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Applying NATO Concepts and Lessons Learned to the U.S. Rebalance Towards the Asia Pacific

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Technical Report

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Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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President Obama, former Secretary of State Clinton and the Department of Defense have clearly communicated the intent to execute a strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. What has not been as clearly delineated is how the U.S. might execute this rebalance. This paper examines three examples from the NATO alliance construct that may serve as potential avenues to pursue to successfully meet security challenges worldwide.NATOs Smart Defence initiative points to resource pooling amongst partner nations. While there is no NATO-like construct in Asia, the common bond of bilateral alliances and relationships with the U.S. and the capabilities it brings to the table can link Asian allies together in a way that could more efficiently leverage the unique resources and capabilities of each. Doing this could allow the U.S. to identify and allot those resources it has that its Asian allies do not and shift those to more efficiently and effectively globally align its force structure. NATOs operation in Libya put resource pooling into operational practice. The campaign was by no means perfect, but it did show that working together in times of calm and peace leads to more efficient and effective operations in times of crisis. While a kinetic combat operation such as Libya is likely a bridge too far in Asia, a similar construct could certainly be employed for humanitarian relief, disaster response, counter-terrorism, and other similar types of operations.However the U.S. may go forward in a strategic rebalance to Asia, fully engaging China is a key component. Applying the best examples from the NATO-Russia Council, while learning from the less-successful efforts can provide the framework to build a cooperative relationship.

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