Indo-Asia-Pacific View

Harry B. Harris, Jr. Admiral,
USN U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND

Dear Readers,

Welcome to Indo-Asia-Pacific Defense FORUM’s fourth-quarter edition for 2017, which examines contemporary definitions of deterrence amid the ever-changing security threats in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Deterrence has taken on a new meaning as we move well beyond the Cold War era and approach the third decade of this century. In the Indo-Asia-Pacific and elsewhere, new and more varied threats of greater magnitude emerge at a faster pace and often with more intensity than in previous times. The challenges range from the pursuit of nuclear-armed missiles by North Korea and China’s militarization of the South China Sea, to the terror tactics of violent Islamic extremists in the Philippines and the return of foreign fighters from Iraq and Syria. Allies and partners in the region need to work together to better understand these menaces and develop new ways to effectively suppress and counter them.

This issue of FORUM opens with an overview of the multi-domain battle concept and how it applies to multilateral relationships and responses. Other articles address such topics as how India is deterring internal threats to security and how Russia factors in the balance of power in the region. We also examine how a multifaceted type of deterrence has emerged in the submarine arms race in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. The dynamics of this contest help illustrate how nuclear, unconventional, and conventional deterrence become increasingly intertwined in the prosecution of security strategies.

Emerging technologies also factor in deterrence. New weapons can help lessen threats, but quickly advancing technologies can accelerate the implementation of asymmetrical tactics and capabilities in warfare. Moreover, traditional retaliatory strikes against actors who carry out today’s terror and cyber attacks are becoming increasingly challenging.

Allies and partners in the region must continually develop new strategies and methods to dissuade such threats and peacefully resolve conflicts. Better deterrents will convince potential adversaries that any action against our collective security interests will lead to a decisive and overwhelming reponse. Developing new ways to respond more quickly to these new threats will also strengthen alliances and partnerships.

I hope that you find this edition insightful and thought-provoking, and I welcome your comments. Please contact the FORUM staff at iapdf@iapdforum.com with your perspectives.

All the best,

HarryHarrisSigHarry B. Harris, Jr.

Admiral, USN

Commander, U.S. Pacific Command