Airpower and Engagement in Southeast Asia

As the Air Force puts more effort into its “partnering culture,” and reaches out to emerging allies around the world, the service is making inroads in regions where its presence has not been comparatively historically robust, Heidi Grant, the Air Force’s deputy undersecretary for international affairs, told the Daily Report. One emerging area of focus has been Southeast Asia and the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, two of which are US treaty allies. In a Sept. 17 interview, Grant said she’s visited seven of the 10 ASEAN nations in the last two years. “These visits have been just to have discussions, to engage and ask, ‘What is it you are looking for, how do you want to partner with the US?'” she said. Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Hawk Carlisle agreed with Grant’s assessment, telling the Daily Report on Sept. 18 that PACAF is growing relationships with Cambodia and Vietnam and building on a “longstanding” relationship with Singapore. Carlisle said he was recently invited to visit Brunei as well. “My impression in ASEAN is that it is going very well,” he said.