Flynn ‘Encouraged’ by Army’s Indo-Pacific Progress

Flynn ‘Encouraged’ by Army’s Indo-Pacific Progress

soldier in helicopter looking at pacific island mountians
Photo by: U.S. Army National Guard/Sgt. Lianne M. Hirano

The Army is in a full-court press to prevent conflict in the Indo-Pacific, the commander of U.S. Army Pacific said.

“We already have a limited regional war going on in Europe. We’ve got a limited regional war going on in the Middle East. The last thing that we can afford is to have another war out here in the Pacific,” Gen. Charles Flynn said recently during Defense One’s 2024 State of Defense series. “And we’re doing everything we can to prevent that from happening.”

The Army has made “pretty substantial” progress in the region between 2020 and 2024, Flynn said. The service has made several moves to increase its Indo-Pacific presence, including activating in 2022 a third multidomain task force that is aligned to the region; activating two mid-range capability batteries to support joint efforts; and standing up its first composite watercraft company at Yokohama, Japan.

The first battery will deploy into the region this year, Flynn confirmed.

As the war in Ukraine continues, lessons about suppressing enemy capabilities and training apply to potential future conflict in the Indo-Pacific, Flynn said.

“We’re … redefining what the close fight is,” he said. “The distances that we’re seeing, and the effects that we’re seeing from land-based forces, … and the ranges that [we’re seeing from] loitering munitions … to either conduct reconnaissance, to do targeting or to actually conduct an offensive operation in real-time in Ukraine are absolutely transferable out here.”

The Army also is shifting toward “scalable” and “mobile” command posts in the region to avoid detection. “Being able to take a big piece of terrain and set up a big command post, those days are long over,” Flynn said. “We need to be able to hide within the clutter because it's very difficult to find ground formations that are on the move or are able to mask their signatures.”

In 2024 and beyond, the Army will focus on its initiatives and preventing war in the Indo-Pacific.

“It’s … becoming more and more apparent that defense remains the strongest form of warfare,” Flynn said. “I’m really encouraged by a number of initiatives that are underway at both Headquarters Department of the Army and the major commands. … We do have to take a long view on this and focus our energy and efforts on preventing a war from happening here.”

Flynn and leaders from the U.S. Army and armies across the Indo-Pacific will delve more deeply into the challenges facing land forces in the region during the Association of the U.S. Army’s LANPAC Symposium and Exposition May 14–16 in Honolulu. For more information or to register, click here.