August 02, 2012
Credit: Credit: U.S. Air Force
Pentagon planners will consider adding bombers and attack submarines as part of a growing U.S. focus on security challenges in the Asia-Pacific, a senior Defense Department official said on Wednesday.
“We will take another look” at sending more such muscle to the strategic hub of Guam in the western Pacific, now that this has been recommended by an independent review of U.S. regional military plans, Robert Scher, deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans, told lawmakers.
U.S. strategy calls for shifting military, diplomatic and economic resources toward the region after a decade of land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan sparked by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
The Defense Department, however, must weigh the issue from a broad global perspective and take into account competing requirements, Scher testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Armed Services subcommittee on readiness.
Guam, a U.S. territory about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines, played an active role during the Vietnam War as a way station for U.S. bombers.
The Air Force operates from the island’s Andersen Air Force Base, which hosts a rotational unit of B-52 bombers. The major U.S. Navy presence includes a squadron of three attack submarines.
The new assessment of the U.S. military force posture in the region was carried out by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS, a nonpartisan policy research group, subsequent to a congressional mandate.