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Bipartisan Letter to Susan Rice Requests Asia-Pacific Strategy Review

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Washington, D.C., Jul 23, 2013 | Alex Gray (202-225-6365) | comments

Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and Co-Chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, has sent a bipartisan letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rice requesting greater clarity on the Administration’s “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific.

The letter, co-signed with Republican Rep. Rob Wittman (VA) and Democrats Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (HI) and Del. Madeleine Bordallo (Guam), urges the creation of an Asia-Pacific Strategy Review to better articulate U.S. policy for the region. “My colleagues and I are committed to helping the Administration articulate the strategic rationale behind the rebalance to Asia and to reassuring our allies and partners that the United States intends to do more than simply deliver speeches on the importance of Asia,” Congressman Forbes said. “Establishing an Asia-Pacific Strategy Review is an important step toward implementing our strategy and establishing America’s commitment to a region that will define U.S. national security strategy in the 21st century.”

See below for text of the letter to Ms. Rice:

July 17, 2013

The Honorable Susan Rice

National Security Advisor

600 17th St NW

Washington, DC 20508-0001

Dear Ms. Rice:

As you assume the post of National Security Advisor this month, we write regarding the Administration's pronounced strategy to "pivot" or "rebalance" our Nation's time, energy, and resources to the Asia-Pacific.

We share a desire to see this Administration continue to vigorously articulate and advocate for the resources required to uphold our interests in this vital region. As you know, for the better part of the past seventy years, these interests have been built on a foundation of strong alliances, free markets, and a robust military balance that favors a rules-based order. Although the Asia-Pacific has witnessed many positive developments in trade, governance, security, and human rights, we agree with President Obama's 2011 statement in Australia that the United States must continue to play a "larger and long-term role in shaping this region [the Asia-Pacific] and its future."

But while we appreciate the Administration's strategic decision to "rebalance" our Nation's energy towards this region, what is now required is a clear, interagency guidance enabling a broad effort and empowering departments and agencies to implement the guidance. This will better realize the benefits of this effort. Currently, agencies outside of the White House, including the Department of Defense, Department of State, and country teams at various Asia-Pacific Embassies lack the specific direction that will be required for the implementation of this strategy. A July 2012 CSIS report entitled “U.S. Force Posture Strategy in the Asia Pacific Region: An Independent Assessment” also highlighted the problems and challenges associated with a lack of overarching leadership on how to implement the rebalance strategy. Without this guidance, the rest of the U.S. Government and our officials in Asian capitals have been left to try and parse policy from speeches, interviews, and articles. We believe this is required not only so that departments and agencies across the U.S. Government can have the authority to think and act creatively within a robust interagency system, but also to communicate to Congress the breadth of resources that will be required to implement this strategy.

Therefore, in order to better define the ends-ways-means of the Administration’s strategic objectives in this region, we urge you to lead an interagency Asia-Pacific Strategy Review. Such a document, in unclassified and classified form, will provide permanent clarity to the Administration's regional strategy and more effectively communicate to the U.S. Government, friends, and allies the direction of U.S. policy in the region. This document could also describe more frankly to Congress the resources, goals, and objectives of the strategy.

We thank you for your leadership on this issue and look forward to working with you to support this important effort.

Sincerely,

J. Randy Forbes Rob Wittman

Member of Congress Member of Congress

Colleen Hanabusa Madeleine Bordallo

Member of Congress Member of Congress

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Tags: Defense