Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and Chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, announced today the introduction of the bipartisan Asia-Pacific Region Priority Act. The legislation is co-authored with Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), who co-led House Armed Services Committee’s bipartisan Asia-Pacific Security Series with Congressman Forbes.
“This legislation seeks to make the United States’ ‘rebalance’ to the Asia-Pacific more than merely a slogan,” Congressman Forbes said. “By providing for specific actions to buttress U.S. military capabilities in the region and encouraging our ally’s to enhance their own capabilities, this bipartisan legislation aims to positively shape the military-balance in the Asia-Pacific in the decades to come.”
Summary of Proposed Forbes/Hanabusa Legislation "Asia-Pacific Region Priority Act"
The Forbes-Hanabusa legislation, informed by the work of the bipartisan HASC Asia-Pacific Oversight Series, seeks to enhance the United States’ focus, understanding, and capabilities for sustaining peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Emphasize Stability and Peaceful Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific
- Supports Greater United States Focus on the Asia-Pacific Region - The United States has an enduring interest in the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. Addressing the security shifts, including China's rise and growing North Korean missile threats, is a critical component of U.S. policy and continued regional stability.
- Condemns Coercive Attempts to Determine Maritime Disputes - The U.S. stands by its regional allies and partners in remaining committed to peaceful settlement of disputes and continued freedom of navigation in the Asia-Pacific.
- Reaffirms Commitment to the U.S.-Japan Alliance - The U.S. partnership with Japan has been a cornerstone of Asia-Pacific peace and prosperity for more than half a century. The U.S. welcomes recent changes to Japan's defense institutions, as well as Japan's determination to play a more proactive role in contributing to global peace and security. The U.S. opposes any unilateral attempt to undermine Japanese administration of the Senkaku Islands.
- Directs Report on Future U.S.-Republic of Korea Security and Trade Cooperation - The U.S. and ROK have enjoyed more than sixty years of strong partnership in security, political, and economic matters. The bill requires a report on how this enduring partnership can be further strengthened in the decades ahead.
- Encourages Availability of Training Areas Within PACOM Area of Responsibility - Sustaining training facilities in the PACOM AOR is essential to not only the continued preparedness of the U.S. military, but also to developing the partner capacity and interoperability necessary for effective security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.
Enhance Assessments of Asia-Pacific Security Trends
- Requires Independent Assessment of Anti-Access/Area-Denial Challenges - The bill requires the Secretary of Defense to solicit outside evaluation of the A2/AD capabilities of potential competitors and the ability of the United States to maintain its security commitments in the region.
- Requires Net Assessment of Chinese Naval Modernization - The bill directs the Office of Net Assessment to conduct a study of the maritime balance of forces in the Asia-Pacific.
- Commissions Study on Space Defense and Deterrence Strategies - The growth of Chinese and Russian counter-space capabilities poses significant threats to both the U.S. military and global business and telecommunications. The bill directs the Office of Net Assessment to conduct a study of the threat and possible solutions.
- Requires a Comparison of the Cross-Strait Military Balance - The bill directs the Department of Defense to submit a report on the cross-strait balance of maritime forces between China and Taiwan.
- Modifies Annual Report of Chinese Military to Include Maritime Law Enforcement Activities - The bill modifies the annual report by the Department of Defense to Congress regarding China's military activities to also include activities by the State Oceanic Administration.
Sustain a Favorable Military Balance
- Establishes a Defense Unmanned Systems Office - This bill establishes a senior office to oversee a coordinated unmanned systems strategy for the Department of Defense, covering everything from research and development to deployment and the unmanned role within new and existing operational concepts.
- Authorizes Funds For Greater Space Situational Awareness - The bill authorizes $10 million, beyond the President's request, for research and development of greater space situational awareness capabilities.
- Requires Development of a Pacific Command Munitions Strategy - The bill requires the services to examine their munition capabilities and the health of the associated industrial base, and report to Congress on a PACOM munitions strategy.
- Directs Improvements in Missile Defense Cooperation and Capabilities - The bill directs the Secretary of Defense to identify opportunities for increasing missile defense cooperation among the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.
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