DigitalGlobe imagery shows the Subi Reef in the South China Sea, a part of the Spratly Islands group, on Sept. 1, 2015
DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d/Getty Images
By Mark Rivett-Carnac
January 20, 2016

President Obama’s rebalancing effort in Asia and the Pacific may be “insufficient” to secure U.S. interests in the region, according to a 275-page report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released Tuesday.

“The balance of military power in the region is shifting against the United States,” wrote researchers from the Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit, calling for “robust funding” to sustain and reassert a presence.

Congress tasked the Department of Defense to commission the independent assessment, the second by CSIS since Obama announced in 2011 that the U.S. would devote attention to the region.

China and North Korea are identified as strategic challenges by the report’s authors, who write that both countries defy the “credibility of U.S. security commitments.” They specifically mention Beijing’s island building in the South China Sea and Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

The report also lists four avenues for addressing regional concerns over the next decade: clarifying a strategy, building allies’ capabilities, increasing military presence and investing in innovative defense capabilities.

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