US Army expands interoperability with Navy and Marines in the Pacific

US Army Photo

Developing relationships and improving interoperability with allied partners through exercises and engagements is the US Army Pacific’s goal, command officials told reporters last week.

The command is pushing for increased preparedness and the ability to respond to contingencies in the Indo-Pacific region, which is in line with the Defense Ministry’s emphasis on the concept of integrated deterrence, they told reporters. .

When it comes to the strategic and operational aspect of integrated deterrence, one of the United States’ greatest advantages is its allies and partners and friends around the world, said Lt. Gen. James Jarrard, deputy commanding general of USARPAC. SSpecifically in the Indo-Pacific, these allies and partners share the same values ​​and are working to create a free and open region allowing each country to pursue its course according to its own sovereign interest.

“So continuing to develop those relationships is a key part of integrated deterrence at both a strategic and operational level,” he added.

Future iterations of Operation Pathways and USARPAC exercises west of the International Date Line will see similar trends to joint exercise Super Garuda Shield 2022, – held in Indonesia in August with multinational partners – said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey VanAntwerp, deputy commanding general for operations, 25th Infantry Division.

Originally a bilateral U.S. Army and Indonesian military exercise, the service transformed Garuda Shield into a multinational, joint exercise this year with the participation of Australian, Japanese and Singaporean troops, in addition to the participation of observers and staff from Canada, France, India and Malaysia. , New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the United Kingdom.

The U.S. military also added a maritime component, carried out by ships from Indonesia, Singapore, and the United States. USS littoral combat ship Charleston (LCS-18) and USS amphibious transport dock Green Bay (LPD-20) conducted joint drills and maneuvers in the Natuna Sea with Indonesian Navy KRI corvettes Bung Tomo (357), KRI John Lie (358), and KRI Frans Kaisiepo (368) and KRI landing platform dock makassar (590), as well as the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) frigate RSS Supreme (73) and dock landing platform RSS ship Resolution (208).

A Green Beret with 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) briefs Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 3 and 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment during a joint Marine-Navy exercise aboard from the amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD-20), October 4, 2021. U.S. Army Photo

“We find that if we just train army to army with another army, that’s fine – that’s good for developing that kind of combined interoperability – but the reality is that unless you do jointly, unless you’re doing it multinational, you’re just not going to be successful,” VanAntwerp said. “And so our interest is to take a lot of these exercises, and if our partners are interested and we want to work together and expanding those exercises to ones where we’re working multinationally and jointly, that’s absolutely where we’d like to go”.

A key element for USARPAC to ensure its forces are ready, available and deployable is the command’s Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC), which has three campuses – one in Oahu, Hawaii, one in Alaska, and the third a deployable expeditionary capability. . Not only do these centers build readiness and prepare soldiers for deployments in the region, but they also maintain trained and ready forces.

“Before, when we had to send our forces back to the United States, it cost us a lot of money, so we manage to save money, and it cost us a lot of time. It usually took about a month and a half to two months of transit time, or even more, for our equipment. And so our forces are pooled and available here in the region,” Jarrard said.

The JPMRC also allows USARPAC units to train in environments similar to environments in the Indo-Pacific region.

“The National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California was a big desert. And that’s helpful if you’re going to deploy to the Middle East, not so much if you’re here in the Pacific. We have the jungle environment and the island archipelago environment that we have here in the Pacific, here in Hawaii. But in Alaska we also have the high cold mountains that we have in other parts of the Pacific,” Jarrard said.

The JPMRC also allows USARPAC to simultaneously conduct exercises and rehearsals with foreign partners, while preparing its units for upcoming deployments, such as the current JPMRC Rotation 23-01 which runs from 20 October to November 10 around Hawaii. The rotation includes 6,000 personnel from the 25th Infantry Division and 354 personnel from partner nations, the majority of which are infantry companies from Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, in addition to observers from Australia. , Bangladesh, Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia and New Zealand. , and Singapore. U.S. personnel are primarily from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), as part of ensuring the brigade is ready to deploy in the event of an emergency and preparing the brigade for its Pathways deployment in 2023. The three companies partner nations will integrate on a base enterprise with one of the three battalions of the 2nd BCT. They will perform similar tasks to US companies in the exercise.

Personnel from the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) also participate in the training, while the US Air Force provides support with aircraft, close air support and defensive counter-air capabilities.

USS Hopper (DDG-70) is also participating in the exercise. VanAntwerp said the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer inserted a US Army special operations team into the training area last week.

US Marines with 3d Marine Littoral Regiment, 3d Marine Division, stand guard during a field training exercise at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii on May 30, 2022. US Marine corps photo

The US Marine Corps 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment is also participating in the exercise.

“The Marine Littoral Regiment is doing what it set out to do, what we, the joint force, plan to do in its role, just as we expect in a conflict,” VanAntwerp said when USNI News asked. questions about the role of the 3rd MLR in the exercise. “They are currently forward deployed with multiple senses and fires, forward expeditionary bases, and they will be opening up air corridors and sea lanes to allow our forces during the rest of the joint force to move into that area. operational.”

Jarrard said the rotation of the JPMRC is done on an annual basis and countries have been invited to observe the exercise to decide whether they wish to participate in future iterations.

“And so we’re seeing increased interest in this capability and what we’re doing across the Pacific, and so we think that’s a really good way to continue to develop relationships with our allies and partners,” he said. he declares.

Regarding the next Keen Sword exercise in Japan in Novemberr, Jarrard said while this is primarily a US Navy and Marine Corps exercise, the US military will participate with its multi-domain task force and deploy to the southern islands -western Japan with some of its key capabilities.

Jarrard stressed that continued engagement is essential to build interoperability so U.S. and partner forces can respond to events and crises in the region, from humanitarian operations to disaster relief. or responses to military situations.

The United States and its partners must be able to understand how each other works and have equipment that allows all parties to communicate effectively with each other.

“And so that’s what we need to work on every time we come together with our allies and partners so that we can do that better. We still have areas where we don’t have a very good handle on, even though we do. for a long time, and so we need to continually improve, so that when we need to work together, we can do so at an effective level,” Jarrard said.

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