Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., ranking member of the Armed Services Committee; and Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., member of the Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on the Center for Strategic and International Studies' report on U.S. military posture in the Pacific. The report is available here [PDF - 2 MB].
"The committee has received the independent assessment of the U.S. military force posture in the Pacific Command's area of responsibility that was required by section 346 of the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. The assessment, conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and reviewed by the Department of Defense (DOD), has been submitted to the committee with the comments of the Secretary of Defense. We appreciate the effort put into this report by CSIS and DOD.
"While we are still reviewing this 110-page report and its classified annex, we note that CSIS raises a number of issues that are worthy of further consideration. For example, CSIS concluded that "DOD has not adequately articulated the strategy behind its force posture planning nor aligned the strategy with resources in a way that reflects current budget realities." This is particularly important as support for the resourcing of major overseas initiatives, in the current fiscal environment, will depend to a significant extent on a clear articulation of U.S. strategic imperatives and the manner in which the investments address them. We agree with CSIS's emphasis on the need for DOD to articulate the strategy behind its force-posture planning more clearly. Congress must also be confident that the DOD force planning and realignment proposals are realistic, workable, and affordable. The report helps to frame the many issues associated with the reposturing of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific.
"In his comments on the report, Secretary Panetta points out that "our efforts to strengthen alliances and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific to advance a common security vision for the future" is essential to the U.S. strategy to rebalance toward the region. We agree. Our military's forward presence is a strong guarantor for peace and stability, and our bilateral security agreements are the foundation for our nation's security posture in Asia. The current and future U.S. military force posture in the Asia-Pacific region is a complex and critically important element of our overall global security strategy as well as a tangible sign of the strong and unwavering support for our allies in the region.
"This independent CSIS assessment and Secretary Panetta's comments will assist the committee in our consideration of these complex issues and the progress of plans to reposture U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region. Congress and the administration must work together to ensure we realign our military posture in a way that is sustainable fiscally, operationally, and diplomatically."