The United States will redeploy the bulk of their naval fleet to the Pacific Ocean by 2020 as part of a new military strategy focused on Asia, said on Saturday U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, during a summit in Singapore organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London.
The decision to deploy more ships to the Pacific combined with the strengthening of military partnerships in the region is part of an effort to “deliberately” designed to boost the role of the United States in an area vital to the future of America, Mr. Panetta said. He said that “by 2020, the Navy would reposition its forces in a proportion of about 50% -50% at present between the Pacific and the Atlantic to a 60% -40% for the Pacific – including six aircraft carriers, and the majority of our ships and submarines.”
Half of the U.S. Navy is currently deployed in the Pacific. Washington also plans to increase the number of military exercises in the Pacific region.
In early January, President Barack Obama presented the new U.S. military strategy that made Asia, not Europe, its strategic priority, next to the Middle East.
On the eve of his trip to Asia, Mr. Panetta had in turn encouraged young officers to strengthen their ties with China and keep focusing the emergence of the power of the People’s Republic in the region. “The Chinese military is expanding and modernizing. We must remain vigilant. We must be strong. We must be ready to face any challenge,” said Mr. Panetta. “But most important is to open a new era of cooperation in defense affairs” between U.S. and Asian countries, stressed the Secretary of Defense.