Members of the House Armed Services Committee met with ambassadors from six Asian and Pacific nations on Wednesday for a roundtable discussion regarding the Defense Department’s planned shift to the Asia-Pacific region. The roundtable is part of a larger rebalance oversight initiative led by Seapower Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii). In a joint statement released Nov. 13, Forbes and Hanabusa said they were encouraged by allied and partner ambassadors who helped them better understand the Asia-Pacific’s security developments. “Strong and consistent alliances and partnerships are the key to America’s interests in the region. … US policy towards the Asia-Pacific region remains a bipartisan effort, and we look forward to our ongoing dialogue as the [House] Armed Services Committee continues its important oversight,” they wrote. HASC Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), and HASC Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), also participated in the discussion, as did representatives from Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, and New Zealand.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.