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Message from the Secretary of Defense: Indo-Pacific Strategy Report

| Acting Defense Secretary | June 3, 2019

WASHINGTON -- The Indo-Pacific is the Department of Defense’s priority theater. The United States is a Pacific nation; we are linked to our Indo-Pacific neighbors through unbreakable bonds of shared history, culture, commerce, and values. We have an enduring commitment to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific in which all nations, large and small, are secure in their sovereignty and able to pursue economic growth consistent with accepted international rules, norms, and principles of fair competition.

The continuity of our shared strategic vision is uninterrupted despite an increasingly complex security environment. Inter-state strategic competition, defined by geopolitical rivalry between free and repressive world order visions, is the primary concern for U.S. national security. In particular, the People’s Republic of China, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, seeks to reorder the region to its advantage by leveraging military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics to coerce other nations.

In contrast, the Department of Defense supports choices that promote long-term peace and prosperity for all in the Indo-Pacific. We will not accept policies or actions that threaten or undermine the rules-based international order – an order that benefits all nations. We are committed to defending and enhancing these shared values.

The National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy articulate our vision to compete, deter, and win in this environment. Achieving this vision requires combining a more lethal Joint Force with a more robust constellation of Allies and partners. Increased investments in these imperatives will sustain American influence in the region to ensure favorable balances of power and safeguard the free and open international order.

This 2019 Department of Defense Indo-Pacific Strategy Report (IPSR) affirms the enduring U.S. commitment to stability and prosperity in the region through the pursuit of preparedness, partnerships, and the promotion of a networked region.

Preparedness – Achieving peace through strength and employing effective deterrence requires a Joint Force that is prepared to win any conflict from its onset. The Department, alongside our Allies and partners, will ensure our combat-credible forces are forward-postured in the region. Furthermore, the Joint Force will prioritize investments that ensure lethality against high-end adversaries.

Partnerships – Our unique network of Allies and partners is a force multiplier to achieve peace, deterrence, and interoperable warfighting capability. The Department is reinforcing its commitment to established Alliances and Partnerships, while also expanding and deepening relationships with new partners who share our respect for sovereignty, fair and reciprocal trade, and the rule of law.

Promotion of a Networked Region – The Department is strengthening and evolving U.S. Alliances and Partnerships into a networked security architecture to uphold the international rules-based order. The Department also continues to cultivate intra-Asian security relationships capable of deterring aggression, maintaining stability, and ensuring free access to common domains.

Advancing this Indo-Pacific vision requires an integrated effort that recognizes the critical linkages between economics, governance, and security – all fundamental components that shape the region’s competitive landscape. The Department of Defense, in partnership with other U.S. Government Departments and Agencies,
regional institutions, and regional Allies and partners, will continue to diligently uphold a rules-based order that ensures peace and prosperity for all.

** Click her to read the full report: Indo-Pacific Strategy Report (June 1, 2019) **

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