Staff Sgt. Christopher McCullough
U.S. Army Pacific Public Affairs
U.S. Army Pacific Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER — As 2016 draws to a close it’s time to reflect on the missions and accomplishments of U.S. Army-Pacific (USARPAC).
One of the most significant occurrences was USARPAC’s change of command. On May 4, Gen. Robert B. Brown took command from Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, who had served as the USARPAC commanding general for almost three years, in a public ceremony on historic Palm Circle, here.
Brown came to USARPAC with copious experience in Indo-Asian-Pacific matters. During his 35 years as a commissioned officer, he served 12 years with units focused on the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region, including as commanding general of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord; deputy commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division; commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (Stryker), 25th ID; executive assistant to the commander of U.S. Pacific Command; and director of training and exercises at USPACOM at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.
While at I Corps, Brown contributed to bringing about Pacific Pathways — USARPAC’s innovative and experimental approach to building Army readiness at echelon in the theater by linking existing exercises with partner nation militaries, in a “pathway,” and to keeping Army forces west of the international dateline for an extended period of time without additional bases.
“Pacific Pathways is, in my opinion, the biggest innovation I’ve seen in training and exercises in 35 years,” said Brown. “Yes, it’s the same exercises we used to do, but it’s done in different ways. It provides options to the combatant commander, where he’ll have forces 10 months out of the year west of the international dateline.”
This year’s Pathways included stops in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. The command also conducted a reverse Pathway for the first time. Instead of deploying Soldiers to Singapore, Japan and Canada, troops from those countries trained with USARPAC forces in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state.
In addition to touting Pathways, 2016 marked the first time the Oceania Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange (DREE) initiative was conducted in Vanuatu. The Vanuatu Mobile Force and USARPAC DREE was conducted with an emphasis on operational civil-military humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) topics to enhance collaboration and communication.
The U.S.-China Disaster Management Exchange was conducted at Kunming, Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China. The exchange represents an opportunity to build trust and improve coordination during humanitarian disasters.Likewise, USARPAC Soldiers staged a joint humanitarian relief drill alongside members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to improve coordination between the two countries’ forces during humanitarian disasters. The highlight of the Disaster Management Exchange was a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination Center.
“This kind of exchange acts as a bridge to promote relations between the two militaries, and I am sure it will be conducted in an even higher level in the future,” said Gen. Liu Xiaowu, commander of ground forces for China’s Southern Theater Command.
During 2017 and beyond, USARPAC plans to continue to build readiness by forging alliances and partnerships across the theater through exercises and strategic engagements; setting the path to multidomain battle; and empowering the USARPAC Team through mission command.