New Places, Not Bases Key to Pacific

As part of the Pentagon’s rebalancing of forces, a significant amount of attention is now dedicated to the Pacific, Gen. Gary North, Pacific Air Forces commander, told reporters last week at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. As such, the United States seeks arrangements and agreements with allies and partners that will allow US forces access to places in the region so that it may continue to operate there and remain a Pacific power, he said. However, the United States does not seek to establish new bases, per se, like those already on Guam and in Japan and South Korea, said North. “There’s no appetite to support new bases in the Pacific, so we must leverage partners and allies,” he said during his meeting with the press on Feb. 23. The recently signed memorandum with Australia regarding a rotating presence of US marines in Australia is a key example of the “places, not bases” construct that emphasizes agility and flexibility, he said.