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New ILW publication examines U.S. Army in the Pacific Basin

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare (ILW) has recently released a new publication titled "The Rationale for a Robust U.S. Army Presence in the Pacific Basin" (National Security Watch, 8 March 2012).

This paper evaluates the role of American ground forces in the Asia–Pacific region in the wake of new strategic guidance from the president and the Department of Defense.

Fundamentally, the Army’s role in providing security is to prevent conflict via its ready posture, shape the international environment via strong relationships with partners and win decisively if prevention fails.

There are four main reasons why ready U.S. landpower is essential to the pursuit of American security objectives in Asia.

In the broadest sense, the Army is central to the accomplishment of the country’s four National Military Objectives in the Pacific.

Among its missions in that region today are advising and assisting friendly governments in their fights against extremist adversaries; sustaining expeditionary capability for the projection of power to other theaters; deepening military relationships with key partners that develop future stability and growth; and gaining operational and tactical experience responding to asymmetric security challenges as they arise.

Because of Asia’s diverse population, its substantial number of powerful ground forces and its global economic influence, there are numerous possible contingencies particular to the region that the Army might be called upon to execute.

Precisely because it is impossible to predict the next contingency, the persistent engagement of the Army – long a stabilizing influence in Asia – is warranted to guarantee the peace.

More specifically, the United States is presently engaged in strategic military competition with regional Asian powers.

The Army can help the United States realize advantages in these contests. American capability to deploy and sustain the world’s best-manned, best-trained and best-equipped land forces is an extremely important asymmetry that its adversaries are not likely to match directly.

Such capability is a cornerstone of the deterrence of aggressors and reinforces American efforts to build partner capacity.

Finally, it cannot be forgotten that tensions are unusually high on the Korean peninsula.

The nature of the Korean threat demands a powerful U.S. ground capability, and the United States is bound by treaty to stand by its South Korean allies. Contingencies across the possible spectrum of conflict could demand large-scale ground operations on short notice.

Many conceivable missions in Korea could be executed only by a ready U.S. Army.

It is imperative that the strategic value of U.S. Army forces in Asia not be overlooked at a time when national military strategy and national defense resources are being reevaluated.

This and other ILW publications are available online at http://www.ausa.org/ilw and can also be obtained by calling (800) 336-4570, Ext. 4630, or by e-mailing a request to [email protected].