Guam - With a goal of discussing the United States role in an emerging security environment, close to a dozen national security experts gathered today for what's considered an unprecedented discussion on Guam and the Asia Pacific.
After months of preparation, the Guam US Asia Security Alliance (GUASA) formally kicked off its two day roundtable conference on the United States role in an emerging Asia security environment. "We got together a group of what I consider some of the brightest and most expert people on the subject of security in East Asia to come out to Guam," explained Carl Ford. Himself included, Ford, a former assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, says having this distinguished panel of experts and analysts come to Guam helps in seeing firsthand the lay of the land along with talking to island leaders about the strategic environment and U.S. military presence in East Asia both in the past and moving forward.
"We want to see what the mood, what people are saying about the rebalancing, what are the problems and concerns about the buildup, all of those questions are important to us because our strategy in east Asia is based on the bedrock is that the people of the United States and Guam all support it, and they think it's the best way to protect security interests. And the only way to do that is to ask people," he said
Patrick Cronin, the senior director of Asia Pacific Security Program at the Center for A New American Security meanwhile says his visit aims to learn how to build an enduring sustainable serious presence in Guam and discuss broader strategy and policy of the U.S. Government. He said, "I'm here mostly to talk about the broader strategy and policy of the united sates government, so the broader strategy - how it developed over time, why Asia has mattered, why it matters now and why it's going to matter more in the future and why Guam and why our presence in the Asia Pacific are so important to allowing the United States to have a positive influence on Asian Pacific security."
The two-day conference featured several prominent island leaders from officials from the Administration, the Chamber of Commerce, the construction industry and the military. Ford says once the conference is wrapped a report will be distributed to those who's opinion holds weight and can influence in the nation's capital. "This is designed to try to influence people to think more about Guam, more about how important it is to have a strategy in East Asia is and we'll see. We think we're going to have some success but the proof is in the pudding," he said.
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo meanwhile delivered today's keynote address, offering her congressional perspective on the value of this strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific Region. The conference wraps up Friday at The Hyatt.