If a healthy human-based mutual understanding can be fostered on a regular basis, then the US–Japan security relationship will continue to be the cornerstone of stability in East Asia. The lessons suggested in this article are not only applicable to the US–Japan alliance but also apply to the bilateral and multilateral relationships throughout the Indo-Pacific and across the globe. That same concept of sustainable interpersonal relationships as applied to the US–Japan relationship also holds true of other security relationships. Interpersonal relationships and cultural and language competence will be vital to sustainable security relationships continuing to be an asymmetric advantage in regions around the globe.
Dispersed operational maneuver and sustainment enabled by bases, places, and faces ensures People's Republic of China (PRC) decision makers can have little confidence in being able to completely, or even sufficiently, prevent US, ally, and partner forces from remaining viable even during a PRC onslaught.
While national and regional leadership shifts, strategic competition between the United States and the PRC will remain the defining feature of the global geopolitical environment for decades to come.
As Beijing continues to assert itself through malign operations, activities, and investments in the economic, political, and military realms to undermine the international rules-based order—ironically the very rules-based order that has enabled China’s rise and which has rescued tens of millions from tyranny and lifted billions out of poverty—the United States must retain a robust, interoperable, and forward-present force that assures America’s vast array of allies and partners and deters China from undermining the free and open Indo-Pacific.
Current ally and partner capabilities are especially appropriate within the umbrella of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and processes. While ISR is integral to war fighting, it is also the capability that is absolutely critical during competition as well as Phase 0 and Phase I shaping and deterring operations. While America needs strong ally and partner war-fighting capability, the ISR realm allows for close work in areas that prevent and predict conflict or provocation.
The views and opinions expressed or implied in JIPA are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents.