Panetta to Unveil Future US Defense Strategy for Asia-Pacific

Posted June 1st, 2012 at 6:00 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has begun a nine-day journey to Asia-Pacific to promote the Obama administration's plans to shift its primary military focus to the region.

Panetta will give a major speech at an annual Asian security conference in Singapore Saturday, outlining Washington's plans to increase the number of U.S. troops and military equipment in Asia-Pacific.

During a stopover at the U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii Thursday, Panetta said despite looming budget cuts, American military forces must become more agile to meet the multiple challenges of the 21st century.

“Two we've got to focus on where the main threats are. That means we continue a major focus on the Pacific region, and we continue a major focus on the Middle East. Thirdly, we've got to maintain a presence elsewhere in the world, and the way to do that is to develop these kind of innovative and creative rotational movements that will allow us to go into countries, whether its Latin America, whether its Africa, whether its Europe, whether it's here in the Pacific, and to be able to work with countries to develop partnerships, to develop their capabilities, to conduct exercises, to give them advice and assistance, to make them partners, responsible for dealing with security in today's world. Fourthly, we have to make sure that we're strong enough to confront more than one enemy at a time and defeat them.”

Panetta's itinerary also includes official visits to Vietnam and India.