Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following opening statement at today’s hearing, “Rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific Region: Examining its Implementation”:


“I would like to welcome our witnesses and to thank them for appearing this morning.  I look forward to their testimony as we continue to examine the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.”


“The Asia-Pacific region is vital to our national interests, and it includes many essential allies and partners.  Without question, U.S. service men and women play crucial roles in maintaining these vital relationships and in promoting peace in the Asia-Pacific region.”


“The current strategic guidance emphasizes a renewed focus on the region.  It is both timely and appropriate for the United States to hone its Asian-Pacific strategy as that dynamic region continues to flourish.  Our government’s rebalancing effort already relies on the U.S. military to support, and operate in concert with, the implementation of a wide variety of diplomatic, economic, and developmental priorities and objectives in the Asia-Pacific region.”


“As the rebalance gains momentum, the United States should continue to provide and maintain collective security; peaceably address concerns and mitigate disputes; promote shared interests and objectives; and cultivate healthy multi-lateral exchange.  We should: work to establish a stable and mutually beneficial relationship with China; continue to contain and marginalize the dangerous and unpredictable North Korean regime; further develop our security relationship with India; encourage regional democratization efforts; and strengthen enduring ties with our allies in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines.”


“Transnational threats, such as violent extremism, and illicit trafficking in persons, narcotics, and weapons continue to menace the region.  Unfortunately, disease, malnourishment, environmental degradation, resource scarcity, and natural disaster also persist. The more we can do to defuse tensions and to avoid conflict through cooperative efforts with our allies and partners, the more we can help to realize growth and prosperity in the region.”


“The United States will continue to lead in the Asia-Pacific and to offer assurances through its strong forward presence in the region.  The rebalance underscores the United States’ firm commitment to surmounting regional security challenges now and in the future.”


“I look forward to receiving our witnesses’ testimony and to expanding our dialogue on this important issue.  I would especially appreciate our witnesses’ views on how the United States might optimize its rebalancing efforts, particularly in this era of fiscal constraint, to impart a positive and lasting effect in the Asia-Pacific region.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”