Posted on Oct 1, 2014
CPT Detachment Commander
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With our military focus primarily on degrading and defeating ISIS/ISIL, along with combating Ebola and supporting European NATO allies worried about Russia, what ever happened to our Pacific Pivot strategy? Obviously there are some major issues in the world that must be addressed, but I feel like we are missing great opportunities to partner and include our Asian allies. As the headline implies, we aren't doing this too well it seems.
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PO1 Disaster Survivor Assistance Specialist
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Excellent question!

I think our efforts in the Pacific have long been one of managing and gaining partners in keeping the Pacific a "safe" haven for a multitude of very small countries. It's a slow process - especially considering the large area covered. I'm sure there has been some shift in assets, but that goes with the ebb and flow of our worldwide reach.

I'm comfortable that we are continuing the Pacific Pivot efforts......just not in the news. Boring is never in the news.
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CPT Detachment Commander
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PO1 George M., I think you bring up a great point that managing and gaining Pacific partners is slow and probably boring. I guess with the roll-out of this grand new strategy for the military we would have seen more about our efforts in the Pacific. I keep hearing about China's pursuit of their interests in regards to the Senkakuis and their Anti-Access Area Denial (A2AD) intentions in the South China Sea. I figured we would have heard more about our partnering with Australia and Japan or support of Taiwan. With our government and people getting tunnel vision on Syria and Iraq, I am wondering who is still watching the Pacific.
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PO1 Disaster Survivor Assistance Specialist
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CPT (Join to see) From my knowledge and experience, the Pacific has been a growing issue and reason for the U.S. to stay involved. The U.S. Fleet (Air Force & Navy) had to regroup when the Phillipines decided they wanted to try and be fully independent..and then wanted to charge over 40,000% what the current prices charged to U.S. forces for services, etc. Unfortunately, though the U.S. Navy WANTED to stay in the P.I., but there was literally no room in the military budget for the U.S. to remain in the P.I. - even spreading the cost over several decades or even centuries. As a result, the U.S. started developing new partners in the Pacific - a strategy that was long, long overdue, but poorly developed.

Through quiet diplomacy and hundreds of exercises, conversations, discussions at high and very low levels the U.S. has re-established relations with places like Viet Nam, etc. At present, it's the U.S. intention to have 60% of the entire U.S. Navy fleets stationed in the Pacific by 2020. The F-22 will be a major player in the Pacific and the U.S. Army is now rotating units returning from the Stan back to new/old garrisons in the Pacific.

It's not possible for the U.S. military to curb the Chinese intentions alone - that has been recognized from the early days when the U.S. intelligence discovered China's new military developments in the late 70's and 80's. Thus the U.S. has been working, albeit in a very low-key manner, in developing new partners and re-affirming old partnerships in the Pacific.

Let's also note that the Japanese have taken a new look at their Constitution recently and decided they are going to become not just a supporting partner in the Pacific, but a major player in the Pacific once again - all because of the very Islands you mention.
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CPT Detachment Commander
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I agree with your assessment PO2 Ed C.. Cheaper basing in a more politically favorable climate has become available in Australia. If major conflict ever did arrive in the Philippines, US help would be on the way, but the cost incurred will be higher on all sides. Local basing in the Philippines would have been much for effective for the security of the Philippines, but (as it tends to be the case with most all politicians) the opportunity to make a quick buck beats the opportunity to provide long term security almost every day of the week.
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