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Introduction. The U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) area of responsibility (AOR) encompasses approximately half the earth’s surface and more than half of its population. The 36 nations1 that comprise the Asia-Pacific include: two of the three largest economies and nine of the ten smallest; the most populous nation; the largest democracy; the largest Muslim-majority nation; and the smallest republic in the world. The region is a vital driver of the global economy and includes the world’s busiest international sea lanes and nine of the ten largest ports. By any meaningful measure, the Asia-Pacific is also the most militarized region in the world, with seven of the world’s ten largest standing militaries and five of the world’s declared nuclear nations. Under these circumstances, the strategic complexity facing the region is unique.

This Strategy defines Commander, USPACOM’s strategic intent and approach in support of U.S. defense priorities in this region. Proceeding from a hierarchy of national level planning guidance,2 it provides the Command’s vision for resourcing in light of national level emphasis on the Asia-Pacific.

This Strategy adheres to several guiding principles. Four principles were articulated by the U.S. Secretary of Defense to elaborate on the President’s guidance in January 2012 that the U.S. “will of necessity rebalance to the Asia-Pacific.” These and three additional principles appear as consistent themes throughout this document:

International Rules. Advance a set of rules that are respected and followed by all, highlighting open access to the shared domains of sea, air, space and cyberspace and resolving disputes without coercion or the use of force.

Partnerships. Modernize and strengthen alliances and partnerships.

Presence. Enhance and adapt our enduring presence in the region and enable more effective engagement with partners.

Force Projection. Make a sustained series of investments and strategic decisions to strengthen U.S. military capabilities in the Asia-Pacific.

Unity of Effort. Contribute to U.S. whole-of-government approaches to resolving regional security challenges, and support the broadest possible involvement of regional counterparts.

Communication Strategies

Ensure U.S. intent and resolve is conveyed clearly and that our words and actions are aligned.

Readiness to Fight and Win. USPACOM is first and foremost a war fighting command, committed to maintaining superiority across the range of military operations in all domains.

These principles help guide the partnership role that the United States has and will continue to play in the Asia-Pacific. This role is solidified geographically and through our alliances and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific. Our enduring interests of open access to the shared domains of sea, air, space, and cyberspace are further amplified by the fact that the Asia-Pacific will be the economic center of trade for the foreseeable future and that continued prosperity is tied to the peaceful rise of China as an economic and military power. Within this context, USPACOM is focused on the following key aspects of the regional security environment.

Homeland Defense in the Asia-Pacific

The United States is and will continue to be a Pacific power. U.S. territory in the USPACOM AOR includes the states of Alaska and Hawaii, and the territories of Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. We have protectorate obligations with the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

Alliances. This homeland area, coupled with our treaty alliances with Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Philippines, and Thailand are the cornerstone of U.S. engagement in the region. We will modernize and strengthen these alliances by enhancing our ability to train and operate together, jointly developing high-tech capabilities, expanding information sharing, and exploring new areas of cooperation.

Partnerships. In addition to our treaty alliances, we will continue to strengthen existing partnerships and build new relationships, particularly with multilateral constructs such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). India is a particularly important partner in shaping the security environment, and we will continue to deepen our cooperation to address challenges in the Asia-Pacific. We will also work to enhance our partnerships with Indonesia, India, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and others to advance common interests and address shared threats.

Shared Sea, Air, Space, and Cyberspace Domains. Foremost among our shared interests with other countries and organizations in the region is open access to sea, air, space, and cyberspace domains. This open access ensures the free flow of commerce and economic development. Additionally, new challenges in cyberspace present an opportunity for cooperation with countries and multilateral organizations 3 to strengthen international norms of behavior and encourage cooperative approaches to shared threats. USPACOM will ensure access to these shared domains by working with allies and partners to strengthen international norms of behavior and maintain relevant and interoperable military capabilities in the region.


The United States believes that a strong U.S.-China partnership is essential for peace, prosperity, and both regional and global security. The U.S. continues to welcome a prosperous and successful China that plays a greater role in global affairs, but China’s growing military capabilities coupled with its lack of transparency is concerning. Therefore, the United States and China must continue to pursue a more transparent, enduring, stable, and reliable military-to-military relationship by maintaining a consistent and meaningful dialogue to prevent miscommunication or miscalculation. We see opportunities for cooperation in areas such as humanitarian relief and disaster response, counter-piracy efforts, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, noncombatant evacuation operations (NEOs), military medicine, and maritime safety. Such opportunities will enhance our bilateral relationship with China as we work.

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