Army Increases Commitment to Pacific Re-Balance

Army Increases Commitment to Pacific Re-Balance

Although the Navy and Air Force have generated more headlines related to the Pentagon’s much-discussed Pacific Re-balance, the Army has taken a series of initiatives to advance its standing in the Pacific region.

Army leaders have expanded exercises with allies, boosted Foreign Military Sales, and emphasized military-to-military partnerships. The service has also set out plans to regional align units across the Army to establish expertise in the Pacific and other areas of the world.

Over this past summer, U.S. Army Pacific was made a 4-star command during a ceremony at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks was named U.S. Army Pacific Commander at the event, which was led by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno.


Odierno regularly references the Pacific-reblance, often citing the importance of land armies and allied relationships in the region. In July, Army Secretary John McHugh referred to the rebalance efforts as a “return to our roots” while speaking in Hawaii.

“It may not be evident to everyone, but the fact of the matter is the Army has for decades upon decades been a major presence in the Pacific. The last 12 years have caused us to focus in two theaters of conflict, but as those have begun to wind down in the last year, it allows us to get back to the things we’ve been doing very, very well for a very long time,” he said.

When the Army’s top leaders gather in Washington D.C. next week for the Association of the  U.S. Army’s annual meeting, the service’s role in the Pacific is expected to be discussed at length. The theme for this year’s conference is “Globally Responsive, Regionally Aligned.” Those alignments include a focus on Africa and the Middle East, but Army leaders plan to increase its commitment to the Pacific.

Overall, seven of the world’s 10 largest armies are in the Pacific theater, a vast, sprawling area covering 16 million square miles, 39 nations and territories and more than 25,000 islands.  In fact, five of the nation’s seven defense treaties are based in Asia, said Rickey Smith, Director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, Forward.

“When forces of other nations are predominantly Army, then that is a good fit for us. We are globally responsive, we are regionally engaged. PACOM is a key region and this is an area where we see a natural progression for the Army,” Smith said.

In a move that raised some eyebrows, the Army has been working with the Navy to conduct at-sea landing exercises for helicopters in order to sustain an ability to be expeditionary.Over the summer, Army helicopters landed in a series of exercises aboard a handful of Navy ships, including the USS Ponce, an amphibious transport dock.

The exercises took place in what’s called the 5th fleet area of responsibility, an area which covers the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and other waters nearby. Photos of Army helicopters landing on Navy vessels surprised many and drew questions to whether the Army was impeding on Marine Corps missions.

Explaining that the Army has a role in the often-discussed Air Sea Battle operating concept, Smith said the Army wants to work closely with its partner services to address potential  Anti-Access/Area-Denial challenges. AirSea Battle, or ASB, is an operating concept designed to help U.S. forces gain access to contested areas and project power. The Air Force and Navy dominate the conversation on Air Sea Battle as the name implies.

“We see things as Air Sea Battle as complementing our work in terms of maintaining access,”  Smith said.

The Army currently has 18,500 soldier stationed in Korea, 2,400 in Japan, 2,000 in Guam, 480 in the Philippines, 22,300 in Hawaii and 13,500 in Alaska. The service plans to support the national defense strategy by strengthening partnerships with existing allies in the region and conduction numerous joint exercises, service officials said.

“The ground element of the Pacific rebalance is important to ensure the stability in the region,” said Col. Michael Donelly, U.S.  Army Pacific spokesman.

Citing the importance of regional ties, Donelly said the U.S. will next month host the  U.S.-China disaster management discussions.

“This is the second year we’ve done this. We collaborate and have an open discussion about disaster management,” he said.

Foreign Military Sales is another key area of Asia-specific emphasis for the Army.

In fiscal year 2012, the Army completed $19.3 billion in FMS sales involving technologies ranging from Apache attack helicopters to radars, small arms and air defense systems. The majority of the business went to Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Australia and Singapore.

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“Over this past summer, U.S. Army Pacific was made a 4-star command during a ceremony at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks was named U.S. Army Pacific Commander at the event, which was led by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno.”

Yawn, another general earns his wings. I mean, command.

Iam happy t see all the troops return to the Philippines and Japan that’s a natural setting for US policy. Not the Arab Middle East till Bush one got in in that crap. Cool pic to see Apaches fly from carrier decks.

Defense budgets are being cut. Bring those 18,500 soldiers home from South Korea and 2,400 from Japan. We Americans have bought enough cars from them and WalMart stuff shipped on Korean and Japanese (and Chinese) built ships so they have money to pay to expand THEIR armies. Let them defend themselves.

Another four-star? Really? They should have downgraded that position, as we let our “allies” pick up more of the respsonsibility and cost to defend themselves and THEIR interests.

Last month at the APEC conference China offered Indonesia 25 billion dollars worth of trade and Obama couldn’t afford an interpreter. Pretty sums up the collapse of US influence in Asia.

Hagel went all round the region asking everyone for bases (and by the way can you pay for them because we are broke) and everyone said no. Even the much touted Australian base is just 200 marines on quick rotation.

Nobody even mentions the pacific pivot in Asia anymore because it didn’t happen and doesn’t look like happening anytime soon. If troops bugging out of Afghanistan and Iraq are pivoting to the pacific because the US has a pacific coast yea well its a pacific pivot or it just as well be called going home.

Right about now the Saudis will be thinking about how to get the US back mired in Syria to stymie any Iranian rapprochement.

The army can run from the middle east but its only one well executed terrorist attack away from being dragged back kicking and screaming.

The al Qaeda operatives already have looted chemical weapons from Syria must be keeping the CIA analysts up at night — or maybe not they always seem to be clueless before every attack.

Not mentioned in the article, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA is a huge part of the Army’s Pacific operations with several Korea/Japan exercises going on this year. Stryker and aviation units regularly send troops out there with whole battalions now going for months at a time.

ROKA’s doing plenty, though most of it is DPRK-focused.

Would be cool to see SEATO return.

Expansion in the Pacific is all about increasing profits for the Military-Industrial Complex, just as was our incursions in the Middle East. Our country has transmogrified into the world’s largest Welfare/Warfare State. We would not have an economy except for our imperialist ic policy of waging wars throughout the world. The Arabs/Muslims and Asians are always handy expendable targets for our military.

News flash.
Newest air force command is being ramped to be headed by a new SIX star general: Supreme Generalli I. M. Dork. Supreme Generalli will lead the new air force pivot to the Pacific by heading up the new command called Supreme Commander Earth Pacific Command or SupComePaccom.

Generalli Dork promises close cooperation with the Navy and Army and he promises not to hog the spot light in the next Transformers movie but he’ll make sure more air craft carriers get sunk while not a single air base gets attacked by the Decepticons ;-P

Yeah. Let’s strand more Army units on islands where they add NO value to the fight. Smart strategy.

Give Japan and Korea the F-22. Keep a token force in case anyone gets froggy and attacks (so we don’t have to pay 3 times the value) and bring our forces home.

Do annual “Asian” REFORGERs.

Tell P.I. and their ungrateful demands to kiss our ass and deal with the Spratly Islands by themselves.

See if we can move Oki Marines and all other “Unwelcome” Asian assets to a uninhabited place in Northern Australia.

Our Navy gets stronger to keep shipping lanes open…or not. We can reopen a Curtis Mathis plant or two.

I know this is simplistic. But throwing money, that we don’t have, at a “new” threat is even more idiotic. Time for some of our “friends” to the east, to put up or shut up (excluding South Korea).

Agreed. If army units cannot sting from the islands or move from the islands, they are just sitting ducks.

Unless we start putting VLS cells ashore and use them to fire anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles?

Don’t we have any of the old harpoon batteries still left? I remember there being a Quad-pack launcher fitted to trucks for just this duty.

That’s an AMPHIB not a carrier.…

The Australian base is not just 200 Marines. The initial deployment was 200 Marines just to get the place set up and establish the training regime. The intent of the US Marine Corps is to deploy a full MAGTF within the next year or so.

Actually ROK picks up the tab for US forces deployed there. And in any case, its far cheaper to keep those forces there as a deterrent than to have to fight another war if the Norks invaded again.

You really don’t keep up with the times.

Both Japan and Korea has been paying the US for all the forces stationed there.

Oh, and Japan houses far more than 2,400 US forces.

The Washington alone houses 5,000.

The Indonesians openly laugh a tthe base, I guess they don’t have much respect for American intent these days.

The only thing that has pivoted to the pacific is the pentagons marketing department.

Before you slam the General, maybe you should do a little research and see what he has accomplished.

Deck flat, planes and choppers take off. Is carrier /sarc

The Norwegians have ‘em, I didn’t think the United States had any.

Cheese and Rice. Lance. Considering the US has been having problems in the ME sense before Regan and well before bush can we get OVER the BUSH OBSESSION!

But you are right. We have negelected our allies in the region and our back yard for far to long.

.……Manion.……Put up or shut up…interesting they have over and over and over. Hell even the Pacifist (not really no more than Americans are non-violent) Japanese have done better by use than some of our traditional allies in Europe.

The problems. We are lead by weaklings. Thus no one respects us.

I would love to have a SEATO return. Hopefully, they will have the old SEATO practice of having a day off for every Member Countries’ National Holidays. I might have to come out of Military Retirement to be assigned to SEATO in Bangkok and enjoy these perks.

The US never invaded an occupied 2 countries on massive credit without end states. Americans aren’t STUPID!!

False, they pay maybe 5% of the cost and we don’t get a penny. The money goes to rent for Korean landowners and Korean construction firms.

I agree, to a point. The Army should be developing land based AAW units to be deployed to protect key units, bases, and harbors from attacks, leaving the Navy to open the door for the Marines and Army to be transported into the fight. Forward based army units on islands have their benefit, but only if they are protected by organic missiles defenses. The Army could really become an integral part of AirSea Battle if they’d adapt some of their units to providing for defense of static units. Otherwise, until AirSea battle doctrine has allowed for the Air Force and Navy to open the path, the Army will have to wait to participate.

The Pacific Rim has far more strategic importance to us than the middle-east. The pacific Rim has for the first time in about 70 years a foreign power who will challenge us and will have the military power to be a serious threat.…China’s goal is to “Rule The Pacific Rim.

This fact has been presented forever.

Hah, a return of the Coastal Artillery?!

Army already retains control of the Patriot, Avenger and Linebacker batteries, so they have AAW. We got rid of GLCM, so no more Tomahawk launchers, and no more IRBMs, so we don’t have that either. There’s always ATACMS.

I suppose we do need newer anti-ship missiles, plus the systems to fire them from. Ground-launched harpoon, or that VL’ed LRS-B? Edit: Hellfire and AMRAAM can be fired from Humvees, so I suppose if one really wanted to defend an island, there would be a fair amount of missile types to make that happen.

I suppose it would be more entertaining to simply

looks like the stern of a LHA

That is obviously a photo shopped picture. Everybody knows that if a US Army Apache, Blackhawk or Chinook were ever to land on a US Navy ship it would cause a rift in the Time-Space continuum resulting in a instant black hole and the destruction of the World in a fraction of a second. The United States Marine Corps has been warning of this for decades. That has been why the Marines have been forced to save the world by using different and very expensive to maintain helicopter than the Army. Some people think the services could save money and consolidate training by using the same equipment, but that foolishness would just speed up the approach of End Times. Plus if they used all the same stuff, Marines would just be Soldiers in spiffy eight point hats.

The reason that USMC helicopters land on ships is because they are designed for them. Shielded wiring to make them HERO-safe, electronics sealed against salt water, ground support equipment compatible with ship decks, rotor brakes for wind limitations and safety. Did you ask yourself why the Apache in the picture doesn’t have any ordance on it? Probably because they have no clue how to load it on a ship, let alone design an aircraft that can do it safely without risking an explosion a la USS Forrestal. Any helicopter pilot can land on a ship. It’s not hard. OPERATING from a ship as part of an integrated maritime package is entirely different.

Wow so when the British Army operates Apache, Chinook and Lynx shipboard for weeks on end, they just have no clue what they are doing. Nice to know that other forces don’t know anything either, but just get lucky 24/7. Seems the USMC is nervous and selling the US fairy tales. Remember that even after a decade plus of constant proof on the battlefield, the Army still likes you guys on the Jr. Varsity.

British Army? You mean the British military which is roughly the size of the USMC? Last I checked, they weren’t exactly known for recent amphibious-based crisis response. An exercise for a couple of weeks at a time is completely different from sustained rotations of 6–9 months on and off of ships with all of the required support. As for your “JV” comment, you have revealed your ignorance. Smaller, yes. “JV” is thinking that working on Navy ships is a pickup game that anyone can figure out over night. I’m done having an intelligent conversation with you if you are going to call the USMC “JV.”

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