Our challenge is to project U.S. military power in the Pacific that will both protect our homeland and enhance strategic and emerging alliances throughout the region. The assistant commandant of the Marine Corps testified, “I think we will assume great risk in regions that are critical to the United States if we are not there, we are not forward deployed, we are not forward engaged, we are not assuring our allies, and we are not deterring our potential foes.”
As we in Congress work with military experts to plan a strategy for the 21st century, we face many hurdles. The security, prosperity and vital interests of the United States are increasingly tied to other countries. This realization has to be the basis for pre-emptive planning and long-term security throughout the Pacific. The effect of missing this opportunity is far greater in the long run than any immediate cost posed now.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.