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Landpower Essential in Defending Indo-Pacific

The Department of Defense conducts more than 40 army-to-army joint multinational exercises annually in the Indo-Pacific to increase integrated deterrence.

Allied partners and U.S. Army Pacific leaders spoke about the importance these exercises play in readiness and how landpower affects the region during a panel discussion at the 2023 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C. last week.

“I believe that the security architecture that binds this region together is landpower,” said Gen. Charles Flynn, U.S. Army Pacific commanding general. “The armies [in the area] play a central role in territorial defense and protecting their national sovereignty.”

Allies and partner nations are moving toward multilateral and multinational operations because of the challenges they are facing from the People’s Republic of China, Flynn said.

“This is a very serious threat that is facing the region,” he added. “We have to do everything we can as a nation to get into the right place with the right capabilities in support of our allies and partners as a counterweight and as a method of deterring war.”

U.S. Army Pacific is tackling these challenges by implementing the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center, utilizing Operation Pathways, and building joint interior lines.

The readiness center was established three years ago to provide realistic training opportunities to U.S. service members and partner nations in the region. It’s the first new combat training center outside the continental U.S. in 50 years.

Each year, the center executes three training rotations, one in the terrains of the Hawaiian Islands, one in Alaska’s extreme cold weather, and one at a satellite location.

The deployable version was used in Indonesia in 2021-2022 before making its way to Talisman Sabre 23 for a one-of-a-kind collaboration with the Australian Combat Training Center.

“The region sees the value of what our combat training centers present, and they want to get that level of high-end training in their countries,” Flynn said.

Through Operation Pathways, USARPAC strengthens regional defense partnerships by training with allies and partners on numerous exercises including Talisman Sabre, Super Garuda Shield, Orient Shield and Yama Sakura.

U.S. Soldiers and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members recently participated in Orient Shield 23, which aimed to improve bilateral targeting processes ahead of the large-scale Yama Sakura exercise in December.

“I believe Orient Shield and the Yama Sakura exercise are extremely important and a rare opportunity to improve our cross-domain and multi-domain operational collaboration,” said Lt. Gen. Kobayashi Hiroki, vice chief of staff, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force.

USARPAC is building joint interior lines through protection, sustainment and command and control. 

“The joint interior lines are us building forward positions to create enduring advantage, to create operational reach and to build operational endurance for the joint force,” Flynn said.

The protection piece comes through counter-unmanned aerial systems, engineering and medical, as well as short-, medium- and long-range air defense.

For sustainment, the Army is building distribution centers and using Operation Pathways to test the deployment of pre-position stocks of equipment throughout the Pacific.

Talisman Sabre 23 tested those lines during joint petroleum over-the-shore and joint logistics over-the-shore operations.

Joint petroleum over-the-shore simulated the transfer of fuel pumped from an offshore vessel to inland distribution points used for operations. The joint logistics over-the-shore tested the discharge of vehicles and equipment from sea to shore in harsh environments.

“What those joint interior lines are doing, along with Operation Pathways, and along with training in the region, is to take time and space away from [China], to deny them terrain, and to keep our physical presence forward with hard power to deter a war from happening,” Flynn explained.

These efforts combined with the establishment of two multi-domain task forces in the region give the Army scalable, survivable and maneuverable land forces that create multiple challenges for the enemy across all domains, he added.

“The goal is no war,” Flynn said. “Landpower’s contribution to the joint force is to prevent that from happening.”

Source : Army



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