Innovation, Access, and Presence

US Pacific Command chief Adm. Samuel Locklear told reporters Thursday that he was executing the Obama Administration’s “rebalance initiative” in the Asia-Pacific region, and from his perspective, this means strengthening relationships and doing some creative thinking about military power and presence. “The rebalance draws on the strengths of the entire US government,” such as policy, trade, and security, said Locklear, who’s led the command since March, during his Dec. 6 press briefing in the Pentagon. PACOM is adjusting US posture and presence of forces in the region and employing new concepts, capabilities, and capacities, he said. “The keys to success will be innovative access agreements” as well as increased exercising and rotational presence with allies, said Locklear. The strategy is based on “collaboration and cooperation, not containment,” he emphasized. Asked about the implications of China’s first aircraft carrier, he said the issue is less about capability and more about intent. “If I were China . . . I would consider building an aircraft carrier. And I might consider building several aircraft carriers,” said Locklear. But the question is whether the Chinese military power can be “successfully integrated into a global security environment that’s a peaceful one,” he added. (Locklear transcript)