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Dempsey Discusses Pacific Rebalance During Australia Visit

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

SYDNEY, Feb. 22, 2015 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is slated to meet with his Australian counterpart here tomorrow, as he focuses on the importance of the U.S. military rebalance to the Pacific.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey and the Australian chief of the Defense Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, will have a day of talks to include current global challenges, interoperability, and strengthening cooperation.

The United States and Australia have excellent relations, and defense officials have noted the many important contributions Australia has made to global security missions, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Australia Supports Resolute Support, Inherent Resolve Missions

Australia is currently contributing troops to Resolute Support, the NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces as well as providing military trainers to Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq.

Dempsey's trip to Australia followed yesterday’s brief visit to the remote Pacific Kwajalein Atoll, the home to the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll/Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site.

In Kwajalein, the chairman told a town hall audience that the U.S. rebalance to the Pacific region is a matter of "national imperative."

It is important, Dempsey said, because 7 billion of the 9 billion people in the world are projected to be living in the arc from India to China by 2050.

National Security Interests Migrating to the Pacific Region

"That's why we're here -- precisely to continue to reinforce that point that our national security interests are migrating to the Pacific over time," the chairman said.

"As a Pacific nation that takes our Pacific alliances and partnerships seriously, we will continue to build on our active and enduring presence in the region, including with Australia," said Dempsey's spokesman, Air Force Col. Ed Thomas.

In College Station, Texas, the first stop in this current tour, Dempsey told a forum at Texas A&M University that he travels to the Pacific area a few times each year to meet with his counterparts and "try to understand the region from their perspective."

U.S. Rebalance to Pacific Region a ‘Steady’ Effort

The rebalance has been a "steady" effort, the chairman stated.

"It’s more like a marathon than a sprint, which is good," he said of the U.S. rebalance to the Pacific region. "It’s inevitable. It’s imperative -- and I don’t use those words often."

While most U.S. partnerships in the region have been bilateral, the United States is seeking to expand that further, Dempsey said.

"What we’re trying to do is kind of knit it all together because I think a multinational or multilateral security environment is the environment in which I think China can rise peacefully," he said.

While in Australia, Dempsey also is slated to meet with David Hurley, the governor of the state of New South Wales.

 

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Biographies:
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey

Related Sites:
U.S. State Department Note – Australia
Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan
Special Report: Operation Inherent Resolve – Targeted Operations Against ISIL Terrorists
Special Report: Travels With Dempsey
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