19 January 2014

Transcript of Admiral Locklear’s Speech at the Surface Navy Association Conference

The full text of Admiral Locklear’s recent speech is well worth reading. Thanks to CDR John Bradford, USN for bringing this to my attention.

Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, Commander U.S. Pacific Command, Speech at the Surface Navy Association Conference, 15 January 2014.

It’s great to be back at SNA. I’ve had a long time affiliation with this great organization that I kind of worked in the trenches on this when I was deputy director of surface warfare with Mark Edwards and I think Harry Ulrich and all of us at that time were I think it was in 76, in those days, and now it’s in 96 so I don’t know what it will be next century I don’t know if they are can add any more numbers to that without making the doors bigger in the Pentagon. But this particular forum has for many, many years proven to be a great opportunity for, first of all for us all to get together and remember the good old days and think about the future, it’s an opportunity for us look in our wake, or the [inaudible] in our wake, of course, we never want to steer by our rake but we want to also spend time in these precious days looking into the future and what that future holds. So I think what I was asked to come here and talk to you today was not about fleet readiness and not about the difficulty of sequestration and how the money and the readiness, even though you can ask me those questions because I’m the ultimate consumer of the readiness of the fleet today as a COCOM, but to kind of give you my general impression of what is happening in the Pacific, in what I now call the Indo-Asia-Pacific, of course academics beat me up about that, they say ‘well what does that really mean?’ I say I don’t know, I’m a surface warfare officer, it doesn’t matter I’m not an academic, but what it means for me though is that, as you know that Pacific Command has always been held by a Navy 4-star, it is the oldest COCOM that we have, and geographically it is the largest COCOM. It covers about 52% of the world, my particular [inaudible] is from Hollywood to Bollywood, is the way I describe it. It goes as far north as you want go to as far south as you need to go. In that particular, let me frame for you a little bit about how you need to think about the Indo-Asia-Pacific, and then start to reflect on the implications of that for the future of Surface Warfare. 

First, it is the most populated part of the world. How many people in the world today, about 7 billion people, that’s projected to grow to 9-10 billion in this century and in that period of time about 7 out of every 10 people are projected to live in what I call Hollywood to Bollywood, Indo-Asia-Pacific, 7 out of 10 people. In this area are the largest countries in the world, the most populated countries; China, India. There are the largest economies in the world; 3 of the 4 largest economies are in this part of the world. It is the economic engine that drives the world today. It is the economic engine. Over half of everything that moves on the surface of the earth generates out of the Indo-Asia-Pacific.  And that number will be growing. So we always talk about well 90% of everything in the world flows on the surface by something right? Well that’s true, that has been true for a long time, but what is changing is that over the last couple of decades, the number, the amount of things in that 90% has quadrupled. So every big screen TV, everything that you can go to Walmart and any isle that pumps into the global economy flows in this part of the world. In the South China Sea alone over half of all the energy of supplies afloat everyday move through the South China Sea. I know as surface warriors we’ve all spent time in the Straits of Hormuz, pining over that problem, but the problem is equally more acute in this part of the world as we go forward.

The world’s largest democracy is here, the world’s largest Islamic democracy. The world’s smallest republics are here. Five of our seven treaty allies are here. When I took this job I got asked who are our treaty allies, I won’t give you a quiz, how many treaties do we have, can anybody answer that? It’s about seven treaties, five of those treaty allies are predominantly in the PACOM AOR. And many of them are historic. Our oldest ally, Thailand, 181 years this year, as an ally. And many of them have been brought through many years of working together, some of them respond by things like WWII that left us with a world that needed to be reshaped through those alliances. Those alliances continue to be strong and important in the Asia Pacific as we see it today.

It also is the most militarized area in the world. The most militarized area in the world and I know that’s hard sometimes watching the international news every night to grasp this, because we have been focused for the last couple decades on Middle East centric look, for a lot of good reasons. But some of the 10 largest armies in the world are in my AOR. All of the largest and most capable Navies in the world are in my area of responsibility. Five of the world’s declared nuclear powers are in the 36 countries that I look at. So it’s also a region that doesn’t have the historic mechanisms in place to be able to help you control what happens in the security environment. So there is not a NATO. Think about NATO, we spend a lot of time, and I just came from NATO before this job, I love NATO, and I had a pretty good experience with NATO, but if you take the United States out of NATO, all of Europe is 500 million people, that many people is not even a drop in the bucket in South East Asia, there is a 170 million people or so in Bangladesh. There is 200 million in Indonesia, so you can start to get the scale of complexity of this part of the world means to us as a nation and the implications of what it means to our military and our Navy.

So let me just talk about some of the challenges here. If you think about this Hollywood to Bollywood, think about all these people, think about the center of energy or the center of gravity for our global economy, think about the world’s largest Islamic democracy, think about a general sense of terrorism, my sense of terrorism in this part of the world is that it is a problem, more IEDs go off in my AOR every day or every month than anywhere else in the world. They are just in a larger area so they get consumed by the depth there…


…if we stay engaged and we do it right. But what are some of the challenges? I have a Center for Excellence that works for me, called the HA/DR Center of Excellence, so I showed up at PACOM and said ‘why do I own this thing?’ I mean, it’s one of those admin things you say why do I have this command under me. It was quick to point out to me that 80% of all natural disasters in the world happen in my AOR. 80%. And the impact on humanity because of the numbers of people, where they live, which many of them live in the littorals, a growing number live in the littorals, the impact of these on humanity is significant. So there are veterans here of the Tomadachi, there are veterans of Ache, there are veterans of just probably recently the Philippine effort we did in Operation Damayan in the central part of the Philippines. So the natural disaster piece is not going to go away. The implications of climate change, now there’s a raging debate around the world by scientists and everybody else about if there is climate change, Im not going to step into that argument with you. What I can tell you that the implications for weather, the implications for what is happening in the environment today because of the mass of humanity and where they live, is becoming more and more important to the security environment, particularly the security environment in my particular AOR. That has to be thought through.

Transnational threats. Terrorism. Drugs. Most of the precursors for methamphetamine, which is the drug of choice today, come out of my AOR. And you can’t interdict drugs in the Pacific Ocean. You just can’t do it, it’s just too big. So you have to figure out one of the networks and what/where/how the network is being fed, where’s the money going, where’s the money being farmed, and what are the implications of that money on our security interests and the security of the American people. So we have that.

So we have human trafficking. It’s starting to get a lot more play today, in the political environment, I think some of you heard me show the slide before, another presentation I made a few months ago. $30 billion a year industry in human trafficking, globally, $30 billion. That more than Google, and Nike and Starbucks coffee all put together. And it’s not just prostitutes, there’s child labor, child prostitution, the whole nine yards. And the source of much of that comes out of the PACOM AOR. So we are increasingly aware of the impact this has on the security environment.

Of course there’s competition for food and water, and that’s going to go, how fast will it go, I don’t know, but we’re starting to see signs, over the last couple of decades, that this would be an impact on the security environment. There will be historic territorial disputes, now you can almost read any newspaper any day and get a sense of what’s happening in both the East China Sea, South China Sea, as we look at the historical nature of how countries decide what belongs to them and what doesn’t belong to them as they go into the future. And we can talk more about that during the question and answer if you like.

And of course, there is increasingly dangerous North Korea. People ask me what do you worry about the most, day to day, and I worry about the unpredictability of a North Korea Kim Jung Un and the capability he has to basically, not only threaten our homeland, but put a serious [inaudible] …cataclysmic event in place on the Korean peninsula  which would quite literally disrupt the entire world. The flash to bang for what can happen in Korea is very, very, very short, and so as you think about the implication for naval forces and what you provide and what you don’t provide, you have to think about Korea. I think to some degree we have put Korea on the back burner for the past couple of decades, because we were dealing with more urgent issues. And I think that the fact that we put it on the back burner has not put us in a good position where we are today. So we’re going to have to think through what the future holds here, and how we’re going to manage the future with a North Korea that has a potential to threaten our homeland with weapons of mass destruction.

And of course there is a rising India. Many of you have operated, like I have, with the Indians for a long time, and we’re making good progress with the Indians, particularly the Indian Navy to Navy, the US Navy relationship. We want that to continue. So part of the rebalance to the Asia Pacific, one of the things I was directed to do by the President, was to improve that relationship with India, so we built a long term deeper strategic relationship with them that allows them to have a significant role in the security environment, particularly maritime security environment, in the Indian Ocean, which is again one of those areas where we haven’t paid a lot of attention to in the last number of decades.

And then there is the rise of China. So how will China show up? China is going to rise, we’ve all known this for a long time, in fact we’ve all been, over the last 20-30 years in our planning we’ve been thinking about how will China show up. How they show up as a world leader, how they show up as a global economic power and how will they contribute to the security environment. And that’s yet to play out. But the goal, the PACOM goal, my goal, is for China to eventually be a net provider of security, not a net user of security. We’ll see, we’ll see. So how China and India rise, has to be figured into it.

And then, finally, I would say that we’re seeing the day, throughout the periphery of PACOM, the struggling, the struggle of fragile democracies as those democratic processes and systems have been put in place in some of the countries in my AOR, they are, yet today, dealing with how to properly use democracy and to align their governments and their security apparatuses in a way that allows them to live through democratic reforms that their countries are going through today. So we’re watching that.

And I guess that just as importantly the challenges that we have in the Pacific AOR, is what is the US role going to be this century? How are we going to be involved here? I think that the President, in fact I know because we made the recommendation to him when he signed out his strategy in 2012 which articulated the pivot so to speak, right, pivot to the Asia Pacific, and the underlying thing behind the whole pivot is that after two decades of really difficult work in the middle east, we have to look globally at where our long term national interests, so where are children and grandchildren’s, where are their interests going to be most important. And the continuing vector, the consistent vector, is in the long term is to make sure we get it right in the Asia Pacific. So this is what has led to the pivot and the initiatives about the pivot, and the initiatives inside the US Navy that have led to that.

So, are you trying to tell me something by turning those lights off? (laughter) Ok. So let’s look a little bit at our wake …[inaudible] …in the PACOM AOR. So the surface Navy has had FDNF for a long time, right? Wings, Navy, Marine Corps team. I asked my staff the other day to tell me how much the presence in FDNF had changed over time. You know, go back 30 years and tell me how much it had changed. And the answer was it hasn’t changed much. It’s within a couple of percentage points, it’s about the same over time. And that’s fine, they’ve done great work. We put our best ships forward, our best submarines, our best amphibs, I think that we have pushed readiness in the direction of FDNF in a way that has allowed them to realize a significant amount of success over those years. But it’s not the same neighborhood as it was 20, 30 years ago. It’s a different neighborhood, and it’s changing. And during that time, though, the service Navy has been the backbone of maritime security in this AOR. It has been the backbone. Now all the joint services come together, but on a day to day basis if you think about my AOR, just the Pacific Ocean alone, what’s the largest object on the face of the earth? It’s the Pacific Ocean. And if you looked at it, you could take all the continents, all the land masses in the world, and jam them in together, just pack them together, and you could put them right in the Pacific Ocean and still have room for two more continents, a North American and an Africa. That’s how big just the Pacific Ocean is, and then you add the Indian Ocean together and it just starts to, just really starts to be amazing. So the surface Navy has been, I think, a tremendous supporter, leading the way in a number of areas. One of those would be in missile defense. In my previous jobs I advocated pretty hard for the Navy to get into the BMD, in the right way, and I’m not a BMD expert, but I think that I had good council from many of you in the room, that we needed to up our game and how we did it. And how we played in it, and we’ve done that. We’ve done that. And in fact, in every scenario you see that the central piece of the most reliable piece of our BMD architecture lies on board the ships that are manned and equipped by the United States Navy and run by the young men and women that run our fabulous ships. So we’ve done well there. We’ve successfully adapted those ships to an ever-changing security environment, we’re seeing a proliferation of very quiet diesel submarines throughout this AOR. We’re seeing the proliferation of higher higher levels of technology in cruise missiles and ballistic missiles and you pick it, it’s just escalating in almost every area. And thus far, we’ve been able to match that and our Arleigh Burkes have been really the work horse of that. There’s a tremendous, you think about it, a tremendous success in those Arleigh Burke ships, through how many years of constructions, how many flights, and their ability to continually be adapted to the scenarios that we’re seeing brought forward. So I think you have to give the surface Navy pretty high marks for that. Our mine forces that we put there, I think have remained relevant. And the introduction of the Littoral Combat Ship, I applaud the surface Navy for taking the chance to push that Littoral Combat Ship early. Now, early is relative.

I like to tell the story, a few years ago, Admiral Meyer, he was here in Crystal City, he would routinely call some of us over for council. I think I was a one-star at that time. And he would call you into the room and you’d have this dialogue about the Navy, and how he felt about the Navy. And in one particular one of my come-arounds he said to me, let me tell you about the 17-year locusts. I said, what’s the 17-year locusts.  He said the 17-year locusts, he said, that’s how long it takes the United States from the time you think about a ship until it becomes operational relevant, 17 years. I said I don’t believe it. So I started going back and I started calculating it, and he’s about right. So we, the Navy, we, the surface Navy, we start off down the road of the Littoral Combat Ship and we said we’d do this in how many years, about 7, 8, 4, then we said 7, then we said 8, then we said 9, and we did do better. But we didn’t do a whole lot better, by my calculations, as I think back on it, when I was with Zimbrowski  in… [inaudible]… back when I was an aide to the Vice Chief, back in about 1998, I happened to be in a room where they were talking about this ship. This ship is going to be Streetfighter. Remember that? And that quickly morphed into something we had Streetfighter, because I think that sounded a little too angry I think for the trade magazines, but it went to Streetfighter. So that was 1998, so about was the time about the genesis of the thinking about what Littoral Combat Ship was going to be; it was going to be fast, it was going to be in littorals, it was going to be multi-mission, it was going to be reconfigurable, you’d have a small crew, it was going to be all these things. That’s 1998, so here we are, 15 years, 16 years, so you have really the first LCS ship in 17 years. That has shown up a whole different concept, and a lot of different aspects of things that are going to make it, I think, a key player in the security environment in the world that I deal with which has got a lot of littorals, and a lot of interesting things going on in that.

So, lets take a look forward, so as we go forward, what is going to remain constant for surface warfare? Well, the world is not going to get any smaller. It’s getting smaller in other domains, cyber domain, I guess you can say there air domain is getting smaller, but in our domain it’s not going to get any smaller. So you have to be there to be relevant. Having forces that are forward, having forces that are rotationally forward, having forces that can sustain themselves forward and be there is important for surface warfare. So I encourage us to resist any urge we have at all to sequester ourselves in some quiet home port somewhere, because our relevance will diminish, because you can’t get there fast enough. Because the world today, the warfare of the world today is going to move too fast and the surface Navy of the future has got to be on station, has got to be well trained, has got to be ready to do what it takes.

So, what else is going to remain the same? Distance will be a tyranny, logistics will remain a tyranny. We already see that we have the smallest Navy since 1916, in numbers, the smallest Navy. Capable Navy, is it big enough? My testimony says it’s not. Some in this room may disagree, I say it’s not big enough. It’s not big enough for the world we’re in, the way we deploy ships today, and the emerging security environment. With that said, it is going to be one of the things remaining constant, because we are going to struggle to maintain numbers, because of the implications of our budget, the implications of our industrial base, and our own proclivity to want to take 17 years to build ships. That gets expensive and it takes time. So that’s going to remain a constant I think. But more important I think what will remain constant is the importance of competent, well trained, and well led people. Competent, well trained and well led people. Because in the end, we can stack up all the great Arleigh Burkes, and all the great amphib ships, and all the great LCSs and put them on the end of the pier, and there will be a stack a mile high but it won’t matter if you don’t have young men and women that can make them work. And make them work in an increasingly difficult environment, increasingly challenging environment a long ways away from our homeland.

(26:56) So, what is changing? Our historic dominance, that most of us in this room have enjoyed, is diminishing. No question. So let me say it again. Our historic dominance, that most of us in our careers have enjoyed, is diminishing. Some of this is because of what we were able to do. We as a nation provided a security environment, particularly in the Asia Pacific area that allowed the rise of nations, that have allowed the rise of economies, that has allowed these economic miracles that are happening in some of our allies and partner countries. And this has generated wealth and has generated democracies, has generated perspectives on security, and has caused those nations to want to pursue [inaudible] …their own security mechanisms. When they do that, they take money and they buy, and they invest in resources to buy defenses. And so it’s not unusual for us to… [inaudible]… I know, it’s going to be a highlight that our dominance is diminishing. But it’s something we have known was going to happen, and we have to expect to continue to happen. So, what does that mean? Well it means that, the future generation of surface warfare officers have got to think, to pay more particular attention to the ability to show up on the scene and be lethal and be dominant. Lethal and dominant. And to bring all the right aspects of information technology and warfare technology and all the things that our country can produce for us and be able to show up and be lethal and be dominant. We have to come to grips with those areas that we know we have vulnerabilities in. We have to come to grips with them. And we can’t wish them away, we can’t wish them into the next generation, there are some of those areas where we have to think hard about where we are being challenged by technology, and what is our answer to that. Now every great generation, and this generation of Naval officers sitting here is as great as any one that has ever been, has acknowledged those challenges and then stepped up to them. The Wayne Meyers of the world, the Hank Mustins of the world, I could go on and just name them, those who said ‘hey, we have an area here where we need to focus, we need to get after it’ and the technology was found and the resources were put in place. So I just say we need to think about this. We need to think about it. But I’m proud of the readiness of the ships today. And I’m proud of the readiness that our surface warfare leadership has been able to provide and produce, particularly in this period of time that we’ve gone through with the budget issues and the sequestration. So from where I sit, as a PACOM Commander, we have about as ready a force, with great ships, as I’ve seen in a long time. Now I hope that we continue that, but having good readiness is only one part of the equation. When you show up to the future fights, that we envision the future warfare scenarios, security scenarios that we envision for the 21st century, many of them could emanate out of the PACOM AOR. We also have to show up and be relevant.  To be honest with you, our lack of urgency on the development of the next generation of surface launched over the horizon cruise missiles is troubling. We’re behind the mean. And we need to think about that. We need to think about what is surface warfare’s role in other than defensive operations. As a PACOM Commander, I need you to be thinking, in the offensive mode. I need you to be thinking, how are you going to show up, how are you going to be dominant, how are you going to be lethal. And that requires you to think about all scenarios, not just the ones that we’ve been dealing with in the last several years where we have enjoyed the basic air superiority, basic sea superiority. There are places in the world where, in this century, you won’t have that. And when these magnificent two billion dollar war ships show up, they are going to have to be dominant. They are going to have to have the tools to be dominant. We also have to look and embrace the value of asymmetric capabilities that we bring. We have to continue to pursue unmanned systems. They do bring a tremendous asymmetric advantage to me, to commanders like me who have to deal with increasingly complex scenarios. Things like offensive mining need to be thought about. We haven’t talked about a mining for a long time. In fact it becomes a, sometimes it becomes a stepsister to our dialogue in surface warfare. But surface warfare community in my view has to embrace the mine community, has to embrace this as an asymmetric knowledge, a defensive capability, as an asymmetric capability that allows us to be dominant in a battlespace. [inaudible] …that we may not always be dominant in when we enter.

High-speed lift. It’s important to me. How do you get things around faster? This is a surface warfare equity. How do you use the systems that you have, the existing systems you have, in different ways. I think that we’ve shown that to be true with our Aegis systems, and our ability to convert those to ballistic missile defense platforms. We have a wide array of great systems that need to be transitioned into the next century, and have to bring those capabilities that make them relevant, into the battlespace of that century.

And then we have to unleash the incredible innovation of the force. You have to make sure that inside of our self-talk and the way we lead our own people, that we’re allowing the future generation to tell us how to best do these things. And they’re the ones who are going to tell us, it’s not guys in the front row here, it’s the young lieutenants, and the young lieutenant commanders and the young chiefs and first class petty officers who are going to say ‘hey this is a way to do this’ and we have to ensure that we continue to have a force that’s vital. I think we do today. I see if from a PACOM Commander, I think you’re pretty healthy. But I say we have to stay after that. And then for all of you who have the next big idea. That’s what we’re all waiting on. So what’s next, what’s next? So now we’ve got the Littoral Combat Ship that’s going to roll in, that’s got a place in the battlespace, who’re going to have a legacy for us of DDGs and cruisers are going to transition out and amphibious force is going to be modernized at whatever pace, but what is the next big idea for surface warfare? What’s the next big idea?

Let me close by saying I think that you all should think about as you think about both from an industry perspective and a surface warfare leadership perspective, you need to start bringing the calculus of the Indo-Asia-Pacific more into your thinking about what it means for the future of the Navy. What it means for the future of the surface warfare Navy. I mean, this is your plum to pick, ok, it’s your plum to pick, because there are so many opportunities for surface warfare in the battlespace, it could be defined by the challenges that are in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.  And embracing those in your procurement and embracing those in your training and embracing those in your future outlook, I think is critical to the success not only of the surface Navy, but of our US Navy, our US policy, and the interest of the US American people. So to that, let me stop and see if there are any questions.



Q: SYDNEY FREEDBERG, BREAKING DEFENSE: I wanted to pull on one thing you’ve said that I’ve heard other places that, the offensive capability of the surface fleet is something that we really have to look at. And for that matter, the submarine fleet, because in some ways you’ve unilaterally disarmed over the long range anti-surface weapons. We have a lot of land attacks, we have a lot of air and missile defense, but… [inaudible]… in defending the carrier and defending the homeland and not so much on striking enemy ships at sea. How does the surface Navy get more in that game? Is the job of the surface ships to be on the defense and the offense has to be the subs going forward because they are more stealthy and survivable?

A: I’ve never wanted to enter any tactical scenario where all I had was a defensive capability. Because it’s a losing proposition. I mean you will eventually defend yourself until you are dead, and that’s not the goal I think of a powerful surface warfare capability. So if you go back, to a time when I was starting out this business, it was surface warfare I think that basically introduced the tomahawk weapons system. It was surface warfare that put harpoons on our ships, which became the standard for anti-ship attack missiles throughout the world, they still are in some cases standard. And the question is ‘what’s next?’ And do we choose as a surface warfare Navy to be on the front edge of that offensive capability and you have successive PACOM Commanders who said to the Navy, to surface warfare community that you need to be on the front of that. We need you on the front end of it. It’s not a question of seeding the battlespaces, plenty of battlespaces to go around for every community, what I need is I need surface warfare on the front end with capabilities that allow them to be dominant and lethal when they show up in an increasingly difficult, increasingly challenging potential battlespace.

Q: MICHAEL RODNEY, DEFENSE NEWS: Whether or not the United States was ceding to some China’s demands, both territorially and those in terms of zone operations anywhere near its ships. And my question, here’s an example, they said ‘we’ve got training areas, they’ve got training areas, we don’t like people loitering in our training areas, and once upon a time we used to plant ourselves in with every single one of the Soviet Union’s training areas in every possible way we could’, danger ranger and all of that stuff that was going on. Are we to an extent ceding to some of their territorial claims whether it’s for the ADIZ or zones around their ships?

A: Well that’s a great question and let me start by saying I think that I would disagree with any comparison of the containment strategy we had with the Soviet Union against what we are doing or should do with the Chinese. So that was a much different kind of containment, perspective is a different thing where we were going to do versus what we do today. So I think that as the Chinese military gets bigger, as the Chinese have global economic aspirations, as they have regional defense aspirations, [inaudible] …there has to be an expectation that they are going to be out and about more. For me, that’s ok. The question is how are they out and about. And the question is whether or not they’re conforming with normal standards of navigation, normal standards of rule of law, normal standards of international law, are they conforming with the basic aspects of the law of the sea convention, and how are they behaving. So that’s really the question. So the question of whether we are ceding, I’m not sure what there is to cede. We operate in international water space, in international air space, they have the right to operate in international water and air space, we don’t want them or anybody else compelling us or try to compel us to change what’s best for our national interests and I would expect them to say the same thing to me. So there’s no plan to cede anything. There’s, hopefully, a way ahead, like I said earlier, that China emerges as a net provider of security [inaudible] …we can go down the path of making it difficult for them to operate in their own waters, if that is what we choose to do, I’m not sure, we’d have to have a reason for that, I can’t think of what that would be right now, but it isn’t that we’re ceding anything. Or the other choice is that we could move on a path of containment and I can’t understand what the rational for that would be at this point in time. Now, should it really be necessary in the future, I’m not speculating on that . But I think for the here and now where we are, that there has to be some desire, recognition to allow the Chinese to come into the security environment as a productive member of that environment. So this is why we are maintaining a rigorous dialogue with them. It’s not to cede to anything, it’s to try to make sure that they understand how we feel about it. It’s better to have that in dialogue than to have ships captains and young lieutenant commanders out there on the South China Sea and East China Sea trying to figure this out on the fly. So I think we should be more optimistic about the future with China. It doesn’t mean we should be Pollyannas either, we should just be optimistic.

Q: TONY CAPACCIO, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Your After Action Report that you commissioned on the Cowpens incident to get a sense of whether the US was maybe acting provocatively there or the Chinese were reacting, more importantly going forward, did the incident trigger any kind of outreach to the Chinese Navy to improve command and control communications in that part of the world?

A: Well Tony I can assure you that anything that happens in the PACOM AOR that has a negative interaction between two powers like that would have a pretty thorough investigation by both Harry Harris, the PACFLT Commander, and me. So we took a hard look at [inaudible] …that to kind of get to where it got to. In the end, the bottom line problem here is that there is to make sure that all parties of the world understand as well as the Chinese, is that we operate freely in international waters. Period. And that, we will respect, we will act professionally, we will act respectfully, that we will act not in a dangerous way unless necessary, in that we expect that from other navies as well. And to that, to answer the second part of your question, that has been directly conveyed between the US, the US Navy, and the PLA Navy. And so they’re aware of how we feel about, they’re aware of our perspectives, their perspectives, we’re aware of theirs.

Q: TONY CAPACCIO, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Can you give us a sense of why it happened, some of the factors broadly?

A: Well, I think the why it happened, number one it was an out of area deployment for their carrier, so they haven’t done that before, and we operate throughout the region, wide and far, they don’t. So they ended up in a place where they don’t normally operate, they ended up operating their new platform in a way that, we all watch each other, we all watch what we’re doing, so there is a certain amount of that watchfulness, I believe that there was a level of experience, lack of experience, on some of their smaller ships and I think we have to understand that for now. Our COs operate globally, they know how to manage across, maneuvers and scenarios. I mean, this is what we do. Our PLA counterparts are just starting to do this. I mean they are just now doing out of area deployments in the Gulf of Aden. So whenever these interactions occur I think that we have to account for their maturity level of their ability to understand what we are doing and be able to understand and how you articulate it. I think we also have to think through things like [inaudible] …whether we pick up their bridge-to-bridge phone, which I’ve don’t a bazillion times, what language do I speak? I speak English. I don’t speak Chinese, I don’t speak Japanese, all I speak is South Carolina English. When they pick up their phone, what do they speak? They speak English. And you don’t know how that translation comes across, so I think there’s, you have to be thoughtful about these interactions and all the things that will grow into a successful outcome of that interaction versus a negative outcome. So one of the things we are doing this year is to bring the PLA navy to RIMPAC, [inaudible] …so we would bring a group of 21, 22 nations coming to Hawaii. We will be able to assimilate them into some of these parts of RIMPAC so they can start to sense how this is done, multilaterally, multi-nationally, and we’ll get a sense of where they need to work, where they need work. I think it will be, or we’re hoping, it will be a positive experience for maritime security throughout the PACOM AOR.

Q: LT BRIAN HARRINGTON: Going along the same lines of developing China as a security provider, how important do you see their role in achieving a desirable outcome to the challenges we face with North Korea and what are we doing to foster that cooperation beyond RIMPAC in getting them involved with a desirable outcome for North Korea and what would you see as desirable end state for North Korea?

A: Well our desired end state for North Korea is, short term is complete denuclearization. So that’s the U.S. position, that is the position of everyone of you in uniform, and that’s where we’re going. We just cannot afford to have a nation like, a regime like that that’s increasingly, developing increasingly capable missile technology, that’s pursuing increasingly WMD capabilities, that would hold our country and other countries on the globe to threat.  So I guess you have to ask the Chinese how they feel about what their role is to get their real true perspective. But I can tell you that, from where I sit, they play a, they should play, and I think are playing an increasing role in being able to help us understand, and to get to a, hopefully a better end state with North Korea. So they do have a roll in it. One of the problems I think is that the Chinese over time have suspected US intentions in the Korean peninsula; they’ve been more worried about that than they’ve been worried about Kim Jung Un and his father and his grandfather’s regime. So over time, my sense is that may be shifting. I think that they are continually less concerned about what US intentions are in the region, even though the media on any given day would have you think differently, but that they are increasingly less concerned about that because I think that, they may not like everything we do, certainly they don’t and they tell us what those things are, I think there’s a growing understanding that a compatibility between superpowers has to be reached. Because it’s in our own best interests. And that the Korea problem is one that is going to be, is so catastrophic if it’s not managed properly from both the South Korea, the international community, and for China as well. So they have a lot of interest here.

Q: CDR ROB THOMPSON, NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY: You spoke earlier about the potential increased use of unmanned systems in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, I’m curious what role you see for unmanned maritime systems, and as a combatant commander, how you can see those warfare concepts developing. In addition to that your experience as a requirements person, what challenges and advice you might have to get some of these new innovative systems that don’t fit into our current [inaudible] …system fielded and funded.

A: I think if you go to any of our, DARPA, go to any of our compartmented end of our surface warfare, other communities, you will see a host of CONOPS that can be used with unmanneds. I mean, submarine community, surface warfare community, pick one, mine community, the places where they’d come into play; aviation, so I think it’s pretty obvious to me that the value of having unmanneds in a place where you will have a contested environment.

To your second question, my experience has been that these ideas spawn down here in some part of the organization, the OPNAV, N86, N96 organization, they kind of spin down here and wise leaders like the ones in the front row, they throw a little money over there and they say we’ll see how that works for a while, they’ll run back and say I’m really excited about this they say we’ll throw a little more money in on it, right, and then it will go over to ONR and ONR will say well I’m interested in that and they’ll throw a little money in on it, and then this thing is just kind of sitting out there and looking pretty good, right, so now you say ok, lets transition that baby up to a programmer record, into a budget that is completely jam packed with every other program there is. So a good resource officer, in the Pentagon, is one that can nuclear harden their program. So that when money goes in, money can never come out, that program is so strong that nothing can get inside that baby right? And the same for when it gets over into the PEO office and PM’s office, man that’s my money, nothings getting it out of there. There’s only so much money, so transitioning those programs to ones that can then mainstream and replace something else, cause that’s where we’re at, it’s got to replace something else, is a difficult task. And what it requires is people like you in the audience, that says no, we can’t do this tomorrow, we have to worry about tomorrow. We have to put this capability in there, and they’re out there. So transitioning them into a program of record, that’s the hard part. Once you do that, then you nuclear harden that baby, then you try to keep anybody from taking money out of it as well. But in the end you end up with great ships, and a great Navy.

Q: OLGA BELOGOLOVA, INSIDE THE NAVY: I wanted to ask, as Japan seriously considers a revision to its constitution, what kind of considerations are there in terms of what kind of weapons systems the US will need and what kind of support it will get from the potential future Japanese military, growing military.

A: Well, the Japanese alliance is really the cornerstone of US security posture in north-east Asia. It has been for a long time. And that alliance has had a history from what we had to do to Japan, what we felt we had to do to Japan at the end of World War II, until today. And I think we’re in a historic year with Japan. Japan will this year, are setting up national security structure. That’s a big deal. That means they’re trying to think more holistically about how they’d make security decisions, that’s great. They’ll go through a defense planning guideline with you this year which is what lays out what… [inaudible] …what’s in their defense, and what, under part of the alliance underlies that and backs it up, and what we can count on in the future. They are increasingly capable. To me they have a very credible, particularly in their Navy, very credible leadership, they have very credible command and control. They are, I think, in the areas that contentious for them today, particularly in the East China Sea, that they are professional, in that they have a command and control system that will serve them well in both stability and crisis. So, the question you asked is what does that mean for us in the future? I think that in the security environment in north-east Asia, that, in the end it will be better for us if Japan does more. And I think Japan is prepared to do more.  And the question is for us all to figure out in this next year is what are the key elements of those things that they could find allowable inside their political decision making, within the constitution however they may revise it, that allow them to do more in partnership with us as a key ally up there.

Q: CHRIS SPRINKLE, RAYTHEON: My question is very similar, do you have any specific high-focus areas that you are particularly pushing for security in the Asia Pacific area by sharing with our partners, international partners, both Japan, UK, Australia, etc.

A: Well, I’d say that, generally what underlies a good security environment is knowing what’s in it. And so if you know what’s in it then you can make better decisions about how to deal with it. So as we look at this growing area of South-East Asia, East China Sea, Indo-Asia-Pacific, is there opportunities in this day and age to share information more broadly? And the answer to that is yes. Is there ability to share that information multilaterally, yes. Is there ability to assist emerging countries, emerging militaries, and developing their maritime domain awareness, and the answer to that is yes. So I think that that’s the place where we’d start, or that we are starting. And then we are working a lot on the HA/DR front. HA/DR will never supplant your ability to work at the higher end of the security environment, but what it does do is that it allows like-minded countries to come together, to bring equipment, to learn information sharing, to learn interoperability with each other, to work confidence building with each other, and those then, those competencies, then spawn themselves, you hope, when a larger crisis occurs into ability to manage things where it’s not just the US going alone here. In the end, in this AOR, [inaudible] …we have to rely on increased partnership capability; we have to rely on increased alliance capability. So that’s what I’ve got on that one.

Q: BOB WELLS, FORMER COMMANDING OFFICER LAKE CHAMPLAIN, PACIFIC COMMAND: You mentioned the importance of alliances to your AOR responsibility, could you please address the importance of ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum to peace and security in the Western Pacific.

A: Great question. You know, at the end of World War II we were the masters of bilateralism in the Asia Pacific. I mean, we created bilateral relationships and then we strung them all together, with us kind of in the center of them, then we managed them that way. And that was ok, for most of the last, last half of the last century. But now as these countries have risen, as the security environment is becoming more complex, as there are countries that have the ability to invest in their own security, and many of these countries for many years thought about security as internal to their borders. That’s what their militaries were designed for. And now they all have reasonable security, many of them do, and they’re going ‘hey wait a minute, there is something else besides inside of my country I have to worry about,’ so mineral rights and fishing rights and air space and all those things that have come the full course. So I would say that multilateralism through an organization like ASEAN, first of all we like to encourage it. ASEAN is a consensus organization, its 10 countries, and it has got some partners they brought in, we are a partner, that we observe, and we’re helping them, but at least it would appear with ASEAN, it’s not only about security, it’s about other elements of national power. But I think that it’s important that we get behind them, and that we support them, because I think as a voice, a voice in the security environment, in particular, they have the ability to provide prospective that we may not have, that ability to come together in a way that we wouldn’t be able to bring them together. So I’m hopeful, I’m hopeful. We had a good year last year where Brunei was the chair, of ASEAN, I think we made good progress. This year it will transition over to Myanmar. And then next year…or Burma, whichever one you want, whatever we call it that day, Burma, Myanmar…and then next year it will go to Malaysia. And so we are doing all we can do from a PACOM perspective to help ensure that they are successful in the execution of their ASEAN duties. Will it ever become [inaudible] …a true security block that has real security implications, probably not in the near term, but we’ll see.

Q: (UNIDENTIFIED INDIVIDUAL): Could you comment on the evolving relationship with the Philippines?

A: Well most everybody here is at least as old as I am, we’ve spent a lot of our careers going in and out of the Philippines. And then Mount Pinatubo blew, and change in Philippines occurred, and when Pinatubo came we left  in mass. And we essentially were only marginally there for the next 20 years or so. And so number one I think that was in retrospect, was probably not a great decision by us, because of the strategic importance of not only the Philippines but of the relationship we’ve historically had with the Filipino people, it was not a good decision for them because it allowed them to focus very internally on their security rather than externally and so now they show up in the first couple of decades of this century and the security environment has changed, and both the US and the Philippines are looking at each other going ‘ok we need to go get after this once again’. Now, will we ever go back to the way it was when pre-Pinatubo, no way. I don’t think we’ll ever return to that type of bilateral relationship but what we are doing is, one, is we’re trying to help the Filipinos establish what they would refer to as a minimum credible defense. We’re trying to assist them in their daunting HA/DR challenges, and we just, I think this Operation Damayan, the US Forces got a pretty big pat on the back for that but in reality in about 10-12 days, the Filipinos were up and running and had that operation all on their own. And that was a big operation, big. And that’s really quite a testament I think to where they have come and a lot of that has come because of our bilateral relationship, our bilateral training, our ability to kind of help them understand and for them to help us understand what their particular needs are. So we are working now with access agreements, and those access agreements, you know all agreements require work and have give and take in them, but I am positive and confident that we’re going to get to a good place. Those access agreements serve the Filipino people very well, serve the interest of the alliance, and help to protect US interest in that area as well.

Q: DAVID ALEXANDER, REUTERS: China in the last few days tested a hypersonic missile or strike vehicle of some sort, I wonder what kind of challenges that poses to the US and what that says about China’s ability to match the US technological developments.

A: Well I think if you, first I encourage you all each year to read the [inaudible] …port, DoD report, to Congress on China. The unclass report, if you haven’t read it, you should read it every year. I think it would be fairly enlightening. It would be enlightening about the rapid rise, the investment they have made in military capabilities, military hardware. Not to vilify it because if I was them and I had the visibility to the global technology and I had the cash and I had the people and I had the resources I’d do the same thing. So the hypersonic missile test was just one in a ladder of things that should be looked at by the surface warfare community to determine the implication it has for you in the future. A lot of nations are pursuing hypersonics, we’re pursuing hypersonics. So that’s not an odd thing. The fact that they would be able to go rapidly with the injection of technology, they’re better at that then we are. They get to it faster. Of course they have different processes that allow them to get to it faster. So that particular test doesn’t bother me. I think in the end though we have to look at it. And I tell people, I say this isn’t just China, we have a tendency to kind of move over there and just want to get on China. This stuff’s going to proliferate. Every system that ever gets built proliferates. So whether we were to become the best buddies in the world with the Chinese tomorrow, you and your ships are going to face these challenges somewhere in the world because it’s going to get sold, the technology is going to get stolen, or passed, and it’s going to show up somewhere. And it’s just, it is what it is. And you have to decide are you going to get after it. Are you going to stay with it. Are you going to be able to go places where surface warfare has historically been dominant, and stay dominant. We can’t be out just defending ourselves. Not that that’s where we are today but we have to avoid that. Staying there’s part of it, but you have to get after the other end of it too. And that’s what I encourage you to think about, so whenever the ‘I do my planning for the contingencies in my AOR,’ the first thing I want you and me to ask for is ‘where are my ships?’ So if I’m not asking that, you’ve got a problem, we’ve got a problem. Because if I can’t use you in the way that need to be used in the 21st century, somewhere in the world is going to have that kind of capability, you might need that capability too. [inaudible] … are you relevant? And we need to be relevant, and I think you would be. You’ve got great leadership, you’ve got great support from the CNO, you’ve got great support from the PACOM commanders, from all the COCOMs, if you go to the GFM sourcing knock-down drag-outs, there’s about four things that pop up every time we sit down to talk about shortfalls in our role, and right at the top of the list are surface warfare, ships, where are we, how come I don’t have enough, how come I can’t get more, where are my BMD ships, where are my ASW ships, where are my escort ships. I mean pick a thing, you’re there, stay there. Thank you very much.


— USPACOM (posted January 17, 2014) —