A range of activities with US forces and allied military infrastructure will occur in the coming years as US forces realign to support a ramped up presence in Asia, US Pacific Command boss Adm. Samuel Locklear told Pentagon reporters on Jan. 23. Japan and the US will work together to figure out how Japan’s newly revamped defense policy will affect the laydown of US forces in the country. Once the Futenma Replacement Facility is built, PACOM can begin realigning marine forces from Okinawa to Guam and Hawaii, said Locklear. The US also is expanding its cooperation with Australia, specifically with regards to future Air Force and marine rotations there, Locklear added. In addition, PACOM continues to study “infrastructure that we have with our allies,” he said, particularly facilities in countries where the US has treaty alliances, so it can “ensure that our shared infrastructure, and the infrastructure we partner with them to use, is set for the 21st century.” Locklear noted he has directed each of his component commanders to examine how they can maximize the “force we have today” to support the rebalance.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.