Flynn: ‘Learn the Indo-Pacific’

Flynn: ‘Learn the Indo-Pacific’

Soldiers in joint training mission in Pacific
Photo by: U.S. Army/Pfc. Anthony Ford

The commander of U.S. Army Pacific has issued a call to action to his fellow leaders and soldiers.

“Learn the Indo-Pacific,” Gen. Charles Flynn said. “The stakes to understanding what’s actually happening out here is really important.”

The Army, as the U.S. military’s linchpin force, plays an “enormously important role” in the Indo-Pacific, Flynn said. “This is not an air and maritime theater,” he said. “This is a joint theater. It’s got joint challenges. The Army is an enormously important element of the joint force.”

In remarks Sept. 12 at the 2023 Maneuver Warfighter Conference and a day later during a media roundtable, Flynn urged young leaders, especially, to consider seriously the growing challenge posed by China.

China will remain the pacing challenge for the U.S. over the next decade, so young leaders must be “prepared and thinking about the consequences of what will unfold” with China and its continued efforts to modernize and build up its military, Flynn said.

The Indo-Pacific is the most consequential theater with the most consequential adversary, Flynn said. The region is home to more than half the world’s population, two of the three largest economies, nine of the 10 largest ports, seven of the world’s 10 largest standing militaries and five of the world’s declared nuclear nations, according to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

For its part, Army Pacific is focused on integrated deterrence, building enduring advantage and campaigning in the region, Flynn said.

These efforts include Operation Pathways, which includes “more than 40 joint Army exercises” across the region, and placing “combat-credible forces forward in the region,” Flynn said. Army Pacific also runs the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center in Hawaii and Alaska, where rotations enable soldiers to train in environments that mimic the Indo-Pacific.

The command also is looking to modernize its hardware and weapons systems, Flynn said. “We have some modernization efforts that have been underway for a number of years,” he said, with some new equipment already in soldiers’ hands and others “coming later this year.”

Army Pacific also can help develop and test unmanned systems as part of its modernization efforts. “The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center is a great platform to … take … any unmanned systems and put them in an environment and in conditions that replicate the region,” Flynn said.

As the Army continues to build it presence and relationships in the Indo-Pacific, challenges in the region will only be solved with joint and multinational solutions, Flynn said. “Armies [in the Pacific] are an essential part of the solution,” he said. “The U.S. Army in the Pacific has an important and vital role in tying together the network of manpower forces out here.”