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Army presence in Asia-Pacific theater ensures stability, security

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The Association of the United States Army’s Institute of Land Warfare has recently released a new publication.

"The U.S. Army in the Pacific: Assuring Security and Stability" (Torchbearer National Security Report, April 2013) discusses the Army’s mission in the Asia–Pacific theater – where it has maintained a permanent forward presence for more than a century.

The Army’s role in assuring security and stability as a key component of the joint force – to prevent conflict by maintaining decisive advantages via the forward presence of trained and ready ground forces; to shape the international security environment by engaging the human domain, growing positive relationships with partner militaries and reassuring allies; and to win the nation’s wars decisively through prompt and sustained land combat if prevention and shaping prove insufficient – is timeless.

Four main tenets underpin the strategy that Army forces employ in the Pacific region to accomplish their mission to be responsive to the requirements of U.S. Pacific Command.

First, the Army provides trained and ready forces that possess the capability to conduct operations anywhere in the region, thereby presenting the combatant commander with a range of response options no matter what contingency emerges.

Second, it persistently engages with other militaries and governments, employing its considerable influence throughout the human domain where security decisions are made.

Third, it empowers the combatant commander with agile mission command options that are unmatched by any other service.

Fourth, it demonstrates America’s commitment to regional security and stability via its permanent forward presence.

U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) maintains its longtime role as a force provider, but it has also undergone a significant transformation to an operational and deployable theater army headquarters.

I Corps and most of its combat power – as well as most of the Army’s Pacific theater enabling commands – have returned from deployments in the Middle East; they expect to remain available and resume their historical participation in major multilateral training exercises.

In addition, USARPAC has developed a contingency command post – a mini-theater army headquarters capability – designed for rapid response, and Eighth Army is now solely a warfighting command with new expeditionary roles. In short, the joint force has at its disposal a considerable array of experienced, trained and ready Army forces that are prepared for any task.

These forces also shape the human domain through their engagement with allied and partner militaries in the region.

Such efforts limit harmful military influence from adversaries and complement the Army’s unilateral initiatives to deter potential aggression even as they build the capabilities of friendly forces.

Formal military exercises (of large and small scales), Subject Matter Expert Exchanges, direct partnerships between Asian countries and the Army National Guard, soldier exchange assignments and many other shaping activities are central to U.S. national security policy.

Among numerous other benefits, these efforts preserve operational and training access for U.S. and coalition forces in the event of conflict and leverage partner capabilities to help achieve U.S. goals.

A third critical function that soldiers deliver to the joint force is the capability to support operations throughout the entire theater over time if necessary.

The 8th Theater Sustainment Command is spread throughout forward bases and power-projection points in the region and provides operational depth and theater-wide capability to reconcile strategic capability with tactical support requirements. Army prepositioned stocks are being reconfigured to support realistic training with partner militaries and to include versatile equipment ideal for partner support. Also, the Army has developed the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Capability – a transportable capability that replicates the experience of a combat training center rotation – and will begin employing it to train Army units during Fiscal Year 2014.

Strategic landpower is the most tangible and durable measure of America’s commitment to defend its interests, protect its friends and defeat its enemies. Security and war are always fundamentally about people, culture and decisions – the human domain of conflict – and strategic landpower exists to shape this domain and prevail throughout it.

Unwavering support for a balanced approach to Army end strength, modernization and readiness to conduct joint operations in the Asia-Pacific theater is key to maintaining a force of decisive action that stands ready to prevent, shape and win when the nation calls.

This and other ILW publications are available online at http://www.ausa.org/ilw and can also be obtained by calling (800) 336-4570, Ext. 4630, or by e-mailing a request to [email protected].