“Ed Case Image”
The Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Report (QDR), released in Washington, D.C. today, clearly highlights Hawaii’s expanding role in our nation’s defense and affects a range of military and civilian operations in the islands ranging from shipbuilding to more mobile forces ready to deploy to trouble spots around the world.
The QDR confirms what we all know: the combination of global terrorism and China’s rapidly growing military might requires that Hawaii’s role in our nation’s defense be accelerated. The QDR also advances the forward positioning of far more mobile forces in Hawaii and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region that can react on a combined-forces basis to threats in Asia-Pacific and beyond.
The QDR is a periodic review by the senior leaders of the Department of Defense (DoD), both civilian and military, that intends to look at the big picture of where and how the U.S. must defend itself going forward. The last QDR was issued in 2001.
The report focuses on two realities: international terrorism and China. It continues the ongoing adjustment in the global posture of U.S. military forces “by moving way from a static defense in obsolete Cold War garrison, and placing emphasis on the ability to surge quickly to trouble spots across the globe.
Here is a few points highlighted in response to the strategy presented in the QDR:
”Hawaii’s Strategic Location”
Hawaii has always been a central strategic location for our nation’s defense, especially over the last decades as we have turned our attention to the Asia-Pacific region. Our obligation to our country now requires that we step up our responsibilities as well as continue our great civilian/military cooperation of the last decades.
“Jointness” and the presence of all military branches in Hawaii. The presence of all service branches in Hawaii will definitely help the Pentagon achieve its mandate of increased “jointness” — the ability of all branches working together and interacting much more than in the past. The presence of the regional security operations center — a cutting-edge intelligence facility on Oahu — which will be a headquarters for many of the classified activities undertaken by both the DoD and other intelligence agencies in the Pacific Region, is just one example of an increase in “jointness,” not only in the DoD, but throughout the federal government.
Hawaii is already the location of the world’s largest unified, or joint, command which will be called upon to provide worldwide leadership in the Pentagon’s desire to improve the interaction among the different branches of our military. Plans for a joint warfighting center — supported by Sen. Daniel Inouye — and the regional security operations center for intelligence — gathering will further enhance Hawaii’s role as a military command center.
”Increased Role of Brigade Combat Teams”
The ODR envisions an increased role nationally for our reserve and guard components, continuing the melding of active, reserve and guard that we’ve already seen in Hawaii’s military troop support in Iraq and Afghanistan.
”Shipbuilding for Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.”
The DoD is seeking to build a larger naval fleet that includes 11 carrier strike groups and to provide stability for the shipbuilding industry. This specific recommendation in the QDR bodes well for our nation’s shipbuilding industry and, in particular, the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, whose future role had been questioned in the recent BRAC discussions.
Enhances Pearl Harbor’s role as a possible homeport for an aircraft carrier group. The QDR seeks to increase the number of aircraft carriers stationed in the Asia-Pacific region from five to at least six, indicating the need to continue looking at Pearl Harbor as the homeport for an aircraft carrier group.
Improving contracting opportunities for Hawaii’s small businesses. As a member of the House Committee on Small Business, I welcome the renewed commitment reflected in the QDR to improve the way our military facilitates contracting opportunities with businesses. This commitment offers the prospect of improved procurement procedures that will grow defense contracting with small businesses here in Hawaii. Federal procurement too often has been an unrealized opportunity for our small businesses.
The QDR will now serve as the basis for DoD’s overall decisions on basing, force positioning, systems purchase and operation, and budgeting. Case said it will also be most useful in supporting increased defense expenditures in Hawaii across all services, as well as increased defense aid of impacted state services such as education and transportation.
”’Congressman Ed Case is a Democrat representing the Second District of Hawaii.”’
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