Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., questioned whether the Defense Department had a clear vision for positioning forces in the Pacific in his opening remarks Tuesday at a hearing attended by Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, and other top officials.
Noting the heavy focus on Iraq and Afghanistan, Skelton told those before him, including Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, that the U.S. needs to keep an eye on other potential risks, including those in Asia.
“Let me review just a few of the daunting challenges ahead in the Asia-Pacific. The rebasing of U.S. Marines from Japan to Guam is one of the largest movements of military assets in decades, estimated to cost over $10 billion. Yet it is not clear that DOD has fully thought through its plans to support the Marines on Guam, or those remaining on Okinawa,” he said.
“The changes being planned as part of that move affect not only our bilateral relationship with Japan; they will shape our strategic posture throughout the critical Asia-Pacific region for 50 years or more,” Slkelton continued. “I am deeply concerned that the current plans do not address all the concerns that would impact our ability to train fully and also to operate and fight in the region if we must.”
Skelton said that in South Korea, the plans for relocation appear solid, but that “there are remaining questions about how the upcoming transformation of the U.S.-South Korea command relationship will account for the range of scenarios that could emerge on the Korean peninsula.”
To read Skelton’s statement visit: http://armedservices.house.gov/apps/list/speech/armedsvc_dem/skeltonos032409.shtml
Video of the hearings: