Author Topic: Expect ASEAN Focused Increases for FY18 Budget  (Read 1255 times)

dr demented

  • Global Moderator
  • Boffin
  • *****
  • Posts: 589
    • View Profile
Expect ASEAN Focused Increases for FY18 Budget
« on: October 09, 2016, 11:35:20 AM »

Expect ASEAN Focused Increases for FY18 Budget
By: Aaron Mehta, October 7, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon wants to see financial plus-ups in the fiscal year 2018 budget for greater US-led military exercises, State Department foreign financing and Coast Guard actions in the Pacific.

Those areas form part of what Defense Secretary Ash Carter called a “third phase” of the Obama administration’s rebalance to the Pacific, and as budget discussions firm up over the next few months, a senior defense official says the department hopes to see “increases in real terms” in those areas.

While noting DoD does not control the Coast Guard budget, the official, speaking on background, said “we’re certainly encouraging increased funding not just for the Coast Guard, but for the State Department’s foreign military funding. I don’t have the figures at my fingertips.”

In a speech Sept. 29, Carter laid out his priorities for the next step of the Pacific rebalance, including increased military exercises, greater Coast Guard engagement in the region, and development of cyber capabilities.

A day later, after concluding a Sept. 30 meeting of the ASEAN defense ministers in Hawaii, Carter announced a trio of deliverables that are in line with the first two of those focuses areas.

However, a second defense official described all three initiatives as fairly broad, with details to still be worked out.

First, the US Navy will host a maritime domain awareness exercise next year in order to improve information sharing capabilities among the ASEAN nations. Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen told reporters after the meeting that he was “fully supportive” of doing a new exercise in 2017, noting “we believe that the more you exercise together, you build confidence.”

Second, representatives from ASEAN will travel to Florida to visit the US Joint Interagency Task Force South, which coordinates anti-drug efforts between US agencies, to learn about potential tactics and techniques. This will play into the Coast Guard role, the second defense official said.

And third, Carter will request the US-funded Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies to host an ASEAN counterterrorism workshop in 2017, in order to identify gaps that may exist in the fight against violent extremism in the Pacific. Once again, the Coast Guard will play a role here, as the report will consider inter-agency approaches as well.

“With regard to the Coast Guard, we think increased cooperation in maritime law enforcement and maritime security through coast guard interactions will be an extremely useful tool for us,” the first defense official said. “We’ve seen a lot of Chinese Coast Guard activity out there. The regional players will need to strengthen their own coast guards.

“That is why we are transferring, for example, excess US Coast Guard vessels to the Philippines, probably to Vietnam as well. We will be working with regional players, with ASEAN claimants, to build their capacity in maritime law enforcement and coast guard.”