US Military Power 2012
Report on U.S. Military Power 2012
China Strategic Culture Promotion Association
Chapter Five - Alliances and Partnerships
It is an unchanging theme in U.S. military strategy to seek to establish and consolidate alliance and partnerships which supports the U.S. role as a global leader and the prime shaper and mover of the world. In 2012, the U.S. adopted various measures to consolidate and strengthen its alliances and partnerships.
I. Expanding Alliances from Bilateral to Multilateral Ones in the Asia-Pacific Region, with U.S.-JapanAlliance as the CentralAxis
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton pointed out in "America's Pacific Century" that "[by] virtue of our unique geography, the United States is both an Atlantic and a Pacific power. We are proud of our European partnerships and all that they deliver. Our challenge now is to build a web of partnerships and institutions across the Pacific that is as durable and as consistent with American interests and values as the web we have built across theAtlantic." (Foreign Policy, Nov. 2011)
To build this web of partnerships and institutions across the Pacific, the U.S. has taken the following measures:
First, strengthen strategic dialogues and improve security consultation mechanisms. By January, 2012, the U.S. had conducted two rounds of bilateral strategic dialogues with the Philippines, promising to build more stable military alliance. In April, the two countries held the first "2 plus 2" consultation. So far the U.S. has established regular "2 plus 2" consultation and coordination mechanisms with all its Asia-Pacific allies. In June, the U.S. and Thailand held strategic dialogues, seeking to establish a new type of alliance; the U.S. and New Zealand jointly released "Washington Declaration" for further bilateral cooperation.
Second, follow the pattern of "U.S.-Japan plus 1" and "U.S.-Japan plus X" in expanding military alliance. Japan and the ROK, the two U.S. allies in Western Pacific, were in the final stages of consultation before signing the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and the Acquisition and Cross-Service Agreement (ACSA) for cooperation in humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and exchange of military information (ROK withdrew from signing the documents at the last minute). In order to better policy coordination to tackle DPRK's increasing threats and China's rising military clout, the U.S., Japan, and the ROK announced the establishment of a trilateral security consultation mechanism in July. In February, Australia joined "Cope North"—a joint air combat exercise conducted by the U.S. and Japan—for the first time. In June, the U.S., Japan, and Australia conducted a joint maritime exercise off the eastern coast of Kyushu. In September, the U.S., Japan, the ROK, and Australia carried out a military exercise as part of the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative. The drill took place in waters 100 kilometers off the South Korean port city of Busan.
Third, sell advanced weaponry and equipment or provide military assistance to allies to increase their military strength. The U.S. approved a deal of selling 40 F-35 fighters to Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), and intends to sell MV-22 Osprey to Japan. The U.S. agreed to double its military assistance to the Philippines from $15 million to $30 million. It also promised to provide the Philippines with two coastal patrol ships. In addition, it will share real-time information about the South China Sea with the Philippines and help it build national coastal monitoring center. In June, 2012, the U.S. and the ROK reached an agreement, allowing the latter to increase the range of its deployable missiles from 300 kilometers to 800 kilometers.
Fourth, increase force deployment in allies to maintain a powerful military presence. In April, 2012, over 200 U.S. marines were stationed in Darwin, Australia for rotational training, and that number will be increased to 2,500 in 2017. U.S. bombers, fighters, and UAVs will also be deployed to the military base in Darwin. In July, the first group of 12 MV-22 Ospreys were delivered to U.S. military base in Iwakuni, and the U.S. plans to deploy more than 30 MV-22 Ospreys in Okinawa. In September, the U.S. and Japan reached an agreement, allowing the U.S. to deploy a second Sea-Based X-Band Radar in Japan. The U.S. is also considering regular deployment of P-8s or UAVs in either the Philippines or Thailand to improve maritime early-warning.
Fifth, enhance joint exercises with allied forces to improve joint and coordinated operations. In April, 2012, the U.S and Japan decided to jointly build and share training ranges in both Guam and Northern Mariana Islands for better training of Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and the U.S. Marine Corps. Apart from joint training with allied forces, the U.S. Armed Forces also frequently conducted bilateral and multi-lateral joint exercises with allied forces, fostering coordinated and integrated combat capabilities in close-to-real-combat environment.
II. Cementing Existing Partnerships and Develop New Partnerships
U.S. Rebalancing towards the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific relies not only on traditional allies but also on various partners. U.S. partners in theAsia-Pacific region include India, Indonesia, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Brunei, island states in the Pacific, and China. In 2012, what the U.S. did to cement existing partnerships and create new partnerships is as follows:
First, get India into the U.S.-Japan-India trilateral security cooperation mechanism. In 2012, the three countries conducted security consultations on April 23rdand October 29thon regional security situations, maritime security cooperation, combating piracy, shaping Asia-Pacific strategic framework, and so on.
Second, deploy U.S. forces in partner countries. In June, 2012, the U.S. and Singapore jointly announced deployment of the first U.S. littoral combat ship USS Freedom in Singapore for ten months starting from the spring of 2013. Up to four U.S. LCSs will be deployed in Singapore in the future.
Third, continue to strengthen military cooperation with Vietnam. At the beginning of June, 2012, then U.S. Secretary of Defense Panetta visited Vietnam. The two sides agreed to further implement the U.S.-Vietnam 2011 memorandum of defense cooperation. According to the memorandum, the two countries will enhance cooperation in establishing regular high-level dialogues, maritime security and disaster relief, military medical training, and so on.
Fourth, the U.S. sent high-ranking officials for the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) for the first time. From 25thto 26thMay, 2012, PALM 6 was held in Okinawa. High-ranking U.S. officials were invited for the first time to the meeting, seeking partnerships with the Pacific islands.
Fifth, enhance military exchanges with Myanmar. In September 2012, U.S. held talks with Myanmar on military exchanges; and in October, U.S. invited Myanmar to observe Exercise Gold Cobra; on November 9th, Mr. Obama became the first incumbent U.S. president to visit Myanmar.
To sum up, the U.S. is actively expanding bilateral military alliances to multilateral coalitions; it is seeking to develop new partnerships while cementing existing ones; and it is also committed to creating an Asian version of NATO based on shared values. Yet, as current international security environment is totally different from that of the Cold War era, it is very hard for the U.S. to achieve its ambition.
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