The Trump administration’s defense-budget increase should come as welcome news to Asian countries worried about mounting threats to regional order. A $54 billion boost this year would improve U.S. military readiness and pay for investments in new platforms and innovative technologies.
The Pentagon is now at work on the details, and the precise contours of its submission to Congress remain a work in progress. As the process unfolds, the administration should use the opportunity to reassure key Asian nations.
Security challenges in the Asia-Pacific are rising. North Korea continues to make advances in ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads, and the day is nearing when Pyongyang can deliver a nuclear payload to the continental U.S. China’s two-decade program of military modernization continues, and Beijing has made major investments in anti-access and area-denial capabilities aimed at backing U.S. forces away from the western Pacific. Russia has become more regionally active, conducting joint exercises with China’s navy in the South China Sea and reportedly establishing a strategic bomber division for Pacific patrols.
Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal.