Sen. Daniel Inouye said on Thursday that he expects “an increase of military personnel and assets” in the Pacific, including in Hawaii. Inouye’s remarks came after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlined his department’s budget plan for the next five years. 

The budget and the new defense strategy represent a major shift in our military force posture that gives the highest priority to the Asia Pacific region,” Inouye said in a statement. “Even in these austere fiscal times, Secretary Panetta’s budget clearly demonstrates that our nation recognizes the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Pacific, and it will structure our forces accordingly.”

Inouye, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he believes the Pacific-focused strategy will benefit Hawaii. 

Hawaii is the headquarters for our major Pacific commands, and our islands will always serve as a critical staging and training area for our military,” Inouye said. “I will continue do my very best to look after the needs of our men and women in uniform.”

Inouye also expressed gratitude toward civilians in Hawaii who treat members of the military with “aloha and a sense of ohana.”

“It goes a long way,” he said.