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“Your Future is in Asia and the Pacific”

Thanks Admiral De Mars for the introduction and my thanks to the Naval Submarine League for such strong support of the Force and especially today for its recognition of some of our very best Sailors.

It is great to be back with so many old friends again. I think it has been a couple years since I talked here last. June usually has me heading West vice East and actually, that’s where we’ll be later on this month. But this is an invitation I really wanted to accept.

I have been in Hawaii and the Pacific for almost 5 years now. By the way, I find that doesn’t take anybody’s sympathy meter off the low end of the peg especially here in Washington.

So it certainly won’t surprise you that I am going to talk in clear terms about the Pacific-or more correctly Asia and the Pacific. Some of you-hopefully many of you-may see as self-evident several of the points I’ll make this afternoon. But I thought it would be worth the time to talk about where I think the Navy and the Nation are headed with respect to key and future security interests.

I have picked this topic because I’m not convinced we all truly, and fully understand just how much the world has changed and how our center of gravity is shifting toward Asia and the Pacific.

World has changed

In his book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, journalist Tom Friedman describes the incredible effects of post-Cold War globalization. He makes it clear that globalization is having a profound impact on political, economic, social, and military change. No place is this more evident than Asia-and the Pacific.

Most of this change is certainly for the good. Communications and commercial transactions circle the globe at the speed of light. (The last time I used my VISA card in Thailand, it was posted to my account before I could remember my PIN.) Airline and merchant fleets have opened almost every corner of the world to business and pleasure travel. Our military and those of our friends and allies are significantly more capable than they were just a decade ago, both individually and in coalition arrangements.

But there are downsides to rapid globalization. Broadly speaking, crises affect more people faster, spreading instability without regard to borders, and reducing available time to respond. (In 1997, the Asia economic crisis-everybody goes into the tank together.) And of course speed is an essential characteristic for success in today’s world.

And Geography doesn’t provide a lot of protection. Today physical borders cannot insulate anyone from threats that are both real and perceived. SARS, for example, was a big deal in Asia. While not the result of a malicious act, it demonstrated the enormous destructive potential of a biological threat. Singapore, which handled the outbreak very well, suffered a loss of one to two percent of its GDP. And the hotels in Chiang Mai Thailand, a tourist center with no SARS cases, were essentially empty when I visited just one year ago this time.

Combine these new globalization trends with more traditional security concerns such as North Korea, the potential for miscalculation across the Taiwan Strait or in Kashmir, and a wide range of transnational threats headed by terrorism and you start to gain a feel for this new security context.

Our mutual security interests are linked like never before. The instantaneous nature of the global economy and global information network mean that all of us will collectively and quickly-prosper or suffer together. No nation alone can secure itself or improve the world for others. Our current situation demands a more proactive, a multilateral, and frankly, a more courageous approach.

Asia-Pacific region is changing too

So the pace of change is stunning. And no place is the impact of that change more important to us than in the Asia-Pacific region.

I mentioned a few minutes ago about how our center of gravity is shifting.

  • The CNO understands this-we’ve talked about it many times.
  • Our National Security Strategy addresses it.
  • And our transformational proposals reflect it.

Certainly the Commander-in-Chief stated it early on in this administration when he said” .. .I am convinced the 21st century will be the Pacific century.”

Fundamentally, our future-and especially the future of our Navy-lies in the greatest measure-in the Pacific. So it is time to adjust our programs, our posture and our policies to acknowledge this change. Let me show you why.

Normally I don’t show slides to a group like this -especially after lunch. I promise the few I use, we’ll move through quickly.
First, here’s the problem -walk into any office in our government, and I’ll bet the map on the wall looks like this. (See map).

Now the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which used to be NIMA, which used to be the Defense Mapping Agency will tell you there are at least 6 different primary views of the world.

but even they refer to this one as the standard. The first step in navigating your way through any problem -as we all remember as an Officer of the Deck-is make sure you have the right chart! And typically, this is what you see hanging on a wall, unaware that, as you look at this world, you may be missing some of the facts. Here are some of those facts:

First, there’s the economic piece …

(Nearly 60% world’s GDP in A-P +US region) North East Asia combined with the U.S., alone make up over 50%, and this number will grow.

(2000, A-P + US consume 1/2 world’s energy) Half the world’s energy is consumed in the region, and of course, the vast majority moves by sea.

(Highest economic growth) Asia has the fastest growing economies in the world. Ironically, it is also home to some of the world’s poorest countries.

(Trade partner w/South Korea and Japan) This is recent data and a clear shift. China is now the largest trading partner of two of our best allies.

(Japan, China largest foreign holders of US debt) Imagine the potential here. These folks could influence your mortgage rates.

Then there are the demographics …

(2001 largest populations) This region is home to giant pockets of potential consumers, but combine this with high education levels, and low wages and you have an incomparable labor base of human capital.

(2050 largest populations) And look what experts expect those numbers to tum into by 2050 and the gap between # 2 and 3.

(U.S. geography overlaid Indonesia) Of course Indonesia is the largest Muslim country both from a population and geographic perspective –and both moderate and secular. Second largest population is Pakistan then Bangladesh, followed closely by India.

Political vitality continues to grow.

(AOR elections 2004) This year alone, 14 nations, including the US, are conducting free elections. 35 countries within this region declare themselves democracies or republics. This is good and healthy, but many are fragile, some as young as 2 and 5 years old. But even the non-democratic states (except North Korea) are moving toward market-based economies.

Diplomacy has engendered solid relationships in Asia and the Pacific.
-(5 of 7 treaty partners) As you can see, 5 of 7 treaty partners –and we’re proceeding toward a Strategic Framework Agreement with Singapore.

The Geography demonstrates the maritime character of theater…
– (Coastline) This slide is important because the maritime Battle space of the future is the contested littoral.

(60 % of the world’s sea space)

We all understand the size of this region. Much of it is ungoverned and attractive to transnational criminals. 7 of the world’s top busiest ports by volume are in Asia and the Pacific -adding to the security challenge.

From a Military perspective, the region is home to some of our most significant security concerns…

-(Key Security Issues) these are the conditions that I commonly refer to as what keeps me awake at night. That’s another speech in itself and I think you get the idea.

(Top Navies) As Navies have become appreciably smaller in Europe. The size and capability of those in Asia catch your attention.

(Submarine) We see that manifested clearly in submarine force structure across the AOR

A “New” Map of the World to Consider

promised you at the outset I wouldn’t spend a lot of time on slides, and I only have one more to show you. But before I do, reconsider the areas I touched on:

  • Economics
  • Demographics
  • Politics
  • Diplomacy
  • Geography
  • Military capability

We have a Navy to protect Americans-to the far corners of the earth-our people and our interests and those of our friends and allies. Here is where those comers meet.

And for all of you that have the next maneuvering watch, check with the Commander at the back of the room on your way out. He’s got a new chart for you!

PACOM initiatives

Let me talk about some of the activities we’ve undertaken in the Pacific Command to respond to these changes and lay out recommendations I have regarding what I believe we still need to do.

The first is what we refer to as “Operationalizing the Asia Pacific Defense Strategy.”

At Pacifie Command, like all regional combatant commands, our task is to operationalize our strategic guidance, synchronizing multiple efforts and putting them into action with regional emphasis. So in examining new ways of commanding, supporting and employing our forces we’ve formulated a strategy consisting of six primary elements.

First, we are updating our operational plans. You have already seen some of the benefits of such an effort in terms of knowledge, speed, precision, and lethality.

Second, we are strengthening our command and control constructs to better respond to emerging security threats. Our aim is to put joint command structures in place that reduce overhead and streamline decision-making processes. In this new threat context, success is all about speed of command.

Third, we’re working hard to develop expeditionary capabilities for immediate employment. Both in the Pacific and anywhere else they might be needed. Naval and Marine forces are inherently expeditionary, but they too can be enhanced for a variety of scenarios. Air and land forces are moving in this same direction.

These immediately employable capabilities are being integrated into new operating patterns and concepts. Expeditionary forces, collocated with appropriate high-speed lift and interdiction assets, ensure we can respond with regionally tailored power on short notice.

Advancements in precision, lethality, and the capabilities of our friends and allies provide a great opportunity to improve our force posture and footprint worldwide. Our goal is an enduring posture and footprint that demonstrate our commitment and is sustainable for the long term.

Finally, we’re looking for access and logistic pre-positioning opportunities throughout the theater that allow us to move forces quickly to the location of greatest need. It’s like Chuck Larson said some years ago-around the world, our operational strategy is one of “places, not bases.”

We’ve also proposed what we call the Regional Maritime Security Initiative, or RM SI. It is a concept that we will develop with our friends and allies in the region to deal with transnational concerns. It’s similar to the Coast Guard approach to Maritime Domain Awareness in the U.S.

You’ll remember earlier I showed you a slide stating the Asia Pacific Region comprises 60% of the world’s sea space and I mentioned that much of that space is ungoverned and exposed to transnational crime. The problem is pretty elementary.

Fundamentally we don’t have as clear a view of the sea space, the maritime domain, as we do the airspace. When an aircraft takes off today-we know where it’s going, who’s on board, its cargo, and we know its status throughout its trip. We can’t say that about traffic sailing the oceans right now. And we certainly know that an awful lot of the transnational crime is generated on those seas to include terrorism, piracy, the trafficking in drugs and humans, and certainly proliferation.

So our intention is to consult with our neighbors and devise a mutual architecture that allows willing participants to share information, share intelligence, and construct standing operating procedures, such that each can take effective action in their own territorial sea against this illicit activity.

Both of these initiatives to Operationalize the Asia-Pacific Defense Strategy and to put in place a Regional Maritime Security structure will make a difference and wilt help PACOM better execute our mission and anticipate regional changes.

Recommendations (programs, posture, policies)

But PACOM-based initiatives are not enough. Successful capabilities require complementary policy modifications that need to come from the Navy. And, as you might expect, I have a few recommendations …


First, we need to recognize the Pacific Fleet Commander as the Navy’s chief operator.

He already is, in fact, a four-star Joint Task Force Commander, as the leader of the Standing Joint Task Force Pacific. He has a standing Joint organization, plans, procedures and a demanding training regime. The habitual relationships among his functional joint commanders have been established; they work together continuously thereby ensuring success.

If we believe he is the Navy’s chief operator, we should align key operational missions and organizations to the Pacific Fleet. The most obvious of these is our new ASW Command. The Pacific is the place where we will have the greatest opportunity to test and employ an ASW concept of operations for our future. The mission is here, so too should be the responsibilities.

Missile Defense is another important area for our future. As I survey my plans, sea-based mid course and a sea-based terminal systems are essential to their execution. The first priority is to accelerate fielding of both these systems. The next is to give the Pacific Fleet responsibility for developing our organization and operating concept.

A third adjustment would be to align the Navy’s Network Operations Command to PAC FLT. Obviously the future of command and control and more broadly C4I, is fundamental to our Naval Operations. This also helps us properly, in my view, develop an appropriate balance of span of control between PACFLT and Commander Fleet Forces Command.

As you look at each of these initiatives, you recognize that to move forward with new concepts we will have to do a great deal of experimentation. While the clearinghouse for this properly resides with CFFC and its relationship with Joint Forces Command, a great deal of the opportunity resides in the Pacific. Third Fleet and USS CORONADO did a lot of good work in the past as an operational battle laboratory: We need to figure out a way to recapture that momentum.


A second key understanding has to be that we are going to need to move some forces. As I mentioned earlier, the assumptions on where we will employ forces have changed.

I believe I’ve stated pretty clearly we need to move another Carrier Strike Group to the Pacific that can operate on the same model as KITTY HA WK-collocated with its air wing and funded to level readiness.

We have moved three submarines to Guam-actually two are there now. This is a good plan that Al Konetzni conceived and put into motion. Guam is good, but we recognize there is probably a limit to what we can put in Guam. i’ll leave it to Kirk and Paul as to where to put additional submarines in the Pacific. But what I’m looking for is greater capacity and greater capability.

The reason is provided by the original construct I mentioned earlier, illustrating this new world in which speed is so vital a component. Forces for immediate employment are essential to dissuade, to deter and to control escalation, should a conflict occur

The hallmark of the Submarine Force has been its ability to respond, its uniformly high state of readiness, and its capability-in the current vernacular-to Prepare the Battlefield. There is no doubt in my mind that in advance of conflict and in its earliest stages, submarines will play a decisive role.

You have probably heard me say this each time I have stood before this group. But I feel it more strongly today. As you look at the advances in technology and its proliferation-it is survivability, toughness if you will-in the contested littoral that provides our submarines their foremost advantage.


In reality though, recognizing the shift in center of gravity to Asia and the Pacific is an issue of perspective, and hopefully today I’ve shed a little light on some telling facts. Nearly every aspect of national character portends a future focused in great measure in this important region.

And to provide for peace, not only in Asia and the Pacific, but throughout the community of nations, we must have arches of stability with keystones of credible, ready forces.

Our nation quarries that keystone from a cross-section of America, a cross-section of our society’s young people.

Not with standing the importance of the strategic posture I’ve reviewed for you, none of our transfonnation would be possible without the Sailors that defend our freedom and the families that uplift them.

  • It’s the second class Sonar Tech sitting the stacks and snapping up every contact on an important mission.
  • It’s the third class mechanic that actually understands Admiral Bowman’s hotwell level control system.
  • It’s the Junior Officer that has the instinct to recognize when he is treading in hann’s way.

Those young professionals, the officers and Chiefs that mentor and lead them, and the families that encourage them … they are the keystones of our security.

In a few moments, some, and only some, of our Force’s best and brightest will be recognized before you, and I’m very proud to be here to shake their hand. Each has met the standard. Each rightfully takes his place among a long list of other distinguished Submariners both here in this room and those that have gone before us.

Now … if I can just get them a set of orders to the Pacific!

Thank you very much.

Naval Submarine League

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