U.S. REPORT: GUAM TO BECOME PACIFIC SECURITY HUB

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Increased military presence, strengthened alliances

By Mar-Vic Cagurangan HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Feb. 3, 2010) – THE Pentagon has disclosed its plan to transform Guam into "a hub for security activities" in the Asia-Pacific region as the United States heightens its alert posture to "deter and defeat" regional aggressors.

The Pentagon's 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, released Monday, outlines the United States’ defense strategies that include strengthening of regional alliances and foreign partnerships to maintain an "appropriately tailored military presence that serves a constructive role in maintaining regional stability."

"To achieve the objectives of the defense strategy, U.S. military capabilities must be postured to defend the United States from external threats, prevail in current conflicts and ongoing operations, deter and prevent adversary aggression and other challenges, assure allies and partners of U.S. security commitments, respond to contingencies, and support security cooperation and capacity-building activities," the defense review states.

The quadrennial study was released amid the uncertain fate of the 2006 accord between the United States and Japan which involves the relocation of over 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

A component of the Pentagon’s defense posturing plan is to "continue working with Japan to implement the bilateral Realignment Roadmap agreement that will ensure a life-of-the-alliance presence of U.S. forces in Japan and transform Guam, the westernmost sovereign territory of the United States, into a hub for security activities in the region."

The Pentagon also seeks to "explore opportunities for a more forward-deployed presence that supports increased multilateral maritime security cooperation and enhanced capabilities for assured access to the global commons."

The United States is enhancing its partnerships and alliances with the Republic of Korea, Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore on issues such as counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, and support to humanitarian assistance operations in the region.

"The United States remains a nation at war. The outcome of today's conflicts will directly shape the global security environment for decades to come, and prevailing in current operations constitutes the department's top priority," the study says.

The United States has renewed its efforts to wipe out Al Qaeda and Taliban and eliminate their safe havens in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"By the end of 2010, approximately 100,000 American troops will be fighting to deny the Taliban its goal of overthrowing Afghanistan's government, and by so doing prevent Al Qaeda from reestablishing the safe haven from which it prepared the attacks of September 11, 2001," the study says.

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