Indo Pacific Strategy Of The United States


The United States is an Indo-Pacific power. The region, stretching from our Pacific coastline to the Indian Ocean, is home to more than half of the world’s people, nearly two-thirds of the world’s economy, and seven of the world’s largest militaries. More members of the U.S. military are based in the region than in any other outside the United States. It supports more than three million American jobs and is the source of nearly $900 billion in foreign direct investment in the United States. In the years ahead, as the region drives as much as two-thirds of global economic growth, its influence will only grow—as will its importance to the United States.

The United States has long recognized the Indo-Pacific as vital to our security and prosperity. Our ties were forged two centuries ago, when Americans came to the region seeking commercial opportunities, and grew with the arrival of Asian immigrants to the United States. The Second World War reminded the United States that our country could only be secure if Asia was, too. And so in the post-war era, the United States solidified our ties with the region, through ironclad treaty alliances with Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), the Philippines, and Thailand, laying the foundation of security that allowed regional democracies to flourish. Those ties expanded as the United States supported the region’s premier organizations, particularly the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); developed close trade and investment relationships; and committed to uphold international law and norms, from human rights to freedom of navigation.

The passage of time has underscored the strategic necessity of the United States’ consistent role. At the end of the Cold War, the United States considered but rejected the idea of withdrawing our military presence, understanding that the region held strategic value that would only grow in the 21st century. Since then, administrations of both political parties have shared a commitment to the region. The George W. Bush Administration understood Asia’s growing importance and engaged closely with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Japan, and India. The Obama Administration significantly accelerated American prioritization of Asia, investing new diplomatic, economic, and military resources there. And the Trump Administration also recognized the Indo-Pacific as the world’s center of gravity.

Under President Biden, the United States is determined to strengthen our long- term position in and commitment to the Indo-Pacific. We will focus on every corner of the region, from Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, to South Asia and Oceania, including the Pacific Islands. We do so at a time when many of our allies and partners, including in Europe, are increasingly turning their own attention to the region; and when there is broad, bipartisan agreement in the U.S. Congress that the United States must, too. In a quickly changing strategic landscape, we recognize that American interests can only be advanced if we firmly anchor the United States in the Indo-Pacific and strengthen the region itself, alongside our closest allies and partners.

This intensifying American focus is due in part to the fact that the Indo-Pacific faces mounting challenges, particularly from the PRC. The PRC is combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological might as it pursues a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific and seeks to become the world’s most influential power. The PRC’s coercion and aggression spans the globe, but it is most acute in the Indo-Pacific. From the economic coercion of Australia to the conflict along the Line of Actual Control with India to the growing pressure on Taiwan and bullying of neighbors in the East and South China Seas, our allies and partners in the region bear much of the cost of the PRC’s harmful behavior. In the process, the PRC is also
undermining human rights and international law, including freedom of navigation, as well as other principles that have brought stability and prosperity to the Indo-Pacific.

Our collective efforts over the next decade will determine whether the PRC succeeds in transforming the rules and norms that have benefitted the Indo-Pacific and the world. For our part, the United States is investing in the foundations of our strength at home, aligning our approach with those of our allies and partners abroad, and competing with the PRC to defend the interests and vision for the future that we share with others. We will strengthen the international system, keep it grounded in shared values, and update it to meet 21st-century challenges. Our objective is not to change the PRC but to shape the strategic environment in which it operates, building a balance of influence in the world that is maximally favorable to the United States, our allies and partners, and the interests and values we share. We will also seek to manage competition with the PRC responsibly. We will cooperate with our allies and partners while seeking to work with the PRC in areas like climate change and nonproliferation. We believe it is in the interests of the region and the wider world that no country withhold progress on existential transnational issues because of bilateral differences.

The Indo-Pacific faces other major challenges. Climate change is growing ever-more severe as South Asia’s glaciers melt and the Pacific Islands battle existential rises in sea levels. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to inflict a painful human and economic toll across the region. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) continues to expand its illicit nuclear weapons and missile programs. Indo-Pacific governments grapple with natural disasters, resource scarcity, internal conflict, and governance challenges. Left unchecked, these forces threaten to destabilize the region.


As we enter a decisive decade that holds considerable promise and historic obstacles for the Indo-Pacific, the American role in the region must be more effective and enduring than ever. To do this, we will modernize our long-standing alliances, strengthen emerging partnerships, and invest in regional organizations—the collective capacity that will empower the Indo-Pacific to adapt to the 21st century’s challenges and seize its opportunities. As the PRC, the climate crisis, and a pandemic test us, we must work with our allies and partners toward our positive vision: of a free and open Indo-Pacific that is more connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient. This national strategy outlines that approach and commits the United States to its success.

The United States is committed to an Indo-Pacific that is free and open, connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient. To realize that future, the United States will strengthen our own role while reinforcing the region itself. The essential feature of this approach is that it cannot be accomplished alone: changing strategic circumstances and historic challenges require unprecedented cooperation with those who share in this vision.

For centuries, the United States and much of the world have viewed Asia too narrowly—as an arena of geopolitical competition. Today, Indo-Pacific nations are helping to define the very nature of the international order, and U.S. allies and partners around the world have a stake in its outcomes. Our approach, therefore, draws from and aligns with those of our closest friends. Like Japan, we believe that a successful Indo-Pacific vision must advance freedom and openness and offer “autonomy and options.” We support a strong India as a partner in this positive regional vision. Like Australia, we seek to maintain stability and reject coercive exercises of power. Like the ROK, we aim to promote regional security through capacity-building. Like ASEAN, we see Southeast Asia as central to the regional architecture. Like New Zealand and the United Kingdom, we seek to build resilience in the regional rules-based order. Like France, we recognize the strategic value of an increasing regional role for the European Union (EU). Much like the approach the EU has announced in its Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, American strategy will be principled, long-term, and anchored in democratic resilience.

The United States will pursue five objectives in the Indo-Pacific—each in concert with our allies and partners, as well as with regional institutions. We will:


Our vital interests and those of our closest partners require a free and open Indo-Pacific, where governments can make their own sovereign choices, consistent with their obligations under international law; and where seas, skies, and other shared domains are lawfully governed. Our strategy, therefore, begins with building resilience within countries, as we have done in the United States. In the region, that includes our efforts to support open societies and to ensure Indo-Pacific governments can make independent political choices free from coercion; we will do so through investments in democratic institutions, a free press, and a vibrant civil society. The United States will bolster freedom of information and expression and combat foreign interference by supporting investigative journalism, promoting media literacy and pluralistic and independent media, and increasing collaboration to address threats from information manipulation.

Consistent with the first-ever United States Strategy on Countering Corruption, we will also seek to improve fiscal transparency in the Indo-Pacific to expose corruption and drive reform. Through our diplomatic engagement, foreign assistance, and work with regional organizations, the United States will be a partner in strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law, and accountable democratic governance. And we will work with partners to stand up to economic coercion.


Beyond individual countries’ borders, the United States will also work closely with like-minded partners to ensure that the region remains open and accessible and that the region’s seas and skies are governed and used according to international law. In particular, we will build support for rules-based approaches to the maritime domain, including in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

We will also work with partners to advance common approaches to critical and emerging technologies, the internet, and cyber space. We will build support for an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet; coordinate with partners to maintain the integrity of international standard bodies and promote consensus- based, values-aligned technology standards; facilitate the movement of researchers and open access to scientific data for cutting-edge collaboration; and work to implement the framework of responsible behavior in cyber space and its associated norms.


A free and open Indo-Pacific can only be achieved if we build collective capacity for a new age; common action is now a strategic necessity. The alliances, organizations, and rules that the United States and our partners have helped to build must be adapted; where needed, we must update them together. We will pursue this through a latticework of strong and mutually reinforcing coalitions.

Those efforts begin with our closest alliances and partnerships, which we are renewing in innovative ways. We are deepening our five regional treaty alliances—with Australia, Japan, the ROK, the Philippines, and Thailand—and strengthening relationships with leading regional partners, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Pacific Islands. We will also encourage our allies and partners to strengthen their ties with one another, particularly Japan and the ROK. We will support and empower allies and partners as they take on regional leadership roles themselves, and we will work in flexible groupings that pool our collective strength to face up to the defining issues of our time, particularly through the Quad. We will continue to strengthen Quad cooperation on global health, climate change, critical and emerging technology, infrastructure, cyber, education, and clean energy, as we work together and with other partners toward a free and open Indo-Pacific.


The United States also welcomes a strong and independent ASEAN that leads in Southeast Asia. We endorse ASEAN centrality and support ASEAN in its efforts to deliver sustainable solutions to the region’s most pressing challenges. To that end, we will deepen long-standing cooperation with ASEAN while launching new high-level engagements on health, climate and environment, energy, transportation, and gender equity and equality. We will work with ASEAN to build its resilience as a leading regional institution and will explore opportunities for the Quad to work with ASEAN. We will also support closer ties between South

Asian partners and ASEAN. Our own work with South Asian partners will prioritize building mechanisms to address humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief needs, maritime security, water scarcity, and pandemic response. We will seek to be an indispensable partner to Pacific Island nations, in ever-closer coordination with other partners who share that commitment, and will meaningfully expand our diplomatic presence in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. We will also prioritize negotiations on our Compacts of Free Association with the Freely Associated States as the bedrock of the U.S. role in the Pacific.

Allies and partners outside of the region are increasingly committing new attention to the Indo-Pacific, particularly the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). We will harness this opportunity to align our approaches and will implement our initiatives in coordination to multiply our effectiveness. We will partner to build regional connectivity with an emphasis on the digital domain, as well as to uphold international law, particularly in the maritime space. Along the way, we will build bridges between the Indo-Pacific and the Euro-Atlantic, and, increasingly, with other regions, by leading on shared agendas that drive collective action. We will also advance our common vision through close coordination at the United Nations.

Our ties do not just connect our governments, but bridge our people. The United States is the leading international provider of education to students from the Indo-Pacific—nearly 68% of international students studying in the United States hail from the region—forging ties that help to fuel next-generation dynamism in both of our countries. We will reinvigorate youth- leadership, educational, and professional exchanges and English-language training programs that have long anchored our bonds, including through the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI). At the same time, we will promote new partnerships for cutting-edge joint research in critical domains of science and technology, including through the new Quad Fellowship, which will support graduate studies of Australian, Japanese, Indian, and American students in STEM fields. Through these and other programs we will continue to invest in the next generation of people-to-people connections.


The prosperity of everyday Americans is linked to the Indo-Pacific. We will put forward an innovative new framework to equip our economies for this moment. Our efforts are built on a strong foundation of close economic integration. Two-way trade between the United States and the region totaled $1.75 trillion in 2020, and it supports more than five million Indo-Pacific jobs. Foreign direct investment from the United States totaled more than $969 billion in 2020 and has nearly doubled in the last decade. The United States remains the number-one investment partner in ASEAN member countries—investing more than Southeast Asia’s next three investment partners combined. And the United States is the primary exporter of services to the region, which, in turn, fuels regional growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the need for a recovery that promotes broad-based economic growth. That requires investments to encourage innovation, strengthen economic competitiveness, produce good-paying jobs, rebuild supply chains, and expand economic opportunities for middle-class families: 1.5 billion people in the Indo-Pacific will join the global middle class in this decade.

Alongside our partners, the United States will put forward an Indo-Pacific economic framework—a multilateral partnership for the 21st century. This economic framework will help our economies to harness rapid technological transformation, including in the digital economy, and adapt to the coming energy and climate transition. The United States will work with partners to ensure that citizens on both sides of the Pacific reap the benefits of these historic economic changes, while deepening our integration. We will develop new approaches to trade that meet high labor and environmental standards and will govern our digital economies and cross-border data flows according to open principles, including through a new digital- economy framework. We will work with our partners to advance resilient and secure supply chains that are diverse, open, and predictable, while removing barriers and improving transparency and information- sharing. We will make shared investments in decarbonization and clean energy, and work in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to promote free, fair, and open trade and investment, during our host year, in 2023, and beyond.

We will also redouble our commitment to helping Indo-Pacific partners close the region’s infrastructure gap. Through our Build Back Better World initiative with G7 partners, we will equip the emerging economies of the region with the high-standards infrastructure that will enable them to grow and prosper, while creating good jobs on both sides of the Pacific. As we do, we will promote resilient and secure global telecommunications, focusing on 5G vendor diversification and Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) technology, and seeking a telecommunications supply market that is well-postured to allow for new, trustworthy entrants. We will also stand shoulder-to-shoulder with regional economic partners who are playing leading roles in setting rules that govern 21st-century economic activity. Together, we will harness rapid economic transformation as a common opportunity for us all.


For 75 years, the United States has maintained a strong and consistent defense presence necessary to support regional peace, security, stability, and prosperity. The United States has been a steadfast regional ally and will remain so in the 21st century. Today, we are extending and modernizing that role: the United States is enhancing our capabilities to defend our interests as well as to deter aggression and to counter coercion against U.S. territory and our allies and partners.

Integrated deterrence will be the cornerstone of our approach. We will more tightly integrate our efforts across warfighting domains and the spectrum of conflict to ensure that the United States, alongside our allies and partners, can dissuade or defeat aggression in any form or domain. We will drive initiatives that reinforce deterrence and counter coercion, such as opposing efforts to alter territorial boundaries or undermine the rights of sovereign nations at sea.

We will renew our focus on innovation to ensure the U.S. military can operate in rapidly evolving threat environments, including space, cyberspace, and critical- and emerging-technology areas. We are developing new concepts of operations, building more resilient command and control, increasing the scope and complexity of our joint exercises and operations, and pursuing diverse force-posture opportunities that will strengthen our ability to operate forward and more flexibly with allies and partners.

Consistent with our broader strategic approach, we will prioritize our single greatest asymmetric strength: our network of security alliances and partnerships. Across the region, the United States will work with allies and partners to deepen our interoperability and develop and deploy advanced warfighting capabilities as we support them in defending their citizens and their sovereign interests. We will continue to modernize our treaty alliances with Australia, Japan, the ROK, the Philippines, and Thailand; steadily advance our Major Defense Partnership with India and support its role as a net security provider; and build the defense capacity of partners in South and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. We will also work with partners inside and outside of the region to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, including by supporting Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, to ensure an environment in which Taiwan’s future is determined peacefully in accordance with the wishes and best interests of Taiwan’s people. As we do so, our approach remains consistent with our One China policy and our longstanding commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiqués, and the Six Assurances.

We will foster security ties between our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, including by finding new opportunities to link our defense industrial bases, integrating our defense supply chains, and co-producing key technologies that will shore up our collective military advantages. As we do, we will bring together our Indo-Pacific and European partners in novel ways, including through the AUKUS partnership.

As the DPRK continues to develop destabilizing nuclear and missile programs, we will continue to seek serious and sustained dialogue, with the goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and addressing its ongoing human-rights violations and improving the lives and livelihoods of the North Korean people. At the same time, we are strengthening extended deterrence and coordination with the ROK and Japan to respond to DPRK provocations, remaining prepared to deter—and, if necessary, defeat—any aggression to the United States and our allies, while bolstering counter-proliferation efforts throughout the region. While reinforcing extended deterrence against nuclear- and ballistic-missile systems and other emerging threats to strategic stability, the United States will seek to work with a wide set of actors, including our rivals, to prevent and manage crises.

We will also innovate to meet civilian security challenges, expanding U.S. Coast Guard presence, training, and advising to bolster our partners’ capabilities. We will cooperate to address and prevent terrorism and violent extremism, including by identifying and monitoring foreign fighters traveling to the region, formulating options to mitigate online radicalization, and encouraging counterterrorism cooperation within the Indo-Pacific. And we will strengthen collective regional capabilities to prepare for and respond to environmental and natural disasters; natural, accidental, or deliberate biological threats; and the trafficking of weapons, drugs, and people. We will improve cybersecurity in the region, including the ability of our partners to protect against, recover from, and respond to cybersecurity incidents.


The Indo-Pacific is the epicenter of the climate crisis, but it is also essential to climate solutions. Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement will require the major economies in the region to align their targets with the Agreement’s temperature goals. This includes urging the PRC to commit to and implement actions in line with the level of ambition required to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Our shared responses to the climate crisis are both a political imperative and an economic opportunity in the Indo-Pacific, home to 70% of the world’s natural disasters. The United States will work with partners to develop 2030 and 2050 targets, strategies, plans, and policies consistent with limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and will seek to serve as the preferred partner as the region transitions to a net-zero future. Through initiatives like Clean EDGE, we will incentivize clean-energy technology investment and deployment, seek to drive energy-sector decarbonization, and foster climate-aligned infrastructure investment. The United States will work with partners to reduce their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation and will support critical-infrastructure resilience and address energy security. We will also work to safeguard the health and sustainable use of the region’s vast oceans, including through the legal use of their resources, enhanced research cooperation, and the promotion of beneficial commerce and transportation.

We will partner with the region to help end the COVID-19 pandemic and build resilience against common threats. We will work closely with partners to strengthen their health systems to withstand future shocks, drive investments in global health security, and expand regional platforms to prevent, detect, and respond to emergencies, including biological threats. We will also work through the World Health Organization (WHO), the G7, the G20, and other multilateral fora to strengthen preparedness and response. We will advance our resilience efforts in close coordination with ASEAN, APEC, the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and other organizations.


To implement this strategy, we will pursue ten core lines of effort in the next 12 to 24 months:

Building shared capacity requires the United States to make new regional investments. We will open new embassies and consulates, particularly in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, and increase our strength in existing ones, intensifying our climate, health, security, and development work. We will expand U.S. Coast Guard presence and cooperation in Southeast and South Asia and the Pacific Islands, with a focus on advising, training, deployment, and capacity-building. We will refocus security assistance on the Indo- Pacific, including to build maritime capacity and maritime-domain awareness. We will also expand the role of people-to-people exchange, including the Peace Corps. Within the U.S. government, we will ensure we have the necessary capacity and expertise to meet the region’s challenges. Throughout, we will work with Congress to ensure that our policy and resourcing have the bipartisan backing necessary to support our strong and steady regional role.

We will launch, in early 2022, a new partnership that will promote and facilitate high-standards trade, govern the digital economy, improve supply-chain resiliency and security, catalyze investment in transparent, high-standards infrastructure, and build digital connectivity—doubling down on our economic ties to the region while contributing to broadly shared Indo-Pacific opportunity.

The United States will defend our interests, deter military aggression against our own country and our allies and partners—including across the Taiwan Strait—and promote regional security by developing new capabilities, concepts of operation, military activities, defense industrial initiatives, and a more resilient force posture. We will work with Congress to fund the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and the Maritime Security Initiative. Through the AUKUS partnership, we will identify the optimal pathway to deliver nuclear- powered submarines to the Royal Australian Navy at the earliest achievable date; in addition, we will deepen cooperation and enhance interoperability through a concrete program of work on advanced capabilities, including cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and undersea capabilities.

The United States is making new investments in U.S.-ASEAN ties, including by hosting ASEAN leaders for a historic U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit—the first-ever to be held in Washington, D.C. We are committed to the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum, and will also seek new ministerial-level engagements with ASEAN. We will implement more than $100 million in new U.S.-ASEAN initiatives. We will also expand bilateral cooperation across Southeast Asia, prioritizing efforts to strengthen health security, address maritime challenges, increase connectivity, and deepen people-to-people ties.

We will continue to build a strategic partnership in which the United States and India work together and through regional groupings to promote stability in South Asia; collaborate in new domains, such as health, space, and cyber space; deepen our economic and technology cooperation; and contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific. We recognize that India is a like-minded partner and leader in South Asia and the Indian Ocean, active in and connected to Southeast Asia, a driving force of the Quad and other regional fora, and an engine for regional growth and development.

We will strengthen the Quad as a premier regional grouping and ensure it delivers on issues that matter to the Indo-Pacific. The Quad will play a leading regional role on COVID-19 response and global health security, delivering on its investment to provide an additional one billion vaccines to the region and to the world. It will advance work on critical and emerging technologies, driving supply-chain cooperation, joint technology deployments, and advancing common technology principles. The Quad will build a green shipping network, and will coordinate the sharing of satellite data to improve maritime domain awareness and climate responses. Its members will cooperate to provide high-standards infrastructure in South and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands and will work to improve their cyber capacity. The Quad Fellowship will formally launch in 2022, recruiting its first class of 100 students from all four countries to pursue graduate degrees in STEM fields in the United States beginning in 2023. The Quad will continue to meet regularly at the leader and ministerial levels.

Nearly every major Indo-Pacific challenge requires close cooperation among the United States’ allies and partners, particularly Japan and the ROK. We will continue to cooperate closely through trilateral channels on the DPRK. Beyond security, we will also work together on regional development and infrastructure, critical technology and supply-chain issues, and women’s leadership and empowerment. Increasingly, we will seek to coordinate our regional strategies in a trilateral context.

The United States will work with partners to establish a multilateral strategic grouping that supports Pacific Island countries as they build their capacity and resilience as secure, independent actors. Together, we will build climate resilience through the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility; coordinate to meet the Pacific’s infrastructure gaps, especially on information and communications technology; facilitate transportation; and cooperate to improve maritime security to safeguard fisheries, build maritime-domain awareness, and improve training and advising. We will also prioritize finalization of the Compact of Free Association agreements with the Freely Associated States.

We will support Indo-Pacific governments’ capacity to make independent political choices by helping partners root out corruption, including through foreign-assistance and development policies, leadership at the G7 and G20, and a renewed role in the Open Government Partnership. We are also partnering with governments, civil society, and journalists to ensure they have the capability to expose and mitigate the risks from foreign interference and information manipulation. The United States will continue to stand up for democracy in Burma, working closely with allies and partners to press the Burmese military to provide for a return to democracy, including through credible implementation of the Five Point Consensus.

We will promote secure and trustworthy digital infrastructure, particularly cloud and telecommunications vendor diversity, including through innovative network architectures such as Open RAN by encouraging at- scale commercial deployments and cooperation on testing, such as through shared access to test beds to enable common standards development. We will also deepen shared resilience in critical government and infrastructure networks, while building new regional initiatives to improve collective cybersecurity and rapidly respond to cyber incidents.


We have entered a consequential new period of American foreign policy that will demand more of the United States in the Indo-Pacific than has been asked of us since the Second World War. Our vital interests in the region have become ever-clearer just as they have become more difficult to protect; we will not have the luxury of choosing between power politics and combatting transnational threats; we will rise to our leadership charge on diplomacy, security, economics, climate, pandemic response, and technology.

The Indo-Pacific’s future depends on the choices we make now. The decisive decade before us will determine if the region can confront and address climate change, reveal how the world rebuilds from a once- in-a-century pandemic, and decide whether we can sustain the principles of openness, transparency, and inclusivity that have fueled the region’s success. If, together with our partners, we can reinforce the region for 21st-century challenges and seize its opportunities, the Indo-Pacific will thrive, bolstering the United States and the world.


Our considerable strategic ambitions derive from the belief that no region will be of more consequence to the world and to everyday Americans than the Indo-Pacific—and that the United States and our allies and partners hold a common vision for it. By pursuing a strategy whose foundational pillars are shared, and by strengthening the region’s capacity to realize them, the United States can lead with others toward an Indo- Pacific that is free and open, connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient for generations to come.

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