Secretary of Defense Speech

Remarks by Secretary Carter at ASEAN Defense Informal


SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASH CARTER: Well, good morning, everyone. I hope you enjoyed last night's reception. It's good to see you all. I look forward to our conversations today. It's good to be with so many good friends and wonderful partners.
 
Listen, before I get started, I'd like to thank my ASEAN counterparts and the ASEAN Secretary General especially for joining us here today in Hawaii for these important discussions. In particular, I'd also like to recognize Lao Minister of National Defense Lieutenant General Chansamone for his leadership of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting this year.
 
And I'd also like to acknowledge ASEAN itself. For nearly 50 years, ASEAN and its members countries have helped to provide the security and uphold the principles that have served all of our nations - and the entire Asia-Pacific - so well and for so long. And I know ASEAN will continue to be central to the region's principled future.
 
At this meeting, we'll reaffirm our commitment - made by our national leaders at Sunnylands and at the 4th U.S.-ASEAN Summit in Laos earlier this month - to strengthen cooperation on the shared security challenges in this vital corner of the dynamic Asia-Pacific.
 
We'll share our nation's perspectives on security and listen to others. And we'll make plans to further catalyze the Asia-Pacific's principled and inclusive security network. This principled and inclusive security network will help us all connect, cooperate, and contribute to regional security. It's principled because this network will help us uphold important principles, like resolving disputes peacefully; ensuring countries can make their own choices free from foreign coercion and intimidation; and preserving the freedom of overflight and navigation guaranteed by international law.
 
And the network's inclusive, since any nation and any military - no matter its capability, budget, or experience - can contribute. And that's important because - as we see at meetings like this one here today - every nation has a stake in ensuring this network's success and every military can make a vital contribution to regional security.
 
This morning, I'd also like to share with you the plans and commitments the United States is making in the third phase of our so-called rebalance. In this next phase, the Defense Department is going to take steps to help catalyze the principled and inclusive security network, even as we qualitatively improve the United States' force posture in the region.
 
These steps will ensure the United States and the principled and inclusive security network have the necessary people, payloads, platforms, plans, and experience to ensure the Asia-Pacific remains a region where everyone can rise and prosper.
 
America's ongoing rebalance and the region's burgeoning security network are important at a time of regional change and challenges. Together, ASEAN and all our nations can develop the cooperation we'll need to ensure security for decades to come, even as we work together to address today's immediate challenges, like maritime security and countering-extremism.
 
On maritime security, open sea lanes are critical to sustaining the region's dynamic economy. The United States would like to help all our nations see more, share more, and do more to keep Southeast Asia's vital waterways open and secure.
 
On counterterrorism, the United States is focused on accelerating the lasting and certain defeat of ISIL in its parent tumor in Iraq and Syria and everywhere it might metastasize around the world, including Southeast Asia and in our homeland itself.
 
Together, we can strengthen our cooperation to counter violent extremism and to impede ISIL's metastasis and influence in the Asia-Pacific.
 
Now, as we get started and the press departs, I'd like to introduce Ambassador David Shear, my Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy whose going to help me moderate the discussion today. If you'd like to speak, please indicate so. Just turn up your placard and Dave will recognize you just like that.
 
Thank you. And thank you to the press.