“We’ve all had these concerns for decades the rising China, North Korea, Russia, violent extremist activities but their scope, volume, scale are much more problematic” DOD

Channel 1 Los Angeles

3/15/2021

BY JIM GARAMONE DOD

The Indo-Pacific has always been a region of superlatives, but the terms have changed over the past decades.

Now people talk about the Indo-Pacific being a “region of consequence,” “the priority theater,” or the “global economic engine.”

For decades, the U.S. military has recognized the importance of the theater. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command covers 51 percent of the globe. The region has 60 percent of the world’s population. The United States and China are the world’s largest economies. The most soldiers, the biggest navies, the longest distances, most endangered and much, much more. There are hundreds of languages and cultures and environments.

China is the pacing challenge for the United States military, and service members must respond — but it’s not the only challenge in the region.

“We’ve all had these concerns for decades — the rising China, [North Korea], Russia, violent extremist activities — but their scope, volume, scale are much more problematic,” said a senior defense official. 

Added to all this is the issue of climate change, which touches fundamentally on many of the island nations of Oceania. Also a problem is that this is the Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide causing volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. Top it off with COVID-19 and the global pandemic, and there is a complex brew of problems and issues.

China, Russia, North Korea and violent extremism are in the Indo-Pacific and operate there every day. The threats are a direct challenge to the mission of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to provide freedom and mobility for commerce in the region, to support good governance, and to deter aggression. 

The best weapon in the arsenal is the U.S. network of allies and partners. Unlike Europe where NATO and the European Union have inured the nations to working together multilaterally, the Indo-Pacific doesn’t have that architecture, a senior defense official said. 

The United States has treaty allies in the region: the Republic of Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

Photo By: Army 1st Lt. Angelo Mejia

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