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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Department of Defense Briefing for Foreign Journalists

Elbridge Colby, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development
Washington Foreign Press Center
Washington, DC
January 29, 2018




Date: 01/29/2018 Description: Elbridge Colby, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development, briefs for foreign media on the Department of Defense's 2018 National Defense Strategy. The National Defense Strategy, the Secretary of Defense's preeminent strategy guidance, articulates how the Department of Defense will contribute to the President's priorities set forth by the National Security Strategy. - State Dept Image

MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for waiting, and welcome back to the Foreign Press Center. Today we are very pleased that we were able to reschedule our briefing on the National Defense Strategy with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Colby. He will be giving a brief introduction to the report and then taking questions about the strategy documents. So I’ll turn it over to him for remarks, and then come back for the questions. Thank you very much.

MR COLBY: Great. Thank you very much, and thank you all for being here this morning. I look forward to your questions. Let me just reiterate --

MODERATOR: May I remind, also, we’re not taking photos. We are off camera.

QUESTION: Okay.

MODERATOR: My apologies. Sorry, sir.

MR COLBY: No problem, thank you. Just let me reiterate that I’m pleased to answer questions related to the National Defense Strategy. If you have questions on more specific issues or other issues I’ll have to refer you to my colleague, Tom Crosson. So hopefully we can stay on focus there.

And I’ll start out with a brief set of overarching remarks, but hopefully you’ve all had the chance to consult the strategy itself, so we’ll go to questions then.

The National Defense Strategy is the Secretary’s preeminent strategic guidance document, so it will drive the Department of Defense for the coming years. The strategy implements the President’s National Security Strategy, which is of course the overarching strategy, foreign policy, national security document for the U.S. Government for the administration. And I want to highlight a few themes from the National Security Strategy that the National Defense Strategy really particularly carries forward. The way to see the NDS is as a – in a sense, an implementing document of the NSS vision, the President’s NSS vision.

One of those themes from the National Security Strategy is the U.S. commitment to sustain its alliance and partnership constellation, and to strengthen it as appropriate; to promote our influence, and to – more importantly, to sustain the free and open orders that are the basis for our – the objective for our foreign policy – have been since the last 75 years, and that I think form the basis for the aspiration – the foreign policy aspirations of our allies, our partners, and a range of other countries who share visions of free and open orders in – especially in key regions of the world.

From that vision, the National Security Strategy emphasizes the importance of peace through strength. This is an old theme, but it’s reiterated strongly here. Secretary Mattis is very keen on sort of – classic sort of key strategic thinking, and I think this sort of mindset is also – reflects his thought, which is peace through strength. And the view in the NSS, and carried forward in the NDS, that the United States sends allies and partners and those who share our vision of free and open orders are best positioned if we have the military advantage in the key regions that we’ve been focused on at least since the 1940s. So the NDS really carries forward that vision of sustaining and maintaining and extending American military advantage, along with our allies and partners, not so that we can use it for any kind of malign or aggressive purposes, but to sustain those free and open orders that the President and others -- Secretary -- have talked about.

At the same time, the National Security Strategy recognizes the reality of increasing assertiveness and capability on the part of what the strategy calls revisionist rivals, particularly China and Russia. And the reality of ongoing competition with those countries in particular, as well as with Iran and others, North Korea as well, so that we are already in a state of competition. This is, again, a strategy perspective that recognizes the reality of competition to avoid confrontation; it is not a strategy of confrontation, it’s a strategy that recognizes the reality of competition so that we can maintain our interests and keep the peace.

And then finally, another theme from the National Security Strategy that links very closely to the National Defense Strategy is the importance of adapting our architecture of allies and partners, both creating more integration, strengthening of that network, but also at the same time calibrating it to the realities of the new era which requires addressing the burden-sharing issue and a more rational and equitable arrangement with our traditional and our new allies and partners.

So the NDS fulfills or carries forward the defense part of the NSS vision, and I want to emphasize that the – it is a National Defense Strategy, so its priorities are related to ensuring that the defense objectives of the United States are met. It is not a comprehensive treatment of American foreign policy interests. So just because a country or an area or given dynamic is not mentioned in the NDS doesn’t mean it’s not important to the United States. It means that from a defense perspective, it’s not the – sort of the problem that we are trying to address.

And that’s how to read the strategy is in saying, it’s not a strategy that addresses every single issue; but it’s a strategy that says what are the challenges to our traditional model that we are trying to extend into the future, which is to maintain that military advantage for those free and open orders, along with our allies and partners. And then to focus on that and to rectify challenges there.

And the particular problem that the strategy identifies – and the Secretary is very keen on focusing on problem definition – the problem that the strategy identifies is the reality that China and Russia in particular have been working assiduously over the last different time periods – and the strategy treats China and Russia very differently; they’re very different actors with different interests, different approaches, and so forth – but there is a common attempt to develop military capabilities and systems and doctrines and so forth to undermine the American way of war, if you will, from the post-Cold War era; the American way of projecting power to defend our allies’ interests and key interests, particularly in the three key regions the NDS focuses on: the Western Pacific or Indo-Pacific in particular, Europe, and the Middle East.

So that is the problem that the strategy seeks to identify. It does not seek to put ourselves into a position of confrontation or animosity or hostility with China or Russia, but it recognizes that China and Russia have been working to – specifically to undermine our military capabilities and have been active in what some call the gray zone. Obviously, China has been militarizing features in the South China Sea and so forth and otherwise using elements of its newfound influence to gain coercive leverage in the Indo-Pacific region, and we are concerned to make sure that China is – understands that even though it has growing military power, the United States, along with its allies and partners, has the ability to deter and defend its interests. Not because we, again, are seeking confrontation, but because we want – we believe good fences make good neighbors and that that is the best way to sustain the free and open order we’ve worked so hard together to create.

And similarly in Russia, in the case of Russia, Russia has obviously used military force to change borders in the European area and has interfered in political and other domestic affairs of neighboring countries and has developed a military capability over the last 10 years designed to advance its interests. And similarly, good fences make good neighbors. The United States recognizes that that’s happened, and so we kind of soberly and in a businesslike fashion are going to ensure that Russia sees that the use of the military instrument would also be unavailing and definitely to its detriment rather than to its advantage.

So that’s the – sort of the problem is this erosion of our military advantage, which we still – the United States still fields the – I think the – without boasting, the world’s finest military force, without question, I think. But we recognize that we need to focus again on these basics, if you will, to ensure that no one doubts that we, along with our allies and partners, can deter and defend on behalf of our allies and partners.

And in particular, this will be carried forward in three lines of effort. First, the development of a more lethal, resilient, agile, and ready joint force. This includes in particular our forward forces becoming more combat credible, more prepared to deal with the realities of potential adversaries’ anti-access area denial networks, their more sophisticated military capabilities that we need our joint force to be – to adapt just as those forces have adapted.

Secondly, we will seek to strengthen our existing alliance and partnership constellation, even as we look for new opportunities to partner with countries with whom we may not have had as deep relations in the past. But any country who shares our vision of a free and open order should see this strategy as a strong affirmation of the deep and enduring American commitment to the Indo-Pacific, to the European theater, and to the Middle East in particular, to maintaining favorable balances of power. So we will be doing that, and we in a sense invite anyone who seeks to work with us in that shared approach to work with us. And, of course, we understand that one size does not fit all, so we are ready to work with different countries in different ways. But if you share that vision that we do of a respect for a country’s sovereignty, for respect for the kind of values the United States promotes, respect for un-coerced commerce and interactions among states, then I think you should see this strategy as a real, a very promising, and a very strong signal of our serious intent to maintain our – not just our interest and our hope in sustaining those free and open orders, but our seriousness of purpose in maintaining the military capability to back that up, of course, along with our economic ability and our shared capabilities and so forth.

And then finally, the third line of effort is a reform of the Department of Defense, which is a high priority. Happy to talk about that if people are interested.

Let me just conclude by reiterating that this is a strategy of what you might call principled realism, which is to say that it is a strategy that understands that the world is a complicated and an increasingly somewhat dangerous place, and that the best way to avoid war on bases that are amenable to us and those who share our views is to prepare for it.

And the Secretary has directed the force to be prepared for war precisely to avoid it. So it’s a strategy that is clear-eyed in seeking to compete with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, of course continue the struggle against violent terrorists and so forth, to – precisely to try to avoid confrontation. But if confrontation is the choice that our – that someone chooses, they should know that the American armed forces are ready and prepared for it.

So happy to take your questions.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Just to quickly remind FPC procedure, please wait for the mic and then please do identify yourself by name and outlet when do get the mic. Let’s start here and work across.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Good morning, Secretary Colby. I’m Luis Alonso with the AP. I cover Latin America in Washington. So I would like to ask you about the region. It’s a two-part question. In a general sense, could you please address areas of concern in the Western Hemisphere? How much of the U.S. influence has been impacted by Russian and Chinese outreach in the region?

And then the second part of the question is looking forward. When the report says that the U.S. will be deepening their relationship with regional countries, will the ultimate goal of the U.S. would be seeking to mitigate risk related to specific countries such as Venezuela that has been purchasing a lot of military Russian equipment? Thank you very much.

MR COLBY: Sure. I’ll defer the specific question about Venezuela to my colleagues. I would say that you’ll see that the Western Hemisphere is identified as one of the key regions for the United States. Of course, in some sense it is the most important region since we happen to be located here.

The way the strategy approaches the different regions is looking at the severity of the military challenge, if you will, to our established interest, to our established alliance and partnership networks. So the U.S. is concerned, quite concerned, about the activities of Russia and China in the Western Hemisphere. So we will continue to engage with countries in the region to try to strengthen their ability to act without any shadow of coercion or any kind of – and to combat some of the malign activities that may be the result of intervention in the region.

I will say I don’t think it’s – it’s not a negative vision of our role in Latin America in particular. I think it’s a positive vision. I think the Secretary is very keen to have a active agenda with Latin American countries who want to contribute both within the region to stability, to shared growth, to addressing common problems like drugs, obviously, guerilla activity, and so forth, that I think he wants to really carry this into a positive agenda so that we can have a shared vision of promoting this free and open order also in the Western Hemisphere. So I think more to come on that.

QUESTION: Thanks.

MODERATOR: Let’s go here and then to Dmitry.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you. I’m Gyuseok Jang from Christian Broadcasting System in Korea, and I have one general question in the context of the National Security Strategy. And so you are going to strengthen the alliance with the Korean Government fighting against North Korean threat. So on the other hand, you are going to have a negotiation about the burden sharing this year. And so how could you – this maybe conflict two issues. How could you reconcile these two issues? So – and that is my first question.

And I have one more specific question about this. So North Korea is going to hold military parade just a day before the Olympic begins. So how do you assess this North Korea as a threat? Do you see this as a kind of provocation, or as just a – as a normal action? Thank you.

MR COLBY: Sure. So on the second question, I’ll defer that to my colleagues. That’s not something I’m in a position to discuss. I thank you for asking on the first one. I think you’ve hit it. I mean, I think if you go into business with a friend, you don’t expect the relationship to be uneven. And I don’t want to speak particularly about the Korea context alone. I mean, I think if you look at the NATO context, I believe at the end of the Cold War the relationship was essentially 50 percent of spending was done by the United States and then 50 percent, I believe, by the remaining allies, roughly. And this was a very, very serious issue throughout the Cold War when the NATO alliance was under its most severe threat, and now it’s something on the order, I believe, of 75 percent to 25 percent. That’s not a natural relationship.

Similarly Korea, obviously when the United States and the Republic of Korea fought together in 1950, Korea was a couple dollars a day average GDP. Today Korea is one of the most advanced, sophisticated countries in the world. And of course, Korea does spend quite a lot on defense already, but I think a couple of things I’ll say. At one level, the United States spends, I believe, around between – just over 3 percent of its GDP on defense, essentially primarily to field a force that’s able to fight abroad, and usually along with our allies and partners to help them defend themselves. Obviously, for our interests as well. But that’s a large proportion. It’s a larger proportion than – than is the case in almost, I believe, any of our allies and partners.

So from a kind of equity point of view, given the economic challenges that – and I mean, obviously things are going well here in this country. But I think given the realities of the situation, from a – from an equity point of view, we have to calibrate. We have to re-engage with this discussion about equity in the burden-sharing arrangement in way that, if you go back to our history, it was often a spirited and often contentious discussion that was had among friends. And I think that’s how this conversation has re-emerged.

And then I think in particular what the National Defense Strategy is doing is taking that conversation about burden sharing and saying, how can we make it more businesslike, more practical, and how can we align it to our shared strategic vision. So the National Defense Strategy sets out of the U.S. strategic vision, and it’s saying we have a lot of challenges; we believe we can manage them, but we need more from our allies and partners.

And I think our allies and partners are already recognizing that reality, and we’re being candid here. I think the Secretary is saying, here’s our view, in a quite frank and candid fashion; and I think U.S. allies and partners should be able to look at this and say the Americans are thinking about this seriously, they are deeply committed to their traditional approach, their traditional policy. So they are asking us now to have a more adaptive, modernized burden-sharing relationship, and so I think that’s how as the burden-sharing conversation goes forward in Korea, elsewhere in Asia, in Europe, that’s sort of the prism to look at it from.

MODERATOR: And just very quickly, for those who are having questions directed to Mr. Crosson, you can send those to me and I’ll make sure that we send them over.

We’ll take Dmitry here, and then we’ll take a couple from the back.

QUESTION: Thank you. Dmitry Kirsanov with TASS, the Russian newswire service. To follow up on your point on how this new NDS is not a strategy of confrontation, I was hoping you could provide us with some more details on how exactly the DOD plans to make sure that this strategy does not – will not become a strategy of confrontation vis-a-vis Russia, especially considering the fact that you don’t even have a regular mil-to-mil dialogue with the Russians. The current legal framework here in the United States does not permit one, as you know. With the Chinese, at least you have the dialogue, which helps to keep misunderstanding to a minimum.

MR COLBY: For the specifics, on the mil-to-mil contacts, I’d defer to my colleagues. I would say the way that the strategy is, I mean, it’s multivarious, multifaceted how the strategy is not a strategy of confrontation, but rather one of competition. I would say that there is nothing – there is essentially nothing aggressive in this strategy. There’s nothing strategically aggressive in any way. There is nothing where the United States is seeking to – I think that’s the point. Rather, I think it’s saying we are going to – we are going to defend our established interests, our established allies and partners, and we are going to seek to sustain the vision of the Helsinki order that the United States, Russia, others have adhered to for many years. This is nothing new. But we are going to make sure that we have the military capabilities to vindicate our political interests.

And Russia has a clear choice. I mean, Russia can – there’s nothing in here that Russia should regard as threatening of its sovereignty, if you will. This is basically a – seeking to defend our, as I said, our established interests. So I think that’s the main – again, good fences make good neighbors. It’s a little bit of a banal comment, but I think it’s the logic here, which is if Russia observes the fences and observes the sovereignty of other countries, and doesn’t use the military capability that it has developed over the last 10 years for offensive purposes or to threaten the – our interests or those of our allies and partners, then I think our relationship could – this would be a very different conversation. So.

MODERATOR: All right. So we’ll take a couple from the back. Let me get Laurie, please.

QUESTION: Laurie Mylroie, Kurdistan 24. I have two questions. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union supported terrorism through proxies or even directly. Do you see that as a possibility now for Russia?

MR COLBY: Did you – did you want to take a couple, or should I answer?

MODERATOR: No. We were going to take one at a time.

MR COLBY: Okay, one at a time. I’d ask my colleague on – I have no comment on that. I’d ask one of my colleagues about that.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, if I could then ask then an Iraq-specific question, there’s a lot in the administration’s perspective and your perspective about containing Iran. How would Iraq’s Kurds fit into that? Do you see Iraq as a containing – the entity that contains Iran, or are Iraqi Kurds a separate part of that?

MR COLBY: I’m really focused on the National Defense Strategy. I’d – I’m sure one of my colleagues could answer that very well.

MODERATOR: Yeah, let me reiterate that: We are focused mainly on the strategy, so if we burn our time on specific regional questions we’ll get much fewer questions. In the far back, ma’am, with your hand up.

QUESTION: Thanks. Jennifer Chen with Shenzhen Media Group. Secretary Colby, we know China has been critical of President Trump’s National Security Strategy and Defense Strategy, and at times Chinese Government labeling it as Cold War thinking. I want to get your thought on that and the risks that are associated with such policy. And also will the new defense strategy have any negative impact on U.S.-China mil-mil cooperation? Thanks.

MR COLBY: Thank you, Jennifer. It’s not a Cold War strategy in the slightest. It’s anything but a Cold War strategy. It is a strategy that – and I think the same – even though China and Russia are very different, it’s precisely the same logic, which is that China has nothing to fear from the National Defense Strategy or the National Security Strategy. It’s saying that we are going to be committed to the free and open order in the Indo-Pacific that we have built and sustained with our allies and partners since the end of the Second World War, and that that is what our military investment is going towards.

But we have to be realistic about the fact that, as the annual report to Congress has put, China has made assiduous and focused efforts over several decades specifically to try to erode and deny American ability to project power – not to molest China, but to defend our allies and partners. And so we have to take cognizance of that and change our own defense posture in order to maintain the kind of free and open order.

I think, if you will, things have to change to stay the same. Our opponents, or potential opponents I should say, have – have made investments, have made changes to their military posture, their military capabilities, that we need to take conscious of. So I think the comments out of China are confusing, are perplexing, because what does China have to fear from us? Nothing. What does China have to fear from a National Defense Strategy that is a defensive strategy designed to sustain the free and open order that China has benefited so much from?

If China continues to – or if China, I would say, better respects that free and open order, for instance in the South China Sea, with – and the East China Sea and so forth, then I think there’s – it’s a peaceful future in which everyone – that’s our vision is a peaceful future in which everyone can cooperate in an un-coerced fashion, commerce, people to people – in which the military instrument does not play a salient role. So I think – I would put back to China, why are they so worried about a strategy that is defensive?

MODERATOR: Sir, in the glasses.

QUESTION: Thank you. Sorry. Xesco Reverter from TV3 in Barcelona, Spain. Do you see – where is terrorism in all the strategy? Is it, “Forget it,” or is it just not as important as it was five or three or two years ago? And do you see China, Russia as rivals or as – or they think they can be partners sometimes, or this is just wishful thinking?

MR COLBY: Thank you for both. Terrorism is absolutely not an afterthought here. Terrorism remains a central – part of the central challenge that the United States has to deal with. And in fact, what’s distinctive about this strategy is that we – unfortunately, we assume that we are going to be dealing with a terrorism problem for quite some time.

And so the strategy actually changes from previous strategies in saying, we need to be tailored in the way that we continue to deal with the terrorism problem from a military perspective. So the problem, in a sense, has been that we have been – tended to assume that we would fix the terrorism problem or the Middle East problem and that we would be able to use the force that we were developing for something else, finally, to do that something else.

But what’s been happening is that we’ve been using a force developed more or less for higher end conflict for these counterterrorism and kind of irregular warfare missions. And what this strategy is saying is, look, we’ve had our eye on that, rightfully, for many years, but that – at the same time, we know that the Chinese and the Russians have made considerable investment and effort to try to diminish our military advantage, and they’ve had some – they’ve had only limited success, but we need to – we need to rectify that and make sure there’s never any confusion about where the advantage lies over our key interests. So in a sense, it’s a positive focus on maintaining the military advantage at the high end, but also sustaining a focus, but in a more, in a sense, tailored and adaptive fashion.

So I think that’s an important – but again, this is a defense strategy, so we need to focus on the military angle and where our military advantage is most challenged, and that is by the Chinese and the Russians in particular in the Western Pacific, and in Eastern Europe. And then – I would say that the Chinese and the Russians, the strategy recognizes as the NSS does, as competitors. And in a sense, you only need to look at their behavior to see that that is the case. And the rhetoric coming, obviously, from within Russia, from within China, that’s a very candid assessment of the United States. We don’t seek any kind of confrontation or aggressive or – relationship, or a relationship of animosity. To the contrary, we would like a relationship characterized by a more frank and sort of candid exchange.

I think this strategy, though, basically looks back – if you take the case of China, for many years, the United States has said we are optimistic that China is going to be – going to adapt into the existing free and open order, that the main course of action is to encourage that and to be – not to rock the boat. But the reality is that Beijing appears to have taken this in a different course. It’s become more assertive – its actions in the South China Sea, obviously issues with intellectual property here and abroad, its increasing intervention in the affairs of regional states. We are just looking at this candidly and realistically and saying, well, we can no longer just hope that China will adhere to the free and open order that we want and that our allied and partners want. Rather, we have to show China that it’s clearly in its interest to respect that order and that means that they – the military capabilities to back that up.

MODERATOR: We’ll take Nadia, please.

QUESTION: Hi. Nadia Tsao with the Liberty Times, and I want – hi, good to see you again, Mr. – Mr. Secretary. But I have two questions. First, many expert in this town that are – they are advocating for a multinational security architecture in Asia. Since you mentioned our strengths in the relationship with allies and partner, is that possible or are you thinking about that at this moment? The second question is that Taiwan hasn’t been mentioned in this report, but do you have any comment about the possible role and the influence of Taiwan in that region? Thank you.

MR COLBY: Sure. On your first question, I think the strategy’s clear that the U.S. will expand regional consultative mechanisms and collaborative planning, so there is a vision of adapting our existing architecture, including in the Indo-Pacific, where it tended to be more bilateral – bilaterally in the past to one that is more flexible, that involves a bit more of a network, and of course, my colleagues Randy Schriver and others could talk in greater depth about that, but I think that is a vision.

But the logic of the strategy is to adapt our alliance and our partnership architecture to address the challenges and the opportunities of today. So we are, of course, committed to our traditional alliances, but we are also interested in new and different kinds of relationships, again, with countries that share our vision of a free and open order.

On the issue of Taiwan, the National Security Strategy makes clear that I think the U.S. is committed to the policy in the Three Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act and to maintaining our traditional policy on arms sales and the – and our opposition to any coerced or attempted coerced – coercing the fate of the people on Taiwan and our ability to contribute to avoiding that. So I’d say – that’s what I’d say on the Taiwan issue.

QUESTION: How about the naval style of multinational --

MR COLBY: I think I’ve said what I’ve said on that. Thanks.

MODERATOR: Let me take one here and then --

QUESTION: Thank you. Victor Shalhoub, Al-Araby daily news. Speaking about strengthening coalition, you said you intend to form enduring coalition in the Middle East. (A) can you elaborate the (inaudible), especially when you said you’re – we invite everybody who share with us interest and value? Secondly, tomorrow a strategic talk will take place in the State Department and Secretary Mattis will participate in it. This talk fit in this kind of forming enduring coalition in strategic term in the Middle East? Thank you.

MR COLBY: I mean, I think what you said is that we will seek to form enduring coalitions and consolidate our collective gains and working with our partners either in or with interests in the Middle East to try to promote and sustain stability and security and achieve a lasting defeat of terrorists that threaten us together. And then I have no comment on what – going on tomorrow.

MODERATOR: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: Thank you. Well, we also – sorry, Ediz Tiyansan from TRT World, thank you very much for this opportunity, first of all. We also noticed Turkey’s not in this report, and looking at the summary, you’re reiterating the efforts towards strengthening alliances and fortifying NATO. I’m just wondering where Turkey falls in this equation, especially looking at the recent reports. It’s – it really – it’s really looking like it’s falling apart, especially because of the U.S. alliance with YPG. We’re seeing in the last week these constant attacks towards Turkish territory, a NATO ally, and in – and more in Turkish media, they believe these are more weapons that might have been given by the United States. So I’m just wondering, are these recent developments making you consider a reassessment, a re-evaluation of the U.S. relationship with the YPG?

MR COLBY: I have no comment. I’d defer to my colleagues in --

QUESTION: Could I just ask a follow-up, then?

MODERATOR: But if you’re going to go on a specific regional question --

MR COLBY: Yeah.

MODERATOR: -- we’ve said repeatedly that we’re not going to address those. This is about the strategic document.

QUESTION: Well, what can you say about the bilateral relations in the total 2018?

MR COLBY: I’d defer to my colleagues on that, thanks.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Going to take one more from the back. Sir.

QUESTION: Here? Here in the middle?

MODERATOR: No, with the (inaudible), and then I’m afraid we’re at time.

QUESTION: Who was it? Benjamin?

MODERATOR: Right there. Sir.

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Aaron Maisler from Fuji TV. You mentioned that our military spending is about 30 percent of the GDP and we’re looking to have our allies pay more. Do you think that might weaken our leverage with our, like, military strategic planning across the world if we are not funding as greatly military operations around the world?

MR COLBY: So I think the way we look at it is we are – have largely shared strategic interests with those – our allies and partners and we believe we have a largely compatible perception of the strategic environment, so our concern is more to work together to develop the capabilities to most effectively deter potential adversaries from using their military instruments. So our concern is more to augment our allies’ and partners’ military expenditure, and I should say not just – as important as it is to increase military spending, it is very important for our allies and partners to increase military spending -- it’s also crucial that they invest in capabilities that make sense, that are keyed to the geopolitical and military technological challenges that we collectively face.

So that’s one of the things this strategy is doing, is saying we are looking forward to a deeper discussion with our allies and partners about how we can best align our respective investments and how we can work better together to deal with these geopolitical and military technological challenges.

MODERATOR: All right. I do have to call time on that. I do want to reiterate – I know there were a lot of regional-specific questions and some questions that weren’t asked. Please do email them to me and I will pass them on to my Pentagon press colleagues who can get you a response. I’d like to thank Deputy Assistant Secretary Colby for coming over today to brief us, and we welcome you back soon for another briefing here. Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR COLBY: Thanks.