Last year, Defense News published a special report showing that the locus of military spending in the world is shifting to Asia as European defense budgets are decreasing. According to an IHS Jane’s study, defense spending in the Asia-Pacific will overtake North American defense budgets by 2021, and, right now, three of the world’s top five arms importers are in Asia: China (#1), South Korea (#3), and Singapore (#5). In addition, once dormant military powers, like Japan, are remilitarizing, prompting a changing geopolitical landscape that could lead to rising tensions between China and Taiwan, both Koreas, and other regional rivals. These changes in Asian defense have important implications for the United States as its posture looks east during the so-called “pivot” or “re-balance.” To discuss these strategically vital developments, the Atlantic Council has invited prominent scholars and practitioners in this field to discuss what increasing Asian defense budgets mean for the United States, the region, and the world.
Dr. Ely Ratner is the deputy director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He recently served in the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs at the State Department as the lead political officer covering China’s external relations in Asia. He was an international affairs fellow sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. His portfolio included China’s activities in and relations with North Korea, Japan, Burma, the South China Sea, and the Indian Ocean.
Please join the Brent Scowcroft Center of the Atlantic Council for a panel discussion on the recent uptick in defense spending in the Asia-Pacific region, what it means for US strategy, and what it portends for the future of regional rivalries.