Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, USN Commander, U.S. Pacific Command
Welcome to the Asia Pacific Defense FORUM’s thirdquarter edition for 2012, my first as the commander of U.S. Pacific Command. I’m pleased to provide a few thoughts on this issue, which examines the global challenge of violent extremism, paying particular attention to its destabilizing effect on this region. The articles within describe the origins of violent extremism, methods to counter its threat and, most importantly, potential long-term solutions. As violent extremist organizations (VEOs) propagate their radical ideologies, responsible nations must come together to mitigate the effects of their malicious agendas throughout the Asia Pacific.
Regional security approaches using both bilateral and multilateral dialogues, governed by comprehensive national strategies, are essential to countering this strategic challenge. One need only look to the Philippines for evidence of the effectiveness of bilateral efforts. For the past eight years, Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines has operated in a strictly noncombat role in support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which has been largely successful in its efforts to contain the VEOs Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah.
In line with this approach, U.S. Pacific Command conducts capacitybuilding activities with South Asian partners focused on contributing to their militaries’ counterterrorism self-sufficiency and containing Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT). LeT presents a particularly acute problem in the subregion. Responsible for many attacks in India, including the horrific 2008 attacks in Mumbai, LeT is affiliated with al-Qaida and other VEOs and contributes to terrorist operations in Afghanistan. To help counter the threat, U.S. Pacific Command provided funding in fiscal year 2011 for Mumbai counterterrorism specialists to participate in training and exercises throughout the United States via the Indian Engagement Initiative. U.S. Pacific Command remains committed to capacity-building activities such as the initiative to advance our fight against violent extremism and improve Asia-Pacific security.
We hope you find this publication insightful and thought-provoking, and we welcome your comments. Please contact us at [email protected] with your perspectives.