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Top ranking US military officer visits Yokota

By Airman 1st Class Soo C. Kim
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The highest-ranking U.S. military officer, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Yokota Air Base, Japan, April 25, 2013, as part of his tour of the Pacific region. 

During his visit, Dempsey addressed service members at Yokota, sharing his vision for global and regional security and reiterating the shifting focus of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region. Dempsey also expressed the importance of building and maintaining relationships in the Pacific. 

"We will stay true to our current alliances and try to build relationship with others," Dempsey said. He said the world benefits from the security provided by the U.S. military and its allies, so it is important to maintain and gain international relationships. 

The chairman said Yokota's mission of maintaining stability throughout the region remains constant despite the current budget constraints. 

"It's a challenge, but it's not the first in history," Dempsey said. "You will do less with less, but not less well. You will still be the best trained, best prepared and most powerful force on the planet." 

He said U.S. presence throughout the globe won't be affected, especially in the Pacific and that the U.S. will continue to deter adversaries and assure allies when and where needed. 

"We are prepared for a menu of possibilities," Dempsey added. "We are postured with our Japanese allies to protect our citizens and their citizens." 

Service members had their chance to express their concerns and ask questions to the general who in turn offered candid responses. Issues were covered included budgetary issues, future exercise and operational tempo and regional security matters. 

Dempsey ended the town hall by thanking the service members and reiterating the importance of their continuing effort in the Pacific Region. 

"We appreciate you and your family members who are here with you," Dempsey said. "I thank you for your service, and I am proud of what U.S. service members serving in Japan are doing."