Navy Admiral says "Terrorists can Multiply Faster
than They can be Captured or Killed"
By Rudi Williams
his primary concern, Navy Adm. Thomas B. Fargo told the House
Armed Services Committee this week that sustaining and supporting
the war on terrorism is the U.S. Pacific Command’s highest priority.
the Pacific Command commander, told the House representatives
in a prepared statement that he’s "keenly focused on the
I believe the likelihood of war is low, the stakes would be very
high if war occurred – and even higher if North Korea continues
to pursue nuclear weapons capabilities," Fargo said.
miscalculations that could result in conflict between India and
Pakistan or in the Taiwan Strait also is a Pacific Command priority,
the admiral said. "Recent dialogue between India and Pakistan
and the resulting relaxation in tensions are very positive signs,"
he noted. "Our modest but constructive military-to-military
relationship with China features high-level exchanges like Defense
Minister Cao (Gangchuan)’s visit to Washington and Hawaii last
the largest source of friction in the U.S. relationship with China,
the admiral said. But he added the United States remains prepared
and committed to meet its obligations under the Taiwan Relations
Act of 1979.
threats are a major concern in the Pacific region, the admiral
noted. "Despite recent and notable successes in the war on
terrorism, we remain deeply concerned about transnational terror
organizations including al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah and by more
localized groups like the Abu Sayyaf group in the southern Philippines,"
Fargo told lawmakers.
sense increasing synergy between transnational threats like terrorism,
illicit drugs, trafficking in humans, piracy and especially the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," he said.
efforts toward transformation include coordinating with friends
and allies in the region to effect enduring improvements while
strengthening the command’s ability to respond to emerging threats,
relationships in the region, including five treaty allies and
numerous friendships, are as strong as ever," he emphasized.
"Nations within our region are making smart and generous
contributions to regional and global security, including Operations
Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom."
since 9/11, nations in the region are more aware of the interdependent
vulnerabilities and the need for cooperation for security reasons.
"This mutually supportive environment facilitates both our
forward presence in theater and the security programs necessary
to promote a peaceful, stable and prosperous Asia-Pacific region,"
the Pacific Command’s five top priorities as sustaining and supporting
the war on terrorism, improving readiness and joint warfighting
capability of Pacific Command forces, reinforcing the constants
in Asia-Pacific security, promoting change and improving the Asia-Pacific
defense posture for the future, and improving the quality of service
of the command’s men and women.
to addressing terror threats in the Pacific area of responsibility,"
the admiral said, "the command is also a primary force provider
to Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom."
As an example
of how nations in the region are cooperating against terror threats,
Fargo said Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines
have detained and arrested more than 200 members of the Jemaah
Islamiyah terror group.
But he said
regional and local terrorist groups with ties to the al Qaeda
network continue to pose dangerous threats to the United States
and its friends, especially in Southeast Asia.
Asia a crucial front in the war on terror, Fargo said destabilization
of the governments of that region – moderate, secular, legitimately
elected, with large Muslim populations – would sentence
the region to decades of danger and chaos. "We have to stop
the violence," Fargo said.
Command, with headquarters at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, hopes to
do that with its near-term and long-term plan to deal with terror
threats, he noted. "In the near term, we have to stop immediate
threats against our citizens, our friends, property and vital
infrastructure," Fargo said. "This near-term effort
includes defeating actual attacks, disrupting the enemy’s plans
and proactive defensive measures.
see military action as the sole or even primary instrument of
national power in this fight," the admiral noted. "Intelligence
sharing and law enforcement lead much of this effort."
out that these near-term efforts are an essential but incomplete
solution because the war on terrorism, like the fight against
other transnational threats, can’t be won by attrition alone.
can multiply faster than they can be captured or killed,"
long-term effort is focused on strengthening the region’s democratic
institutions such as education, law enforcement and basic services
that provide security at the economic, social and physical levels,
of our efforts directly support this long-term goal," Fargo
noted. "We believe we’ll reach a tipping point in the war
on terrorism when sound governance prevails and citizens value
their institutions more than they fear the terrorists."