Secretary of Defense Mattis, Remarks at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Change of Command Ceremony

Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis
May 30, 2018

America’s National Defense Strategy is a roadmap for the American military and it acknowledges this reality, taking a clear-eyed look at the world as it is, not how we would wish it to be. Our 2018 National Defense Strategy is the first of its kind in a decade, and it acknowledges the Pacific challenges and signals America’s resolve and lasting commitment to the Indo-Pacific.

America’s vision is shared by most nations in the region. For every state, sovereignty is respected, no matter its size and it’s a region open to investment and free, fair and reciprocal trade not bound by any nation’s predatory economics or threat of coercion, for the Indo-Pacific has many belts and many roads.

America continues to invest vigorously in Indo-Pacific stability, bolstering the free and open rules-based international order that has enabled this region to grow and to thrive for over 70 years. While we are prepared to face any who would seek to challenge America’s resolve, our National Defense Strategy is not a strategy of confrontation.

Rather, it is a balance of idealism, pragmatism and cooperation. We will continue to seek out opportunities for cooperation and open dialogue with our competitors when it aligns with our international interests and the interest of allies, partners and stability.

And we will always be seeking peace from a position of strength. We will also continue further strengthening existing alliances and fostering new partnerships in the region, for these form a fundamental cornerstone of our strategic vision, a shared vision respectful of all nations sovereignty, and allowing us to reinforce a resilient security architecture capable of confronting shared threats, be they terrorism or an inhibition of free trade or humanitarian disasters that can befall any nation.

Relationships with our Pacific and Indian Ocean allies and partners have proven critical to maintaining regional stability. We stand by our partners and support their sovereign decisions, because all nations large and small are essential to the region if we’re to sustain stability in ocean areas critical to global peace.

Further, in recognition of the increasing connectivity, the Indian and Pacific Oceans, today we rename the U.S. Pacific Command to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. Over many decades, this command has repeatedly adapted to changing circumstance, and today carries that legacy forward as America focuses west.