Sunday, November 08, 2015

Carter: Response to Russia, China Involves Innovation

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., November 7, 2015 — National defense in today’s time of transition and turbulence calls for technical as well as strategic and operational innovation, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said here today.

In a keynote speech during the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California, Carter explained how Russia and China challenge the United States’ capacity to innovate and change.

“Another kind of innovation for the future … is how we’re responding to Russia, which is one source of today’s turbulence, and [the rise of China], which is driving a transition in the Asia-Pacific,” the secretary said.

One of the pillars of his commitment to the nation as defense secretary, Carter said, is to develop innovative strategies and operational concepts to change how the department deters and responds to geostrategic challenges.

Complex Environments

“We must ensure that we and our partners are postured to defeat threats from high-end opponents in a complex set of environments,” he said.

To do so requires innovative strategies and operational plans to defend the United States and strengthen the principled international order that has well served the United States and its friends and allies, including Russia, China and many other countries, for decades, Carter said.

“The principles that serve as that order’s foundation -- including peaceful resolution of disputes, freedom from coercion, respect for state sovereignty and freedom of navigation and overflight -- are not abstractions,” the secretary said, “nor are they subject to the whims of any one country.”

Some actors, like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Russia, seem intent on eroding these principles and undercutting the international order, Carter said.

China, he added, grows more ambitious in its objectives and capabilities.

Russia’s Provocations

“In the face of Russia’s provocations and China’s rise,” Carter said, “we must embrace innovative approaches to protect the United States and strengthen that international order.”

Russia is violating sovereignty in Ukraine and Georgia and is trying to intimidate the Baltic states, and in Syria it is prolonging a civil war, the secretary added.

“At sea, in the air, in space and in cyberspace, Russian actors have engaged in challenging activities,” he told the audience, noting that Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling raises questions about Russian leaders’ commitment to strategic stability.

“We do not seek to make Russia an enemy,”Carter said. “But make no mistake. The United States will defend our interests, and our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords us all.”

Carter said the United States is modernizing its nuclear arsenal to ensure America’s nuclear deterrent, investing in new unmanned systems, a new long-range bomber, and innovation in technologies like the electromagnetic rail gun, lasers and new systems for electronic warfare, space, cyberspace, and others.

“And we’re accordingly transforming our posture in Europe to be more agile and sustainable,” the secretary said.

Approach to China

Turning to the Asia-Pacific, Carter said that for decades the United States has helped create stability in the region, which has enabled its people, economies and countries to prosper.

“The single-most influential factor in shaping the region’s future is how China rises and relates to the principled order that has undergirded regional peace, stability and security,” the secretary said.

As a rising power China will have growing ambitions, Carter said, but how it behaves will be the true test of its commitment to peace and security.

Nations across the region are watching China’s actions in areas like the maritime domain and cyberspace, and the United States is working on its own and with allies to ensure peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific as China rises, the secretary said.

Sustaining Progress

On its own, America is using its Asia-Pacific rebalance to sustain this progress and ensure stability in the region, Carter said.

“We’re putting our best and newest assets from all services into the region. Qualitatively, we are making heavy investments in capabilities of importance there -- subsurface warfare, electronic warfare, space, cyber, missile defense and more,” he added.

The department is changing its operational plans and approaches to deter aggression, fulfill its statutory obligations to Taiwan, defend allies, and prepare for a wider-than-usual range of contingencies in the region, Carter said.

The United States is building on its political and economic engagement in the Asia-Pacific by finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, among others, the secretary said, and is strengthening the multilateral regional security architecture with allies, friends and partners.

Building Capacity of Allies, Partners

“We’re building the capacity of our allies and partners,” Carter said, along with promoting cooperation, supporting regional multilateral organizations, modernizing alliances and deepening partnerships.

On his latest trip to Asia-Pacific, his third as defense secretary, Carter said he heard from U.S. regional allies and partners in the region.

“We all have a fundamental stake in the security of maritime Asia, including dynamics within the South China Sea,” he said.

The United States is concerned with land reclamation in the South China Sea region, Carter added, and China has reclaimed more land than any other country in the region’s history.

“The United States joins virtually everyone else in the region in being deeply concerned about the pace and scope of land reclamation in the South China Sea, the prospect of further militarization, [and] the potential for these activities to increase the risk of miscalculation or conflict among claimant states,” he said.

On Nov. 5, Carter flew out to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt underway in the South China Sea. Last month, tThe guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen as part of  a task force with the USS Roosevelt, conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea in accordance with international law.

“We’ve done them before all over the world,” Carter said of the freedom of navigation operation, “and we’ll do them again. We mean what we say. We will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.”

Leveraging Strategies

U.S.-China relations will be complex as the nations continue to balance their competition and cooperation, Carter said, noting that both nations have agreed to four confidence-building agreements, including one meant to prevent dangerous air-to-air encounters.

Carter said he’s accepted an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit China in the New Year.

Meanwhile, the defense department works to leverage innovative strategies and operational concepts in response to Russia’s provocations and the impact of China’s rise, Carter said.

“We also know we have much work to do still to ensure our strategies and plans are as innovative as possible, leveraging new technology used by the best talent in America,” he said.

U.S. and ROK Navies to Conduct Exercise Clear Horizon 2015

By Commander, Naval Forces Korea, Public Affairs

CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- The U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) navies will participate in Exercise Clear Horizon, Nov. 9-13, in waters south of the Korean peninsula.

Clear Horizon is an annual bilateral exercise between the U.S. and ROK navies designed to enhance cooperation and improve capabilities in mine countermeasure operations.

Approximately 330 U.S. Navy personnel assigned to Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7, along with MH-53E helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 14 and teams from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 5, will join ROK navy forces for the bilateral training.

During the exercise, U.S. and ROK units will practice clearing routes for shipping and conduct training surveys for clearing operational areas. Mine clearing helicopters will also be utilized to rehearse mine countermeasure operations from the air.

Clear Horizon is one of approximately 20 annual bilateral training exercises held each year between the U.S. and ROK navies aimed at strengthening the alliance and preserving stability and peace around the Korean peninsula and throughout Northeast Asia.

CNFK is the United Nations Component Commander during Armistice and the U.S. and UNC Sending States navies routinely plan, exchange information, train and operate together to strengthen coordination and improve combined capabilities.

USS George Washington Navigates Strait of Magellan

By By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Smedegard,
USS George Washington Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) transited the Strait of Magellan Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, completing the Pacific Ocean portion of their Southern Seas 2015 deployment.

The Strait of Magellan, named after the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, is a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland Chile and is a natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Magellan made passage through the strait on Nov.1, 1520 while searching for a quicker route to the Spice Islands by sailing west.

"Today our crew witnessed an historic moment, marking the 495th anniversary of Magellan's passage through the strait during our own memorable transit," said Capt Timothy C. Kuehhas.

During the two-day transit, the Sailors of GW's navigation department played a major role by maintaining the ship's course and monitoring water depth through the 570-kilometer passage.

"We set sea and anchor detail meaning we were less than two nautical miles away from land and had to take what we call visual fixes, or bearings, from three different points off of land in order to make sure the ship was still safe for navigation," said Quartermaster 2nd Class Janet Dahlman.

The Strait of Magellan transit also served as a valuable training tool for qualifying junior quartermasters in different aspects of their rate.
"It gave them a very good experience at what it takes to get through a strait as a quartermaster," said Dahlman. There are a lot of hazards in a transit like this so everyone had to work together to successfully complete our mission."

Washington anchored late in the day Nov. 1 just off the coast of Punta Arenas, Chile. Punta Arenas is considered the world's southernmost city, with more than 102,000 residents.

As the ship resumed its transit Nov. 2, hundreds of Washington, Carrier Strike Group NINE, Destroyer Squadron 23 and embarked Carrier Air Wing TWO Sailors roamed the flight deck and hangar bay to snap a few photographs of the snow-capped mountains overlooking parts of the strait.

"This was a milestone in my Southern Seas deployment," said Quartermaster Seaman Rodney Cobia. "I've never seen anything like this in my life and to share it with my shipmates is something I'll always reminisce about."
Washington is deployed as part of Southern Seas 2015 which seeks to enhance interoperability, increase regional stability and build and maintain relationships with countries throughout the region through joint, multinational and interagency exchanges and cooperation.