Although General Douglas MacArthur was informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor nine hours before Japanese bombers struck at the Philippines, the commander of the United States Army and Air forces in the Philippines was paralysed by indecision and failed to bring his command to a state of readiness to meet the clear threat of a Japanese attack. His air power was destroyed on the ground by Japanese bombers. With no air support, the United States Asiatic Fleet was forced to withdraw from Philippine waters. The inexcusable neglect of his duty by MacArthur compromised the defence of the Philippines from the first day. His troops were left in a hopeless position without air or naval support. Although many would believe that he deserved to be removed from command for grave neglect of duty, MacArthur was able to arrange for the President of the United States to transfer him to a new command in Australia before his exhausted and starving troops were forced to surrender to the Japanese. When safe in Australia with his staff officers, MacArthur refused to allow his abandoned troops to surrender, and ordered them to fight to the end. This section of the Pacific War web-site explains how a general, who many would view as unworthy, was able to assume control of Australia's defence in 1942.