Indo-Pacific Success Requires ‘All of Us Together’

Indo-Pacific Success Requires ‘All of Us Together’

People at a panel discussion
Photo by: AUSA/Jared Lieberher

Strong partnerships and a sense of urgency are critical to maintaining a safe and open Indo-Pacific, a panel of experts said May 14 during the Association of the U.S. Army’s LANPAC Symposium and Exposition.

“Everything we do here is inherently joint, and what we do here really matters,” said Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson, commanding general of I Corps. “The things we’re going to accomplish of significance in this region will take all of us together.”

This includes training and exercising with partners and allies, building joint interior lines—compact lines of maneuver, communications and logistics—and strengthening what leaders refer to as the land power network, Brunson said during a panel discussion titled “Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts—Integration of All Domains for the Coalition, Joint Campaign.”

Marcia Holmes, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for mission capabilities, agreed. “Our biggest strength in this area is with our allies and partners,” she said.

As an example, DoD is “accelerating advanced technologies” through its trilateral security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom, also known as AUKUS. DoD also has entered a partnership with Japan’s ministry of defense and is strengthening its alliances with countries such as the Philippines and South Korea, Holmes said.

“We truly believe the U.S. military and the alliances are greater than the strength of their parts,” she said.

In addition to training, the Army also is actively conducting experiments in the region, said Lt. Gen. David Hodne, director of Army Futures Command’s Futures and Concepts Center. Citing as an example the recently completed Project Convergence capstone event, Hodne said the Army “certainly gets a lot of value” out of experimenting on new and emerging technologies in real-world scenarios across the Indo-Pacific.

For the next Project Convergence capstone event, Hodne said the Army’s goal is to conduct it “forward and distributed in theater” in the Indo-Pacific.

Looking ahead, Brunson and Hodne both talked about having a sense of urgency as the Army prepares for the future.

Brunson said he worries about “the time we have available to prepare for the next thing.”

“We only have so much time that we can be engaged at the levels that we’re at before we get to the end of our time,” he said. “Woe to us if we say, if I’d only made that association, if I’d only made that call.”

Hodne added that while 2040—a milestone for many Army transformation efforts—may seem far in the future, “there is an urgency.”

“The time it takes to research, experiment, prototype, build and field, if there are new capabilities, … we’ve got to begin that work now, or else it won’t be in formations by the time 2040 rolls around,” Hodne said. “There’s an urgency. You can feel it.”

The Futures and Concepts Center also is working to coherently share and employ lessons learned with partners and allies. “What lessons are allies and partners learning?” he said. “Time is not in our favor.”