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    US Military Pivots to the Pacific Current Location : HomePage > News

    US Military Pivots to the Pacific

    * : * : admin * : 2014-03-22 * : 0
    United States officials recently fined Asiana Airlines $500,000 for failing to help victims of a plane crash last year. Three people died and more than 180 were injured when the plane hit a seawall while landing in San Francisco, California. US officials say Asiana failed to act quickly to assist the families of passengers involved in the crash. An earlier investigation found the communications among the plane's crew members may have been an issue.

    "Why would you have two pilots in the airplane if they aren't going to talk to each other?"

    We will hear more about that later in the program. And we report on changes the South Korean airline is making in its training for pilots.

    But first, we have a progress report on President Barack Obama's plan to increase the US military's presence in East Asia and the Pacific. Some officials have described the move as a "pivot" to the Asia-Pacific area.

    "We have to do better at being able to communicate with each other in a way that allows us to not lead to miscalculation that won't be productive in the security environment."

    We are talking about pivots and pilots today on As It Is from VOA Learning English.

    US Military Continues "Pivot" to Asia-Pacific Area

    Two years ago, President Obama announced plans to redirect America's defense policy. He said the military would reduce its presence in the Middle East, and instead send more forces to the Asia-Pacific area. But the US military is now facing tests from China and its growing military power.


    USS George Washington is escorted into a navy port in Busan, South Korea, Oct. 4, 2013.
    US military officials say American influence in the Asia-Pacific area is not growing weaker. But recent actions by China show that influence is being tested. China's military has established an aircraft identification zone over the East China Sea. And in a recent incident, Chinese and US navy ships almost crashed into one another.

    The Obama administration wants to move US forces from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the Asia-Pacific area. But China has been building up its forces in the Pacific. It has sent a new aircraft carrier to the area, and developed new missile technology.

    Admiral Samuel Locklear is the commander of US forces in the Pacific. He says American and Chinese forces will likely increase their dealings with one another in the area. So he thinks the two militaries should increase their contacts.

    Defense experts question whether the American pivot to Asia has, in fact, resulted in a strengthening of forces in the Pacific. Barry Pavel is with the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC.

    "We have the deployment of 2,500 or so Marines to northern Australia, that'll be there on a routine basis, not a very big nor significant deployment in my estimation. There's a couple of ships. I think they were littoral combat ships that were discussed as being home ported in Singapore, and then there really hasn't been anything else."

    The US military has deployed a combat ship to Singapore. And it sent the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to replace another carrier at Yokosuka in Japan.

    American officials say they could add more ships, equipment, and troops in the future.

    But last month, the Obama administration announced plans to cut the US military to its smallest size since the end of World War II. Experts say that could affect any future military moves in the Asia-Pacific area.

    You are listening to As It Is. I'm Jim Tedder in Washington.

    We now turn to our story about Asiana, South Korea's second-largest passenger airline. The company is changing its training for pilots in an effort to persuade crews to talk more openly. Steve Ember has our report.