HONOLULU — While calling on partner nations in the Indo-Pacific region to bolster land power together, U.S. Army Pacific Command’s top leader announced the standup of a joint logistics command that will participate at Australia’s Exercise Talisman Saber in July.
The command, led by 8th Theater Sustainment Command’s leader Maj. Gen. Jered Helwig, will be closely aligned with Army Futures Command’s new, contested logistics, cross-functional team, based in Huntsville, Alabama.
Gen. Charles Flynn, U.S. Army Pacific commander, speaking during the 2023 Land Forces Pacific Symposium on May 16, said that during Unified Pacific, a series of war-games in 2022, the Army witnessed the impact of logistics in combat operations.
The exercises showcased what the Army could contribute to joint warfighting in the Indo-Pacific through the set of strategic exercises. Flynn said the Army participated in an additional two smaller war games this year.
“We are going to learn from the two war games, and we are going to learn from putting this Joint Logistics Command in place for a major exercise,” Flynn said. “It’s all in an effort to continue feeding our war-gaming work and to continue to look at how we reorganize, how we modernize and how we upgrade our operational stance in the Pacific.”
At Talisman Sabre, U.S. forces and the Australian Defence Force will train in largescale, multi-domain operations from July 22-Aug. 4 in Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales. About 30,000 participants — nearly double from 2021 — will take part in what the Australian military calls the largest iteration of the training event.
Flynn said that the region’s ground forces have reached a pivotal moment in military history, when the role of land forces once again takes increased importance. Flynn called to action the Army’s partner allies in attendance. About 30 nations attended the 10th annual conference to share ideas including 14 Army chiefs of staff.
“The time is now for the network of allies and partners, particularly the land power network, of nations represented in this room to demonstrate our sense of unity and collective commitment,” Flynn said. “Land power represents the very security architecture that binds this region together. Together we can and we will preserve the safe, stable and secure Pacific.”
Flynn said that he has seen an uptick in joint training, posture developments and more experimentation during exercises and expanding multi-national participation.
In addition to the standup of the new logistics command, the Army formed the 1st Multi-Domain Task Force with the Philippine Army, leading to the formation of the first bi-integrated effects fusion center.
The fusion center upgrades the capabilities of American and Filipino forces to collect and share information during joint exercises Balikitan and Salaknib.
“This is a groundbreaking initiative,” said Flynn, who recently met with Philippine Army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner.
Flynn outlined the Army’s lines of effort in the region. The Army established its newest training school, the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and hosted its first training rotation with forces from Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines in October and November 2022.
“JPRMC offers our allies and partners unique opportunities to train with the joint force and the network offers the U.S. greater strategic advantage,” Flynn said.
JPMRC fosters readiness among military units in the Indo-Pacific and creates realistic battle scenarios to train in environments they could face in combat. JPMRC consists of training in the jungle terrain of Hawaii and in Alaska’s harsh frigid climate.
“It’s been said that the Indo-Pacific is predominantly an air and maritime theater. It is not,” Flynn added. “It is a joint theater with joint challenges and those challenges will be solved and require joint, multi-national solutions.”
More than 40 Army-to-Army and joint exercises comprise Pacific Pathways, one of the Army’s largest ongoing efforts, which is guided by the National Defense Strategy. During one such exercise, Tiger Balm, members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, completed Tiger Balm with members of the Singapore Army this week. In the last segment of the exercise, Soldiers took part in a motorized, live fire training event with the Singaporean Soldiers.
To maintain the strategic edge in a region as vast and diverse as the Indo-Pacific, the Army established several initiatives including the re-activation of the historic 11th Airborne Division at Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in June 2022.
The reactivation further emphasizes the service’s commitment to its Arctic Strategy, which details how the Army will equip, organize and train forces to partner with ally nations in maintaining stability in the Arctic.
While the threat of war with near-peer adversaries in the region still looms, Flynn said that that the Army’s presence in the region signifies preservation rather than an offensive stance.
“Our land forces exist not to conquer, rather, we exist to defend,” Flynn said. “This is why land power matters now. We defend our nation. We preserve our territorial integrity. We protect our wealth, we protect our prosperity, we protect our people on the ground where they live. We, the armies, defend our nations and we do that from the land.”