Donilon: Obama Demonstrates ‘All-in’ Asia Strategy

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2011 — Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor Tom Donilon dis­cussed the administration’s “all-in” Asia strat­e­gy dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Indone­sia today.

Donilon said the president’s week­long engage­ments with Asian lead­ers cul­mi­nat­ing in the East Asia Sum­mit “is the imple­men­ta­tion of a sub­stan­tial and impor­tant reori­en­ta­tion in Amer­i­can glob­al strat­e­gy.”

The sum­mit has occurred annu­al­ly since 2005, with the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia par­tic­i­pat­ing for the first time this year along with Japan, South Korea, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Thai­land, the Philip­pines, Brunei Darus­salam, Cam­bo­dia, Indone­sia, Laos, Malaysia, Myan­mar, Sin­ga­pore, Viet­nam, India and Chi­na.

Donilon not­ed that from the president’s host­ing of the 19th annu­al Asia-Pacif­ic Eco­nom­ic Coop­er­a­tion lead­ers’ meet­ing in Hon­olu­lu through a trip to Can­ber­ra and Dar­win in Aus­tralia and cul­mi­nat­ing with the sum­mit in Bali, Oba­ma worked this week with 25 nations “in the fastest-grow­ing eco­nom­ic region in the world,” and attend­ed for­mal bilat­er­al meet­ings with 10 coun­tries’ heads of state.

A White House fact sheet on the sum­mit not­ed while the gathering’s tra­di­tion­al agen­da includes region­al con­cerns such as edu­ca­tion, finance, ener­gy and the envi­ron­ment, Oba­ma called for dis­cus­sions on secu­ri­ty top­ics includ­ing mar­itime coop­er­a­tion and nuclear non­pro­lif­er­a­tion. The pres­i­dent also pledged sup­port to advance human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief in the region.

Donilon said the admin­is­tra­tion has worked for three years on a strate­gic rebal­anc­ing of what offi­cials viewed as an “under­weight­ed” U.S. involve­ment in Asia.

“We set about, through three lines of quite spe­cif­ic work, to address that under­weight­ing,” he said.

Donilon out­lined those approach­es: strength­en­ing alliances and secu­ri­ty part­ner­ships; engag­ing with emerg­ing region­al pow­er cen­ters such as Chi­na, India and Indone­sia; and par­tic­i­pat­ing in and help­ing to form region­al, mul­ti­lat­er­al eco­nom­ic, diplo­mat­ic and secu­ri­ty insti­tu­tions.

The pres­i­dent has giv­en “clear guid­ance” that the Unit­ed States will allo­cate the resources to main­tain a strong secu­ri­ty pres­ence in Asia, Donilon said, in the midst of what he described as a $489 bil­lion spend­ing reduc­tion over 10 years.

“With Asia, that means being all in, and doing the things that are required here with the resources that are nec­es­sary,” the nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor said.

“From our per­spec­tive, we’ve been able to pos­i­tive­ly advance each of the key goals that we had for the course of this trip,” he added. “And I think that’s been in the U.S. inter­est.”

Defense-relat­ed announce­ments dur­ing Obama’s Asia trip includ­ed an agree­ment with Aus­tralia to estab­lish a rota­tion­al deploy­ment of Marines to train with Aus­tralian mil­i­tary forces and a trans­fer and upgrade of 24 Excess Defense Arti­cle F-16s to the Indone­sian air force.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)