Secretary of Defense Ash Carter delivered a speech on board the air craft carrier USS Carl Vinson Thursday morning.
He spoke about the U.S. shift in priorities in Asia-Pacific and the various security challenges affecting the area, calling the region the "single most consequential region for America's future."
Carter explained the plan to strengthen stability in the Asia-Pacific, starting with strategic investments.
“First by continuing to qualitatively upgrade and invest in our regional force posture, with sustained and strategic investments," said Carter.
“Second by catalyzing the Asia Pacific’s principle to inclusive security network even more," said Carter. "In this next phase, the United States will continue to sharpen its military edge so we remain the most powerful military in the region and the security partner of choice.”
In his speech, Carter emphasized the importance of U.S. alliances with various countries such as Japan, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines, to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. He called the relationship between the U.S. and Philippines "ironclad."
This remark was made despite the efforts of the new Filipino President, Rodrigo Duterte, to distance his government from the U.S. Duterte recently announced the Philippines plan to cancel all future military exercises within the U.S. and demanded the withdrawal of U.S. special forces from the Philippines.
Carter said the U.S. military will continue to invest more in Virginia-class submarines and undersea drones. The military will also make the submarines more lethal by tripling their tomahawk cruise missile strike capacity.
After the speech, Secretary Carter headed to Honolulu to meet with the defense ministers of Asian and Pacific countries.