Soldiers Sharpen Combat Skills in Indo-Pacific

Soldiers Sharpen Combat Skills in Indo-Pacific

Soldiers training in the Indo-Pacific region
Photo by: U.S. Army

The Army is beefing up its training capabilities in the Indo-Pacific as it seeks to deter America’s competitors and strengthen relationships with allies and partners, the commander of U.S. Army Pacific said. 

The growth of China’s People’s Liberation Army in the past few years is “concerning,” Gen. Charles Flynn said. The modernization that they have undertaken, and the pace of that modernization, and the increased activity in the region that we're seeing is concerning,” he said during a recent media roundtable. “When they add that kind of resourcing to their efforts, it bears us watching what they’re doing.”

China is trying to establish itself not just “as the most powerful and influential country in the region,” but as “a global superpower,” according to a Rand Corp. brief. 

To counter China’s growth, the U.S. is working to strengthen its ties with allies and partners in the region. In several cases, countries are interested in partnering with the U.S. military after seeing American weapons systems at work in Ukraine, said Flynn, who called it a “positive step.” 

“[One of] the lessons learned from Ukraine … is that our weapons work, from the Javelin to HIMARS to counter-UAS capabilities,” he said. “In the Indo-Pacific … a number of countries are taking note and then asking about potential opportunities, so I’m encouraged by what I see.” 

The Army also is stepping up its training and making sure soldiers train in conditions and environments that mimic the Indo-Pacific, from tropical jungles to freezing mountains. Much of this is done at the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center, which has locations in Hawaii and Alaska and an exportable capability that can bring the training to a host nation in the region.

The center “allows our forces to train and become the archipelago, island, jungle, tropic experts of the joint force, and then also in extreme cold weather and mountains in the Arctic Circle of Alaska,” Flynn said. 

Additionally, the Army is working to improve its capabilities in the region. Most recently, it stood up the 3rd Multi-Domain Task Force, a theater-specific unit that employs long-range precision effects. The unit will be fully operational at the end of May, Flynn said.

The task force “went through a certification exercise at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, just a couple of months ago, and they are full up in the region and operating and learning from the growth of the 1st Multi-Domain Task Force,” Flynn said. “I’m really encouraged at the speed and the pace that the 3rd Multi-Domain Task Force is building itself.”