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2012年1月 8日 (日)

米新国防戦略 「アジア重視」に日本も呼応を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 8, 2012)
Japan should play role in new U.S. defense policy
米新国防戦略 「アジア重視」に日本も呼応を(1月7日付・読売社説)

U.S. President Barack Obama has unveiled a new defense strategy in line with the country's planned cuts in defense spending.

While reducing the overall size of ground forces, the strategy aims to expand the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, an area to which the country attaches increasing importance.

We will have to wait and see whether these programs will be fully implemented.

Obama expressed his intention to accelerate efforts to make U.S. forces more efficient and rely more on state-of-the-art technology.
"Our military will be leaner but the world must know--the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats," he said.

Given the United States' dire fiscal situation, the strategy is appropriate.

The United States must reduce defense spending by nearly 500 billion dollars (38 trillion yen) in the coming decade, as part of deficit-cutting measures the U.S. Congress legislated last summer along with a debt-ceiling deal.


Review of 2-front strategy

It is essential to determine the order of priority to deal with various threats under a limited budget, and then choose the necessary military equipment and determine what troop reductions can be made.

In essence, the new strategy reviewed the United States' two-front strategy, which has served as the country's fundamental defense policy since the end of the Cold War. The review made it clear that the U.S. military would focus on one large conflict, rather than maintain sufficient troops to fight two major regional conflicts at the same time.

The new strategy also focused on new threats, such as terrorist activities, unconventional conflicts and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

What was particularly noteworthy in the review was that the United States expressed a profound wariness over China and Iran by naming them. It predicted that the two nations would probably increase their "anti-access/area denial capabilities" to block the forward deployment of U.S. forces using ballistic and cruise missiles and through cyberwarfare.


Joint air-sea battle concept

To counter such moves, the United States is expected to step up efforts to develop a "joint air-sea battle" concept, under which long-range attacks can be carried out through joint air and maritime operations.

The United States' new defense strategy also called on its allies to boost their military roles in the years ahead.

Japan needs to consider the strategic review in a positive light and reflect it in its future defense policy, such as by strengthening its "dynamic defense force," a concept focusing on the operational flexibility of the Self-Defense Forces.

Japan's defense budget will decline for the 10th straight year in fiscal 2012, seriously affecting the training of SDF personnel and the repair of equipment.

Given the tough security environment surrounding the country in recent years, the government must stop slashing defense spending and reverse the trend.

Enhancing defense cooperation between the SDF and U.S. forces also is extremely important.

When U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Japan in October, the two countries agreed to bolster joint warning and surveillance activity, carry out more joint exercises and have the SDF and U.S. troops share bases.

The two countries should steadily implement this agreement to maintain and enhance the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 7, 2012)
(2012年1月7日01時32分  読売新聞)


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