The Interview: Admiral Samuel J. Locklear

America's rebalance towards Asia has many talking. The U.S. Navy will be at the forefront of such efforts. Adm. Locklear gives us his take.

As the United States military’s most important and largest overseas command, U.S. Pacific Command, otherwise known as PACOM, covers a jurisdiction that is half the Earth’s surface, 50 per cent of the world’s population and has one-fifth of the U.S. military’s total strength under its command. PACOM Commander, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, spoke to Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe on what the upgraded U.S. presence in the region will imply, including initiatives to neutralize the growing transnational challenges like violent extremism; the impact of the pivot on relations with Indonesia and Indochina; and, importantly, the likely reverberations for U.S.-China relations.

When you say that the U.S. is rebalancing towards the Asia-Pacific, what was different about the activities of PACOM prior to the global war on terrorism?

Admiral Locklear: After the end of World War II and before 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States had a continual presence in the Asia-Pacific. This presence enabled the growth and sustainment of a secure environment that I believe engendered economic prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. It also facilitated the rise of competent militaries that are participating broadly in the security environment today.

Before 9/11, much of the resources of the U.S. military were dedicated to ongoing operations in the Asia- Pacific. Although we did pivot away from the Asia-Pacific for over ten years, we still had assets dedicated to combat operations in the region.
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