Readiness and the Asia-Pacific Rebalance

Adm. Samuel Locklear, US Pacific Command boss, told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the impacts of budget sequestration and the continuing resolution have created “significant budget uncertainties” in his area of responsibility. They have the potential to “undermine” PACOM’s “strategic rebalance momentum” since the command’s ability to operate and maintain its forces are “at increased risk,” he said. Locklear highlighted three areas where budget cutbacks will have serious implications for his command: the ability to deter aggression, assure allies, and prevent threats to US citizens and US interests in the ‘Indo-Asia-Pacific.” The act of assurance is heavily dependent on presence—of using forward-deployed forces to exercise, to build capacity, and stay engaged with allies, said Locklear. Decreased readiness due to the budgetary crunch means less capacity and less ability to send forces forward to work with partners, he said. It “will ultimately, if allowed to, undermine the rebalance,” he emphasized. (Locklear’s written testimony)