As US ends its combat operations in Afghanistan, it is prepared to transition to a limited mission focused on counter-terrorism and training, advising, and assisting Afghan security forces, it said. (Agencies)
"We will continue efforts to help stabilise Central and Southwest Asia and deepen our engagement in the Indian Ocean region to bolster our rebalance to Asia," the Defence Department said.
The Pentagon acknowledged that maintaining US global posture and presence to support stability, security, and prosperity will become more challenging – but perhaps even more essential – in an environment of constrained resources.
"Supporting the broader US rebalance to the region, United States will maintain a robust footprint in Northeast Asia while enhancing our presence in Oceania, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean. By 2020, 60 percent of US Navy assets will be stationed in the Pacific, including enhancements to our critical naval presence in Japan," the report said.
As United States completes its transition in Afghanistan and looks to the future, the international security environment remains uncertain and complicated, the Pentagon noted.
"United States will likely face a broad array of threats and opportunities and must prepare to address both effectively in the coming years," it said.
The Asia-Pacific region, the report said, is increasingly central to global commerce, politics, and security. It also expressed anxiety over rapid pace and comprehensive scope of China's military modernisation.
"Defence spending in this region continues to rise. As nations in the region continue to develop their military and security capabilities, there is greater risk that tensions over long-standing sovereignty disputes or claims to natural resources will spur disruptive competition or erupt into conflict, reversing the trends of rising regional peace, stability, and prosperity," the Pentagon warned.
"In particular, the rapid pace and comprehensive scope of China’s military modernisation continues, combined with a relative lack of transparency and openness from China's leaders regarding both military capabilities and intentions," the Pentagon said.
Iran remains a destabilising actor in the region that threatens security by defying international law and pursuing capabilities that would allow it to develop nuclear weapons, it said.
As US ends its combat operations in Afghanistan, it is prepared to transition to a limited mission focused on counter-terrorism and training, advising, and assisting Afghan security forces, it said.