The United States’ ability to rely on a growing network of allies and partners is key to maintaining its advantage in the Indo-Pacific and beyond, a senior defense intelligence official said today.
Army Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said that just as close working relationships are what make the intelligence community succeed, the same principle must be applied to advance common interests among abroad.
“One of the things that I always say is that in the United States, our asymmetric advantage in the IC [intelligence community] is that all of the intelligence leaders know each other,” he said during a roundtable hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
“Taking that asymmetric advantage and applying it to new partnerships in the Indo-Pacific is really how we’re going to win,” he said. “So, we’ve got to be there with more nontraditional partners in the Indo-Pacific, and we have to be there for them. Because if we’re not, we know that the Chinese will be.”
Those partnerships, defense leaders have said, are critical for maintaining a shared vision for peace and stability in the region, and Berrier said it is critical to continue to foster and expand those relationships.
“Australia and New Zealand are key partners in the Indo-Pacific, but there are others as well,” he said. “Meeting with Vietnam, meeting with the Philippines, meeting with some of the smaller nations in the Indo-Pacific is really, really key.”
Those efforts have shown tangible signs of progress in recent years, as evidenced by the growing list of countries participating in U.S.-led exercises in the region.
The U.S. leads more than 40 army-to-army and joint exercises each year as part of Operation Pathways, a collection of multinational exercises throughout the Indo-Pacific and a key pillar of the United States’ integrated deterrence strategy.
Berrier added that partnerships have also been key in Europe as the U.S. continues to rally the coalition standing with Ukraine.
“Those have been traditional partnerships for a long time, whether that’s part of the Five Eyes or our Nordic partners,” he said. “[We are] always, always thinking about how we can maximize the benefit of a partnership and what we need to do.”
The Five Eyes is a longstanding intelligence sharing alliance between the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Berrier said he was pleased with the United States’ progress in both regions.
“I think we’re at a really good place in Europe and the Indo-Pacifc with partners,” he said.