Asia-Pacific region allies investing in defense complimentary to US capabilities

Commander of United States Forces Pacific Command Admiral Samuel Locklear appeared in US House Committee on Armed Services which is holding a hearing on US military technology superiority. During the April 15 hearing, the commander discussed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between Philippines and United States which was forged to benefit two forces.

“I would say that the Philippines who’s another key ally of JApan, we have – in negotiation for Enhanced Cooperative Defense Agreement that’s currently, you know, being debated inside the Philippines on the political side,” Admiral Locklear said.

“But that has an opportunity to help them improve to get them to a better minimum credible defense. It also has the opportunity for us to strengthen that alliance and strengthen our position in Southeast Asia,” he added.

“The trend of our allies (in Asia-Pacific region) across the board is that they’re investing more in their defense – and in their security, rather than less, and they’re investing more in directions that are complimentary to our capabilities,” the top US military official noted. “So that we all enjoy the same mutual benefits of that security architecture.”

The Admiral said Japan is “buying a large number of F-35s. They’ve expressed an intent to buy the V-22. They also are working on upgrading their Aegis platforms. They are working with us on Global Hawk. And then we also have a very significant cooperative production with them for the SM 3.2 missile. That’s a $3.2 billion cooperative program with Japan.”

He also discussed how Australia and South Korea are spending on defense.