ISSN 2330-717X

US 2011 National Military Strategy: Continued Focus on Terrorism and Enhanced Focus on China

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Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, released on February 8, 2011, the USA’s new National Military Strategy in replacement of the earlier strategy released in 2004 when Mr.George Bush was the President. The text of the new strategy is available at http://www.jcs.mil//content/files/2011-02/020811084800_2011_NMS_-_08_FEB_2011.pdf

The fight against terrorism and extremism emanating from the Af-Pak and other regions continues to receive priority in the new strategy too, but the new strategy envisages an enhanced focus on China. It says “The Nation’s strategic priorities and interests will increasingly emanate from the Asia-Pacific region. The region’s share of global wealth is growing, enabling increased military capabilities. This is causing the region’s security architecture to change rapidly, creating new challenges and opportunities for our national security and leadership. Though still underpinned by the U.S. bilateral alliance system, Asia’s security architecture is becoming a more complex mix of formal and informal multilateral relationships and expanded bilateral security ties among states.”

It also says: “The United States will remain the foremost economic and military power for the foreseeable future, though national debt poses a significant national security risk. Asia will increase its regional share of global wealth. Though it faces a number of domestic challenges, continuation of China’s decades-long economic growth is expected to facilitate its continued military modernization and expansion of its interests within and beyond the region. Other states in Asia, too, are becoming more militarily capable as they grow more prosperous.”

It further says of China as follows: “Our Nation seeks a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship with China that welcomes it to take on a responsible leadership role. To support this, the Joint Force seeks a deeper military-to-military relationship with China to expand areas of mutual interest and benefit, improve understanding, reduce misperception, and prevent miscalculation. We will promote common interests through China’s cooperation in countering piracy and proliferation of WMD, and using its influence with North Korea to preserve stability on the Korean peninsula. We will continue to monitor carefully China’s military developments and the implications those developments have on the military balance in the Taiwan Strait.”

In a veiled caution to China, the 2011 Strategy says: “We remain concerned about the extent and strategic intent of China’s military modernization, and its assertiveness in space, cyberspace, in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea. To safeguard U.S. and partner nation interests, we will be prepared to demonstrate the will and commit the resources needed to oppose any nation’s actions that jeopardize access to and use of the global commons and cyberspace, or that threaten the security of our allies.”

The Strategy has a single sentence reference to India. It says: ” We seek expanded military cooperation with India on nonproliferation, safeguarding the global commons, countering terrorism, and elsewhere.”

It stresses the continued importance of the USA’s relations with Japan and South Korea for its Asia-Pacific strategy. It says: “We expect to maintain a strong military presence in Northeast Asia for decades. We will work with the Japan Self-Defense Forces to improve their out-of-area operational capabilities as the nation adjusts its defense posture. The Republic of Korea has proven a steadfast ally supporting U.S. security efforts around the world; our commitment to the Republic of Korea is unwavering as North Korea remains a provocative threat to regional stability. We will retain operational control over combined forces on the Korean peninsula through 2015 and provide assistance to South Korea as it expands its security responsibilities. We will continue to work with Japan and South Korea to help improve security ties between them, enhance military cooperation, and preserve regional stability.”

It explains the continued importance of the fight against terrorism as follows: “There are no more vital interests than the security of the American people, our territory, and our way of life. This is why we are at war in South Central Asia, the epicenter of violent extremism. Afghanistan is where al Qaida, given sanctuary by the Taliban, planned the attacks that murdered more than 3,000 innocent people on 11 September 2001. Al Qaida senior leadership remains in Pakistan and intends to continue to attack the United States, allies, and our partners. The Nation’s strategic objective in this campaign is to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaida and its affiliates in Afghanistan and Pakistan and prevent their return to either country. Success requires the Joint Force to closely work with NATO, our coalition partners, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. We will continue to erode Taliban influence, work with the Afghan government to facilitate reintegration and reconciliation of former insurgents, continue to strengthen the capacity of Afghan security forces, and enable Pakistan to ultimately defeat al Qaida and its extremist allies.”

It says further: “The threat of violent extremism is not limited to South Central Asia. Groups such as Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Shabaab, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and others emanate from Somalia, Yemen, and elsewhere around the globe. Terrorists’ abilities to remotely plan and coordinate attacks is growing, sometimes facilitated by global illicit trafficking routes, extending their operational reach while rendering targeting of their sanctuaries more difficult. Undeterred by the complexity of terrorist networks and in concert with our Allies and partners, we will be prepared to find, capture, or kill violent extremists wherever they reside when they threaten interests and citizens of America and our allies.”

B. Raman

B. Raman

B. Raman (August 14, 1936 – June 16, 2013) was Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies.

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