second key area from this statement.

QUESTION: Sorry. So your timetable for that from an operational sense?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Our goal is to have it operational sometime in the next year or so, but there’s no firm – there’s no hard deadline there.

A third area that the statement gets into is regional engagement. Of course, the U.S.-Japan alliance is a bilateral alliance, first and foremost, but increasingly in this day and age we cooperate trilaterally and multilaterally. And the statement describes a number of lines of effort that we’ll be pursuing going forward. So there’s a section that describes our cooperation in capacity building in areas like Southeast Asia, working together to help strengthen defense sectors in those countries, improve law enforcement, those kinds of areas, together. Cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief – the Japanese are increasingly active in this area, send their forces around the world in response to humanitarian emergencies, and so we’ll be deepening our cooperation together in that area. And then, of course, there’s our ongoing trilateral initiatives with both Australia and the Republic of Korea, which are really priorities for us as we think about the threats that confront us in the future.

A fourth area – and the statement dedicates considerable time to this – relates to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan. There are a couple of different dimensions of this. One is our agreement on the relocation of Marines, some Marines in Okinawa, to Guam. You may recall that in April 2012 we announced a revision to the agreements that we had in place on this. And what we’re announcing today kind of codifies some of the details of that agreement. So we’ll be moving 5,000 Marines to Guam beginning in probably the mid-2020s. The Japanese government will be contributing about $3.1 billion in cash to support that effort. And we’ll be formally – Secretaries Kerry and Hagel will be signing protocol that formally revises the Guam International Agreement. And we’ll also be releasing a cost breakdown, so sort of a “who pays for what” as this project goes forward. So that’s very important kind of nuts-and-bolts work in the alliance.

Another dimension of the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan is, of course, taking steps to ensure that the presence that remains in Japan is sustainable politically over the long term. So embedded in the statement are a number of areas that we like to refer to as impact mitigation, reducing the impact of our presence on the local communities in Japan. So there’s language that discusses some land returns that we’ll be making in the near term on Okinawa, as well as referring to our longer-term plan for the consolidation of the Marine Corps presence in Okinawa, some training relocation initiatives that we have underway, as well as some other, sort of, administrative agreements that relate to how our presence is managed there. So that’s an important area, the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

And then finally, I would just point to the section that describes the ongoing effort – and this is really sort of a continuing thing that we’re doing, and that is the introduction of advanced – more and more advanced military capabilities into Japan. So this statement references the introduction of two MV-22 squadrons, which significantly increases the capability, the mobility of the III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, the introduction of a P-8 aircraft, which will begin later this year, plans to begin rotationally introducing the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, as well as the Marine Corps plans to begin introducing the F-35 into Iwakuni beginning in the 2017 timeframe. So this is an example as – even as we deal with a complex and difficult budget environment in Washington, we continue to prioritize Asia and ensure that Asia continues to host the most advanced U.S. military capabilities.

So that’s what I would sort of say at the outset as kind of the big highlights for you all to look at, but I’d be happy to take a few questions.

MODERATOR: In the back?

QUESTION: Could you elaborate a little bit more on the Global Hawks? It will start, this says, in spring 2014. Do you know how many? And where will they be – are they going to be joint missions or what?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I can’t say. A lot of the details of that are still being worked out. We anticipate, I’d say, two or three aircraft, but I can’t speak to the location yet, because that – we’re still doing the coordination with the local community as well.

QUESTION: Would be in Japan?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: But they would – in Japan. And it will not be year round. It’s a – it’ll be a seasonal deployment, but they’ll be flying out of a U.S. base in Japan for a period of the year.

QUESTION: Are there any civil aviation problems with that?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That’s some of the stuff that we’re working through with the Japanese Government at this time, but we’re optimistic that it’s going to be able to go forward.

QUESTION: But those will be – I’m sorry – those will be U.S. Global Hawks.


QUESTION: So operated -- inaudible -- everything, not Japanese acquisition.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, that’s right. It’s our Global Hawks operating out of a U.S. base in Japan.

QUESTION: Will they be coming from Guam, basically where the Global Hawks are normally rotating out of?


MODERATOR: Any other questions? It was so thorough and extensive. (Laughter)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I like that -- a little preemption.

QUESTION: On the radar --


QUESTION: -- all little bit more on that, what this -- inaudible -- gives to the United States and Japan that they didn’t have – that they don’t have now in terms of coverage.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. So it – what we found after introduction of the first radar in Shariki is that coverage was extensive but imperfect of the homeland, and so this kind of fills in the gaps of existing coverage. And it provides additional coverage for the Japanese against North Korean ballistic missile threats.

QUESTION: And the location is where specifically?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Kyoga-misaki, which is on the west coast of Japan, kind of the middle of the country if you look at it on a map. It’s going to be situated on a Japanese base. So – and I would just highlight this as a really – as a great example of successful alliance cooperation. This initiative has moved very quickly, and it’s an example of how when we both share a common priority we can move quickly.


QUESTION: My question is on CV-22, not -- inaudible -- but on aircraft. The air force bought some of your -- inaudible. – Inaudible -- the government does not touch -- inaudible -- issue on this – inaudible -- government.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There are no plans for us to discuss or announce at this time about the CV-22.

QUESTION: Sorry. On the radar, on the west coast, wasn’t it more than 10 years ago that the idea was first ‘brought up’?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, you may be thinking of the first radar. We have – the first radar we introduced about 10 years ago, and it’s in the northern part of Japan’s main island. This is a second radar that will be oriented in a slightly different direction to increase coverage for both of us.

QUESTION: Okay. And when did that negotiation start on that?



SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I would say that we began approximately a year ago, approximately.

QUESTION: Delivery in the next five or six months then?


QUESTION: Delivery within five or six months or --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don’t want to specify a timeframe, but our goal is in the next year or so to have the radar operational.

QUESTION: Did I miss this, or is there anything in here about the Senkakus dispute? Has Japan asked for any U.S. announcement or pronouncement on that subject?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That issue is not specifically addressed here. I mean, we – our position on the Senkakus is longstanding and hasn’t changed, and we reaffirm it in every meeting.

QUESTION: And they have asked for – Japan has not asked for any restatement of that or -- change in that at all?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think we have been consistent in our statements both publicly and privately with the Japanese and the Chinese, and we didn’t feel it necessary to address it specifically in this document.

QUESTION: This ISR task – working group --


QUESTION: Is that focused solely on Global Hawks or are you considering other unmanned vehicles?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It’s not limited to any particular capability or system. We’re having a broad discussion with the Japanese about how we can make more efficient and effective use of our ISR capabilities, both manned and unmanned, naval and air. It’s a comprehensive effort. So Global Hawk is just one piece of that, but it’s certainly just one.

QUESTION: Are there discussions about other unmanned aerial vehicles coming to Japan?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I wouldn’t want to say at this time.

QUESTION: Fair enough. Thanks.

MODERATOR: All right.

QUESTION: I just want to ask on cyber security --


QUESTION: We understand that you’ve agreed to set up a committee that can meet twice a year?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. It’s an ongoing working group, similar to an effort that we’ve also announced with the Republic of Korea that will exchange information on cyber challenges, talk about how we can better cooperate to meet those challenges and ensure that our infrastructure is protected. So that’s a priority area for us. That and the space area are really significant lines of effort.

QUESTION: And how soon is that committee going to meet?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I expect that it will meet before the year is out.

QUESTION: And that will be the first meeting?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Of this formal working group, yes.

QUESTION: What issues did you raise with the Japanese regarding cyber security?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We are just exchanging generally information about the challenges that we see out there and then how we can more effectively cooperate to meet the threat.

QUESTION: Would it be fair to say on the side though if that doesn’t go well then all the rest won’t bother?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The cyber is certainly an important dimension of this. I mean, I think really the foundation to all of this is information security and information protection more broadly. So that’s also an important line of effort in the U.S.-Japan alliance, ensuring that our practices, our standards, our procedures are as strong and robust as they can be, because that’s the thing – that’s the foundation for everything else that we do together.

QUESTION: So if there were some concerns that Japan has got a leaky ship and then – unless you upped your cyber and information security then the rest would be a risk?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, I think – I mean everyone has to take seriously the challenge of information security. And so that is certainly a part of our cyber effort, but it’s also wider than that.

MODERATOR: All right. Thanks, everyone.

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