The Asia-Pacific rebalance: impact on U.S. naval strategy
Schelcher, Michael A.
Moran, Daniel J.
Malley, Michael S.
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This thesis analyzes the development of the Asia-Pacific rebalance and its possible effects on United States naval strategy over the next several decades. The goal is to develop a better understanding of the Asian rebalance in order to improve future strategic choices governing the employment of the United States Navy in Asia. It argues that the Asia-Pacific rebalance and its effects continue to emphasize the importance of the U.S. Navy due to the increasing importance of U.S. economic, political and security interests regionally. In conjunction with increasing regional threats from China and North Korea, as well as non-traditional threats such as climate change or terrorism, the importance of U.S. naval presence and its interaction regionally will continue to be pivotal to future U.S. policy in the region. To accomplish this analysis it is necessary to describe the development of modern U.S. naval strategy, the historic involvement and role of the United States Navy in the Asia-Pacific and what the Navy has done substantively to integrate with the new strategy and how current policy choices can affect future U.S. naval objectives. Examining several different future scenarios and U.S. security policy goals in the Asia-Pacific, it will briefly look at costs and benefits of each situation with specific focus on the naval missions of conventional deterrence and the prevention of regional conflict as well as its impact on regional confidence building measures and the Navy's ability to assist in humanitarian disaster-relief operations. It concludes that the United States Navy can continue to adapt to the desired policy goals as set forth by the Asia-Pacific rebalance. It can achieve success through an increased prioritization of resources to the Asia-Pacific, increased political sustainability of U.S. naval forward presence in the region, and to develop a new U.S. maritime strategy that reflects new geo-strategic realities.
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