Four ways US Army’s Pacific chief plans to boost regional land forces

Four ways US Army’s Pacific chief plans to boost regional land forces

HONOLULU — America and its Pacific partners are building a network of land forces to deter those who would threaten regional stability, but there are four building blocks to make this joint effort a success, according to the head of U.S. Army forces in the area.

Gen. Charles Flynn’s comments at a gathering of regional military leaders in Hawaii comes as China clashes with nearby nations over territorial disputes, and as North Korea continues to build its nuclear arsenal.

The U.S. Army and its allies and partners in the theater are finding more ways to come together and build relationships, Flynn said, some of which have endured since the end of World War II.

Regional countries must come together and “do so with a sense of urgency often only reserved for the most demanding situations,” Flynn said during his speech at the Association of the U.S. Army’s LANPAC conference.

“The situation now demands it, but we need not go it alone,” he added. “In this region, campaigning for land power provides something that no other foreign military power can. It is something that only land forces deliver. It’s called positional advantage.”

The strategic land power network, which is still taking shape, “must get in position to defend our sovereignty, to protect our people and to uphold their rights under international law,” he said.

There are four steps to accomplishing this, Flynn noted.

“First,” he said, “reorganize the most battle-winning mix of capabilities.”

The U.S. Army’s regionally focused multidomain task forces, Australia’s 10th Brigade, and the cross-domain formations Japan is creating serve as examples of how to reorganize forces to strengthen formations with high-end capabilities, Flynn told Defense News in an interview. In addition, countries in the theater should share their concepts among each other to ensure interoperability, he added.

The U.S. Army has also deployed a security force assistance brigade, a theater fires element and an information warfare directorate into areas near China.

Flynn’s second building block is to regenerate combined joint warfighting capabilities. In other words, “training together, rehearsing together,” he said.

Central to that is bringing the U.S. Army’s Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center from Hawaii to other countries in the theater as an exportable version, dubbed JPMRC-X. Australia and Indonesia hosted such versions last year; the same is expected to happen in the Philippines this month, where the JPMRC-X will help inform how the country plans to create its own high-level training events.

There’s “an increasing thirst from the region on that, in large measure because they go to our schools and then they have also been to our training centers. Only now, JPMRC is closer and it looks like the environment in the region,” Flynn said.

That type of effort also applies to Flynn’s third building block, which is to reapply land power to create unity of effort, and the fourth block, which is to build enduring advantages through regional posture, “allowing our Army forces to control decisive points.”

The U.S. Army also achieves this through extensive exercises, dubbed Operation Pathways, that continuously run throughout the year.

Flynn noted in his speech that the opportunity to increase multilateral cooperation is the highest he has ever seen. Each drill under Operation Pathways is growing as more move from bilateral to multilateral events, in some cases involving more than a dozen countries.

“Each of your armies has a duty to your nations, but also each of us has something to offer the group represented here today,” Flynn said in his speech. “The demonstration of unity and collective commitment is growing stronger by the day, and I’m very proud of the progress we’re making together because our tactical actions are having operational and strategic effects.”

Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.

Read the full article here