U.S. Defense Strategy in the Indo-Pacific
Admiral Jonathan Greenert discusses his recent publication “Tenets of a Regional Defense Strategy: Considerations for the Indo-Pacific.” The Indo-Pacific at present is a hotspot of political turmoil and territorial disputes. Discovering solutions for these issues requires critical strategic planning and innovation. Fresh from hosting a panel event of international navy chiefs discussing challenges in the maritime commons, Admiral Greenert provides insights into the diverse complexities of the Indo-Pacific and explores possible avenues for U.S. policy.
Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert holds the John M. Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies at NBR. At NBR, Admiral Greenert informs debates on critical issues in the Indo-Pacific through briefings to congressional members, military, media, and administration officials. Prior to joining NBR, he served as the 30th Chief of Naval Operations from 2011 to 2015.
Q1 [02:30]: How did you get started, and why were you interested in the Navy?
Q2 [10:10]: Regarding your recent publication, Tenets of a Regional Defense Strategy, you note, two poles. On the one hand, North Korea is the most pressing national security issue. On the other hand, China is the greatest long-term security challenge. Between the two, how do you balance prioritizing resources and attention between these two challenges?
NOTE: The discussion references NBR Special Report no. 72, “Tenets of a Regional Defense Strategy: Considerations for the Indo-Pacific.”
Q3 [12:03]: One of the places of growing challenge that you’ve brought a lot of attention to compared to other experts is the East China Sea. What are the main challenges facing the United States in that region?
Q4 [17:07]: Bringing in our allies and partners, at today’s event we had retired or active-duty admirals representing Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and the United States. One of the common themes they raised was the importance of joint naval operations. Why is coordination and cooperation so important here?
Q5 [21:12]: Among our allies and partners, there is an interest in maintaining the sanctity of the commons. Of the number of domains you’ve mentioned (humanitarian operations, nuclear, natural disasters), do the allies and partners share American priorities in the maritime domain?
Q6 [24:50]: Since 1973, the United States has had decreasing levels in troop presence overall. How would you recommend to our leaders, the issue of decreasing troop presence, on the one hand, and the need for continued or greater U.S. engagement in the Indo-Pacific, on the other?
Q7 [28:39]: Do you have any advice for aspiring naval officers?
Q8 [31:32]: Pulling from your 40+ years of involvement with the Navy, how does an experience in the Navy today look different from when you first joined?
Q9 [34:26]: What book would you recommend as a must-read for anyone interested in strategic planning?
Q10 [35:45]: What is the book that you’ve gifted to others the most?
NOTE: The discussion references the following:
- The NBR event Addressing Challenges in the Maritime Commons 2018
- “Tenets of a Regional Defense Strategy: Considerations for the Indo-Pacific” by Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert
- The Influence of Seapower Upon History by Alfred Thayer Mahan
- The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King by Walter R. Borneman
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