Leaning on Allies and Embracing New Partners

JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii—During his visit here on Monday and Tuesday as part of his broader tour of the Asia-Pacific region, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh—as well as senior Pacific Air Forces leaders—emphasized the importance of close cooperation with regional allies. The Air Force is getting smaller and will require these partners—especially in a security environment like the Asia-Pacific. “We will need our partners more than ever; we are telling them we are going to rely on them,” said Welsh. PACAF Commander Gen. Herbert Carlisle said there is room to improve high-fidelity information sharing and joint operations with countries such as Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. Just as important, the Air Force must build on new engagement opportunities with countries that have not had as robust a security relationship with the United States, he said. Carlisle noted that “very productive talks” are ongoing with the Philippines regarding cooperation. PACAF’s relationship with Vietnam holds great promise, he said. There are even nascent “low-level discussions” with Burmese military officials on what kind of military-to-military relationship the Burmese want with the United States.