USAF F-16s, a Republic of Korea Air Force F-15K, and a United Kingdom Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 fly in formation during Invincible Shield on Osan AB, South Korea, in 2016. The recent suspension of joint exercises in South Korea has slightly degraded the readiness of US forces, but was a needed move diplomatically, the nominee to lead US Forces-Korea said Tuesday. Air Force photo by SSgt. Jonathan Steffen.
Navy Adm. Craig Faller, Defense Secretary James Mattis’ senior military assistant and President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead US Southern Command, said the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s International Military Education and Training program can help the US combat great-power competition with Russia and China for global economic influence. Citing China’s strategy of “moving in with low-interest loans with strings attached for ports — the Panama Canal, for example” as evidence of its encroachment on US influence in the USSOUTHCOM AOR, Faller said at his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing that “the best way to counter this competition is the power of our education and our ideas,” and called IMET “one of our best tools to build long-term trust with officers at all levels.” Faller made the comments in response to a question from SASC Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) about China’s efforts to establish “a new type of an IMET program” in Africa that could potentially sway foreign military loyalty away from the US. —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory
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