Home : Our Strategic Environment

The Indo-Pacific is the most consequential region in modern history.

Home to 60% of the world's population and half the earth's surface, the Indo-Pacific is so much more than sea and air. Southeast Asia's archipelagos form a bridge between continents - Australia & Asia, the thousands of islands of the Blue Pacific nations and the First, Second and Third Island Chains. This region contains the most rugged, distributed, and diverse terrain in the world: from hot, humid rainforests and low-lying coral atolls to arctic plateaus and mountain ranges. 


Border disputes, river damming, violent extremism, domestic instability, and social inequality issues present incremental and invasive challenges to the sovereign rights of sovereign nations and can be profoundly destabilizing - manifesting throughout the Indo-Pacific regions. 


Border Disputes. Long-term border disputes reflect regional tensions, including the world's longest unmarked border between China and India. Following 2020 skirmishes, the PLA increased military presence along the Line of Actual Control.

Refugees. Over 1 million Rohingya refugees have fled Burma since 2017. 90% have relocated to Bangladesh and Malaysia, straining government systems supporting them.
The PRC, Russia, and DPRK challenge regional stability with disregard for national sovereignty, humand rights, and rule of law.

Russia continues its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Nuclear-armed authoritarian DPRK's belligerent, disruptive behavior - including increased missile testing - underscores potential for crisis with clear implications for Counter-WMD and Noncombatant Evacuation Operations.

An increasingly aggressive PRC remains the greatest strategic challenge to the region. The PRC seeks to match U.S. global influence, displace alliances and security partnerships, and revise the international order to support Beijing's authoritarian system.

Japanese officials, including the late former PM Shinzo Abe, have said a PRC attack on Taiwan would represent 'an emergency for Tokyo.'
Homeland Defense. Our sacred obligation is to protect the U.S. Homeland and keep the American people safe.

Our homeland includes Hawai'i, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. We also defend the Compact of Free Association States: FSM, RMI and Palau.
Rising Sea Levels and increased intensity of natural disasters challenge rapid reaction in crisis and subsequent reestablishment of critical infrastructure and services following a disaster. The agreement between the Solomon Islands and the PRC underscores increased competition for influence in these island nations.
Mainland Southeast Asia. The dominant Mekong River supports millions. Continued economic growth depends on the river's health. Dams and other hydropower projects expand irrigation, generate electricity, and enable regional trade - but at a cost to fisheries and rice growth. Significant PRC hydropower projects have major potential to alter the river's ecology. International commissions - like the Mekong River Commission - provide coalition-driven approaches to counter coercive regional action.

Maritime Southeast Asia features strategic global transit points for international trade. 50% of global commercial shipping passes through the South China Sea. Overlapping claims in the SCS by China, Taiwan, Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia led to these nations' increased focus on territorial defense.