Monday, December 28, 2009

Service Members Brighten Spirits of Philippine Children

Twenty members of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) spent a holiday evening visiting children at the Social Development Center in Zamboanga City Dec. 23.

As explained in a Manila Bulletin story, JSOTF-P volunteers started the evening playing games and singing Christmas carols with the nearly 60 children at the center. Later, the children received Christmas stockings and ate popcorn while watching movies. When the movies ended, the kids were led upstairs so they could see for the first time new bedding that had been donated by members of the task force.

In addition to this visit, over the past few months approximately 100 JSOTF-P volunteers have helped with painting the boys' and girls' rooms. At the time, volunteers noted that the children also needed new bedding, mattresses and draperies. From that point, a collection was taken and dozens of JSOTF-P service members contributed to a fund which paid for new bedding and drapes, courtesy of the Western Mindanao Command tailor.

Founded in 1994, the center serves as a residential facility for children who are abandoned, neglected, orphaned or abused. The children there receive personal care and rehabilitative services with the hopes that they will eventually be reintegrated back to their families and communities.

To learn more about JSOTF-P, visit the command’s website.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

International Audience Discusses Disaster Management in Indonesia

Participants from more than 10 nations and both the civil and military sectors took part in an Indonesian Armed Forces and PACOM co-hosted regional disaster management emergency response workshop in Indonesia over earlier this month.

Called Southeast Asia Disaster Management Cooperation (SEADMC) 2009, the two-part workshop began in the capital Jakarta Dec. 2-3, and focused on examining international and regional disaster response mechanisms and capabilities. This included input from the broad range of participants, including government and military officials, as well as organizations such as the United Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), World Food Program, the International Red Cross and International Red Crescent, and other non-governmental organizations. The group also examined the supporting role of militaries in disasters, with an ultimate goal of identifying ways to improve efforts among the various organizations.

During the second part of the workshop in Banten Province, Dec. 7-11, the group conducted a scenario-driven (see the presentation outlining the scenario) table top exercise and developed an emergency response plan, as well as a provincial disaster management/emergency response standard operation procedure (SOP).

U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Cameroon Hume; Indonesia’s Chief of Defence Gen. Djoko Santoso; U.S. Navy Adm. Patrick Walsh, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet; and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Stephen Tom, PACOM’s chief of staff, were among the many senior leaders who contributed to the workshop.

The ultimate goal of SEADMC is to develop critical relationships and improve information sharing, cooperation, and effective coordination between the major responders to large scale natural disasters in Indonesia. SEADMAC was first held in 2007.


Friday, December 18, 2009

PACOM Takes Preventive Measures in Combating H1N1

Have you received your "flu shot", yet? How about your 2009-H1N1 "Swine Flu" vaccine?

2009 is a unique influenza year, in that two different influenza vaccinations are being administered: the seasonal influenza vaccine and the 2009-H1N1 vaccine. Neither vaccine is cross-protective for the other circulating influenza virus types, which means that only seasonal influenza vaccine protects against the seasonal influenza viruses, and only the H1N1 vaccine protects against the 2009-H1N1 virus.

What is 2009-H1N1?

According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), 2009-H1N1 (sometimes called "swine flu") is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person-to-person worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread. On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) signaled that a pandemic of 2009-H1N1 flu was underway.

What is PACOM doing to prevent the spread of H1N1?

PACOM understands the importance of preventing the spread of H1N1, and as a critical force health protection measure, the 2009-H1N1 influenza vaccine is mandatory for all active duty personnel, unless medically waived.

In the video below, Rear Adm. Mike Anderson, US Pacific Command Surgeon, discusses how PACOM is taking precautionary steps in combating the spread of H1N1. He also added that the good news is that the virus has not caused a significant operational impact to date .

Great reminders from PACOM's Surgeon:

After receiving the vaccine, Rear Adm. Anderson reminds all of us that it is still important to continue to protect ourselves and our families from H1N1 by practicing good hand washing, good sneeze etiquette, and staying home if ill (with your supervisor's permission!) , especially if you have a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (or greater).

For more information, we invite you to visit Tripler Army Medical Center's Fight the Flu website, or leave us a comment.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

U.S. Air Force Supports Australian Air Defense Exercise

Over a period of three weeks in late November and early December, U.S. Air Force KC-135 and B-52 aircraft originating from Guam flew more than 25 missions in support of Australia’s East Coast Air Defense Exercise (ECADEX).

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) described ECADEX as a vital air defense training event for the RAAF in an Australia Department of Defence news release.

As explained in an Andersen Air Force Base release, there was also training value for the U.S. air crews The B-52s served as “opposition forces” during the exercise, and the KC-135s had an opportunity to refuel RAAF F-18s in addition to the B-52s.

PACOM and the Australian Defence Force work closely together and have shared interests that not only enhance U.S. and Australia defense cooperation, interoperability, and security, but that also provides opportunities for increased multilateral partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

C-130 Aircraft to Transport Tons of Presents

The holiday season is here. In Guam, volunteers from Andersen Air Force base and the local community have been busy preparing for the Operation Christmas Drop ceremony on December 15, 2009. They will be loading more than 50 boxes onto a C-130 aircraft, to send to more than 30,000 islanders residing on the smaller islands of Chuuk, Palau, Yap, Marshall Islands, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Partnership is very important: through military and local community support, the OCD organization was able to collect tens of thousands of donated items and raise over $10,000 through donations and fundraising efforts. It's always amazing to see the big impact that people can make especially when they all work together towards a common goal--even the smallest efforts can go a long, long way!

According to Capt. Charles Schulz, 734th Air Mobility Command maintenance officer, "Each individual should take pride in knowing they helped as many people as they did."

This season, stop and take a look at what's been keeping you busy. How do you plan to help your local community to spread the holiday cheer? We'd love to hear your thoughts!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

APCSS Builds Regional Partnerships, Networks through Alumni

An outreach team from the Hawaii-based Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) is in the midst of a regional trip, taking them to Japan, Brunei, and Malaysia to discuss issues of mutual concern, such as disaster management, and to strengthen ties with alumni.

The APCSS alumni, with chapters in various nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region, serve as the hub of a network of military and civilian professionals within various sectors associated with security.

These informal groups of alumni often provide a venue for professional development, as was the case, for instance, in Brunei during this current trip. There, Professor Herman “Butch” Finley, in collaboration with Brunei’s National Disaster Management Centre, had an opportunity to share his perspective on disaster management with local leaders, highlighting issues such as the importance of local communities’ involvement in disaster management.

As explained in a Brunei Times article, the event was also intended to strengthen ties between APCSS alumni by providing a venue to discuss their work professionally, as well as generate new partnerships and discussions in the area of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief – an APCSS objective for the trip.

While in Japan the team, made up of one professor and two alumni division representatives, met with alumni and also visited the Ministry of Defense to help promote participation in APCSS programs. Additonally, Professor Finley had an opportunity to discuss disaster management issues with Japan Self-Defence Forces officers.

The three-person APCSS team is currently wrapping up its outreach in Malaysia.

APCSS is a U.S. Department of Defense academic institute that addresses regional and global security issues, inviting military and civilian representatives of the U.S. and Asia-Pacific nations to its comprehensive program of executive education and conferences, both in Hawaii and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

The Center supports PACOM's objective of developing professional and personal ties among national security establishments throughout the region.


Friday, December 4, 2009

PACOM Commander: Strengthening U.S.-Japan Alliance is a Focus

The following was written by Capt. Lydia Robertson, PACOM’s chief of public affairs, who is travelling with Adm. Willard as he meets with senior military officials to discuss views on regional security and ways to further cooperation and partnership.

The Japan and United States alliance is a cornerstone to security in East Asia, and strengthening relationships in support of that alliance is a focus of Adm. Robert Willard, PACOM’s commander.

Earlier this week, on the first stop of one of his first regional trips as PACOM commander, Adm. Willard met with several counterparts in the Japan Self Defense Forces as well as government officials, reinforcing the commitment of the United States – and Pacific Command – to a continuing U.S. presence in the region.

“We consider ourselves to be an Asian nation in our own right with vast interests here and some very close alliances and strategic partnerships out here, and we look forward to strengthening those relationships over time,” Willard said, emphasizing he would seize opportunities to strengthen the alliance.

As the 50th anniversary of the alliance nears, Willard noted the importance of understanding how far the relationship has developed but also his role in strengthening the alliance.

“There are many ways to think about that when you consider this region of the world and the trends that are ongoing in the Asia-Pacific region: more multilateral engagement among countries and among militaries than bilateral, the teaming associated with areas of common interest, such as proliferation, terrorism, piracy, other illicit areas like counter-narcotics and so forth, search and rescue, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance on the other side,” Willard said. “These are things that can be done in partnership with other nations, not necessarily alone or just in bilateral arrangements.”

The capabilities of the Japanese and U.S. militaries are significant and overall coordination between the two continues to evolve through continued exercises together.

“Every exercise is intended to be more joint. Every exercise that we conduct in coordination with one another is intended to test interoperability and overall coordination,” Willard said. “We have to constantly practice, constantly review concepts of operations, constantly exercise to get better in order to advance those capabilities. So I think that the synergy that can be gained through joint operations, the operations between Japan’s Self Defense Forces and United States forces, will only improve over time.”

In response to questions about the U.S. relationship with China, the admiral said managing the relationship will include enhanced military to military dialogue and other engagements. “We bear a responsibility to effectively engage with the Chinese and to understand one another better,” Willard said.

In a media roundtable with Japanese reporters at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Adm. Willard discussed many issues, including working group efforts to advance the realignment initiative, the importance of the deterrent role of forward-deployed U.S. forces, and other topics.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

U.S. Army, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to Train during Yama Sakura

The Japan-based U.S. Army I Corps Forward, U.S. Army Pacific and the Japan Ground Self Defense Force will train together Dec. 8-14 during exercise Yama Sakura, a joint command post exercise in Hokkaido, Japan.

Yama Sakura, which means "mountain cherry blossom," is an annual, full-spectrum, combined command post exercise with U.S. and Japanese personnel working to strengthen Japan's self defense operations.

This year, U.S. Army Pacific's Contingency Command Post and I Corps Forward, which will be conducting its first training deployment, form the central command and control element for U.S. forces.

The annual exercise rotates among each of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces’s five regional armies. This year, the Northern Army will participate. Also a joint exercise for the United States, Yama Sakura combines U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps elements, including Reservists and National Guard forces.

Approximately 1,500 U.S. military personnel and 3,500 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force personnel will take part.

U.S. Army Soldiers and members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force work together in July to plan for exercise Yama Sakura, which begins next week.


Monday, November 30, 2009

U.S., Singapore to Begin Commando Sling Air Exercise Series this Week

The first of three phases of the annual Commando Sling air combat training exercise between the U.S. and Republic of Singapore air forces gets underway Dec. 2 in Singapore and wraps up Dec. 18.

As noted in a 13th Air Force release, the exercise series runs from December 2009 through July 2010. U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base, Japan, will participate in the December iteration. F-16s from the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, and F-15 Eagles from the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan, will participate in the following two iterations, respectively.

The annual Commando Sling series began in 1990 and allows U.S. units to sharpen their air combat skills, improve procedures and readiness, and enhance relationships with the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

Commando Sling is one of a number of military training exercises, both bilateral and multilateral, where U.S. and Singaporean forces train together. These include exercises such as Cobra Gold, Cope Tiger, Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) and Tiger Balm.

Military exercises are an important component of U.S. Pacific Command’s commitment to working with allies and friends to enhance stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Each exercise, while differing in scope and intent, contributes to the enhanced readiness of the participating forces, as well as their mutual cooperation and understanding.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Navy Shares Training, Leadership Principles in Cambodia

A team of U.S. Navy Sailors recently spent four weeks in Cambodia working with the Royal Cambodian Navy (RCN) to share training techniques and leadership principles as the RCN prepares to induct 400 new recruits over the next year.

The U.S. Sailors, assigned to the Navy’s Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command, led the courses of instruction from mid-October to mid-November at Ream Naval Base for 20 Cambodian officers to expand their leadership skills and help them to become more effective instructors.

The “Train the Trainer” course and leadership principles course were requested by the RCN, which will be receiving its first new recruits in nearly 15 years.

As noted in a September 2009 news release from the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh following Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Tea Banh’s visit to Washington, D.C., since 2004 the U.S. has sought to strengthen and expand its bilateral defense relationship with Cambodia.

Cooperation focuses on a number of areas, including maritime security, international peacekeeping, transnational threats, and humanitarian assistance.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Good Leadership Embraces Good Prevention

Although seemingly far removed from our home in the Pacific, the events of Nov.5, 2009, at Ft. Hood have undoubtedly touched each of us. Twelve were killed and 31 injured by a service-member opening fire on fellow Soldiers. It will probably never be known if this tragedy could have been prevented had others intervened during his career or if others had recognized warning signs of him being in trouble.

This tragedy does, however, serve as a reminder of the importance of taking care of ourselves and each other and stepping forward when we see a Wingman/Battle Buddy/Shipmate/Marine in need. We must remain aware of changes in behavior and demeanor, of signs that something is not right, whether it be with a co-worker, friend or family member. We should not hesitate to speak up or to act. We must set discomfort aside and understand our responsibility to look out for each other and ourselves. Service members pride themselves on their ability to be strong in the face of extreme stress, yet we must be strong enough to embrace the idea that getting help is not a sign of weakness.

The Department of Defense has launched efforts aimed at reducing the stigma associated with receiving behavioral health services and provides an array of resources that may serve as that first step in accessing care. Help is easily accessible and confidential. Speed of treatment and getting the right treatment are key to minimizing long-term behavioral health consequences. Signs of problems may include anxiety, depression, hyper-vigilance, insomnia, nightmares, emotional numbness, cognitive difficulties and intrusive thoughts. Additionally, feelings of guilt or sorrow, abuse of alcohol or drugs, loneliness, divorce and domestic violence can occur.

To care for others, we must also take care of ourselves and seek out help if stressors become too much or begin to overwhelm us. It may be difficult to take that first step to help others or to obtain help for ourselves. We must understand that it is not only acceptable to seek help but seeking help should be encouraged. We may need to point our colleagues towards available resources, and we need to follow-up with them, to make sure that they have sought help and that those who can help have in fact responded. We need to do the same with our families, our neighbors and our friends.

Good leadership embraces good prevention. From seaman to admiral or private to general, we are all trained to lead. Preventive behavioral and mental health must be endorsed as a leadership and peer-to-peer responsibility. A profound part of looking after people under our charge, or people important in our lives, is to reinforce the benefits of behavioral/mental health assistance and to encourage getting help when needed.

GUEST BLOGGER: Rear Adm. Michael H Anderson,
U.S. Pacific Command Surgeon


Friday, November 20, 2009

Center for Excellence Supports Disaster Response Exercise in Fiji

Staff from the Hawaii-based Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (COE) joined local government and military officials, representatives from United Nations organizations, non-governmental organizations and a number of diplomatic missions Nov. 17-20 during a U.S. Embassy-hosted disaster management exercise in Fiji.

“The exercise and training is based on real-life situations encountered during and after natural disasters in Fiji”, said Ambassador Steven McGann, U.S. Ambassador to Fiji. “The idea for this kind of intensive training was borne out of our assessment of Fiji’s disaster preparedness mechanisms in the aftermath of the devastating floods of January this year.”

The four-day tabletop exercise was based on real-world scenarios and designed to enhance coordination and disaster response capabilities, which Ambassador McGann noted in a Fiji Times article as being a U.S. priority.

Lt. Gen. (Ret) John F. Goodman, COE’s director, gave the keynote address to kick off the exercise (see Fiji TV coverage below), which was led by his staff and also included U.S. representatives from the Coast Guard and Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The diplomatic missions of China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea and France also took part.

COE is a direct reporting unit to Pacific Command and principal agency to promote disaster preparedness and societal resiliency in the Asia-Pacific region. COE was established by the US Congress in 1994. As part of its mandate, COE facilitates education and training in disaster preparedness, consequence management and health security to develop domestic, foreign and international capability and capacity.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Sri Lanka Schools Open Following USAID-PACOM Partnership

A pair of schools rebuilt in Sri Lanka by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – with funding from U.S. Pacific Command – opened last week.

As reported by the Sri Lanka Sunday Times, U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia A. Butenis presided over the opening ceremony for the two schools in the Trincomalee District, where a total of five schools were rehabilitated. In addition to those five schools, two schools and one hospital were also rehabilitated in the Batticaloa District.

The project was made possible, in part, with Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic Aid (OHDACA) funds, which are being administered by PACOM.

While coordination of humanitarian assistance efforts with USAID offices in foreign countries is not new, the use of PACOM’s OHDACA funds to support a USAID-managed projects is, as noted in a January blog post.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

PACOM Commander Speaks at Asia-Pacific Homeland Security Summit

Adm. Robert F. Willard discussed U.S. Pacific Command’s focus on addressing and mitigating transnational threats, and that effort’s correlation to the Asia-Pacific Homeland Security Summit’s “Securing Population Centers” theme, Nov. 10.

Sponsored by the State of Hawaii, and as noted on the event’s website, the summit and exposition brought together in Honolulu attendees from 11 nations to discuss present and future capabilities necessary to protect population centers.

Adm. Willard was one of three panelists during the summit’s closing session, and said PACOM expends considerable resources and time endeavoring to defend against transnational threats, and “…prevent them from reaching our shores, or the shores of our allies and partners.” He defined these threats as violent extremism and terror, international criminal activity such as piracy, narcotics and human trafficking, weapons proliferation including weapons of mass destructions, and natural and manmade disasters that create humanitarian crises.

“I think to put the security of our population centers in complete context, we have to understand this as much as the immediate response to crises in our homeland or close to home,” Adm. Willard said. “Even with natural disasters, while it would seem there’s not much we can do to directly defend against them, through prior preparation and disaster response training and exercises, we attempt to mitigate the impact of natural disasters so they don’t become destabilizing.”

He said that what the 300,000-plus men and women in the PACOM area of responsibility do daily is designed to ensure regional security and stability. “Part of that is at the high end, through deterrence efforts aimed at keeping the peace among major powers,” Adm. Willard said. “But by doing things that reduce societal tension and relieve population stress, we mitigate situations that could lead to conflicts and crisis.

“We believe there’s a great payoff for the military support of civil authorities, for capacity building with our regional partners, and for liberally sharing what we know with our friends,” he said.

Adm. Willard went on to mention trends that are likely to affect the future security environment, such as demographic shifts, the growing magnitude and complexity of economic interdependencies, and challenges associated with environmental, energy, and resource security, “…especially in a region of the world that’s home to many of the most important sea lanes and choke points and where demands for energy and natural resources are growing.”


To realize solutions to the challenges faced in the Asia-Pacific, Adm. Willard said relationships are the key. “They must be trust-based, personal relationships that enable information exchange and capacity building, ones that close the seams that so often obscure solutions and impede progress.

“When we consider the bonds that ought to be fostered in order to ensure stability and security prevail, it’s important to entertain relationships between departments within an agency, across agencies within a government, across governments within a region, or even across sectors within society,” he said.

Adm. Willard noted that that while there is much more to do, progress is being made, citing examples such as the Pacific Partnership humanitarian and civic assistance mission that wrapped up in September, and the recently completed Chiefs of Defense Conference, where, “Over the course of several days we openly discussed many of the common security concerns that you have discussed here,” he said, “And most importantly, strengthened the personal and professional relationships that regional security and stability absolutely depend on.

“The task at hand is to continually advance our knowledge, capabilities, and capacities to defend this region against transnational threats, and in doing so, to secure its population centers,” Adm. Willard said in conclusion. “We need to ask ourselves the tough questions about the nature of these threats and the knowledge that we have of them. And where needed, improve our knowledge and act decisively on what we know.

“Because this is a team sport, we must do our utmost to build enduring personal relationships with our regional partners, and then have in place the policies and agreed-to protocols that enable real action.”


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

MINEX Brings Four Nations Together to Address WWII Mines

The U.S. Navy has joined French, Australian and New Zealand military personnel in a French-led humanitarian effort to remove World War II era sea mines from New Caledonian waters in the South Pacific.

Lagoon Mine Exercise (MINEX), which runs through the third week of November, includes the support of approximately 300 military personnel from the four participating nations, and several Australian, New Zealand, and French Navy mine hunting, survey, and amphibious ships.

The U.S. Navy has provided a team of divers from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 1 with four bottlenose dolphins trained to hunt mines.

Their combined efforts will focus on de-mining in the New Caledonia Lagoon.

During World War II, New Caledonia became an important outpost. Over the course of the war, more than 40,000 U.S. troops were stationed on the island. Based on the possibility of enemy attack, the U.S. requested assistance from Australia to do defensive mining around the island.

In 1944, the U.S. conducted mechanical sweeping clearance operations. Swept mines either surfaced and were destroyed or sunk. All remaining mines are now assessed to be neutralized or are on the bottom.

MINEX will focus on recovering or making the remaining mines safe.


Friday, November 6, 2009

JSOTF-P Provides Assistance through Veterinary Care in Southern Philippines

A team from Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) partnered with the only two veterinarians in Lanao Del Sur province on the island of Mindanao to provide instruction and treatment for livestock and pets earlier this week.

As explained in a JSOTF-P news story, local residents, leaders from the district and instructors from the local college attended a workshop that taught individuals how to treat sick animals and strategies for preventing diseases.

Information from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences was distributed explaining what to do in cases of suspected avian influenza in poultry.

The following day, in addition to some pets, local residents brought cows, horses, goats and roosters for deworming medication, vitamins and rabies vaccinations.

The livelihood of the community is affected by the health of its animals, which contribute staples such as milk and meat.

At the request of the Government of the Philippines, JSOTF-P provides support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in several areas, including enhancing the AFP’s ability to provide humanitarian assistance to terrorist-inflicted communities, through tactical training programs, and the sharing of information.

To learn more and to keep up with the work taking place in the southern Philippines, visit the JSOTF-P website.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cope Taufan to Bring U.S., Malaysian Air Forces Together for Training

The U.S. Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force are set to train together Nov. 9-20 in Malaysia during exercise Cope Taufan.

Nearly 100 U.S. Airmen will take part, along with eight U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle aircraft.Cope Taufan is a live-fly exercise that involves dissimilar basic fighter maneuver training and dissimilar air combat tactics training with the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s fourth generation fighters - the F/A-18D Hornet and MiG-29 Fulcrum.

The exercise gives U.S. and Malaysian airmen an opportunity to exchange techniques and procedures, enhancing their ability to work together when needed.

The U.S. and Malaysian Armed Forces have a long history of cooperation, taking part in common humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts, training exercises, and professional exchanges.

Other noteworthy U.S.-Malaysia bilateral training events in 2009 include Keris Strike, a bilateral Army exercise, and Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), a bilateral Navy exercise that includes participation across the Malaysian Armed Forces.

JERAM SISIK, Malaysia (June 24, 2009) - Malaysian Army Maj. Norul Hisyam shows the distinctions between edible and poisonous plants to U.S. Marines as part of a jungle survival course during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT). Exercise Cope Taufan, Nov. 9-20, will be the latest in a series of regular training events between the U.S. and Malaysian Armed Forces.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Relationships a Common Theme during Chiefs of Defense Conference

Chiefs of Defense and/or their representatives from 23 nations discussed a broad range of common security challenges during the12th annual Chiefs of Defense Conference (CHOD) in Hawaii Oct. 26–29, but also took advantage of the time together to build on important relationships.

“First and foremost (the conference) is a mechanism for the chiefs of defense to establish relationships between themselves,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) during an Oct. 29 media event. “For these gentlemen to have personal relationships that allow them to pick up the telephone when a disaster occurs, and speak to a counterpart, and count on their mutual friendship to generate mutual action, was time and again discussed around the table.”

Common Security Challenges

Over the course of the conference discussions touched on broad topics such as Asia-Pacific Security trends, as well as specific issues such as the military implications of climate change and energy, and military and civilian disaster coordination.

The disaster relief discussions were large and in depth, Willard said, including a comprehensive overview of the response in the wake of last month’s tsunami in the South Pacific.


“Being able to meet the people that we work with and discuss the arrangements we have, both formal and informal, which allowed to us achieve the good results that we have achieved with the series of recent disasters, has been extremely beneficial for us,” said New Zealand’s Vice Chief of Defence Force, Rear Adm. Jack Steer.

Rear Adm. Jean-Louis Vichot, joint commander of French Armed Forces in French Polynesia echoed these sentiments when discussing French support of relief efforts in Tonga, while New Zealand focused on Samoa. “It has been an example of our relations put in light by such disasters.”

Nations attending this year's conference included: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Tonga, Vietnam, and the United States.

“Interpersonal relationships that are achieved in a week like this together with an exchange of information are very fulfilling,” Adm. Willard added.


Monday, October 26, 2009

PACOM Signs Energy Strategy in Cooperation with State of Hawaii

U.S. Pacific Command, in cooperation with the state of Hawaii, released its strategy Oct. 23 for reducing dependence on fossil fuels and assisting in the development of alternative, renewable sources of energy.

Signed by Maj. Gen. Stephen Tom, PACOM’s chief of staff, the strategy defines PACOM’s commitment to help the state in efforts to rely on 70 percent clean energy by the year 2030.

The PACOM Energy Strategy Cooperation with the State of Hawaii is a first of its kind, linking a Department of Defense (DoD), Combatant Command with the Department of Energy and a state government energy plan.

The goal of PACOM "going green" is to reduce the taxpayers burden while reducing DoD reliance on fossil fuels, develop renewable energy sources, reduce greenhouse emissions, emphasize sustainability and exercise global environmental leadership.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Senior Leaders to Meet at Chiefs of Defense Conference

Senior military officers of 22 nations will gather in Hawaii next week for the 12th annual Chiefs of Defense Conference (CHOD), which is scheduled to run Oct. 26-29.

This year's conference is hosted by Adm. Robert Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command.

The purpose of the conference is to bring together senior military leaders from nations in the Asia-Pacific region to meet and discuss mutual security challenges, improve mutual relationships and foster security cooperation. The conference theme is Common Defense Challenges in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Nations attending this year's conference include: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Tonga, Vietnam, and the United States.

Last year's conference was co-hosted by the U.S. and Indonesia, and held in Bali.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Timor-Leste Military Training Exercise Winding Down

U.S. Sailors and Marines have spent the past week off the coast and on shore in the Southeast Asia nation of Timor-Leste conducting training and other activities with the Timor-Leste Defense Force and Australian armed forces.

Marine Exercise, or MAREX, began Oct. 14 with the arrival of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) on board USS Bonhomme Richard. Since then, a variety of training activities have taken place, focused on areas such as basic infantry skills.

The exercise has also included a heavy emphasis on medical and engineering projects.

U.S. Navy medical professionals from 11th MEU have been assisting local healthcare workers in providing limited medical and dental care in the Maubara, Occussi and Laga areas. Marines also partnered with local government and education officials to repair a school in Maubara.

In the midst of the training, which included a noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) drill with American citizens in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy, Sailors from Bonhomme Richard conducted several community service projects in Dili, donated medical and hygiene supplies, and participated in sporting events with their Timorese hosts.

On Oct. 17, President Jose Ramos-Jorta visited Bonhomme Richard and thanked Sailors and Marines for their efforts during the exercise.

MAREX follows closely on the heels of the first formal military-to-military talks between the U.S. and Timor-Leste, during which both sides agreed to expand military-to-military activities.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Willard Assumes Command of PACOM

Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard assumed command of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Oct. 19, relieving Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating during a traditional ceremony at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.

Hundreds of guests attended, included Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen.

See coverage by the American Forces Press Service, Stars and Stripes, Associated Press, and KITV.

Willard arrives from U.S. Pacific Fleet, where he served as the commander responsible for U.S. Navy operations throughout Asia-Pacific. He is now responsible for overseeing all U.S. military operations in the region, which encompasses about half the earth’s surface, stretching from the waters off the west coast of the U.S. to the western border of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole.

Keating, who took command of PACOM in March, 2007, is retiring from the Navy following more than 42 years of service, during which he served in a variety of Navy and joint leadership positions, including U.S. Northern Command.

There are few regions as culturally, socially, economically, and geo-politically diverse as the Asia-Pacific. The 36 nations that comprise the Asia-Pacific region are home to more than 50% of the world’s population, three thousand different languages, several of the world’s largest militaries, and five nations allied with the U.S. through mutual defense treaties. Two of the world’s three largest economies are located in the Asia-Pacific along with ten of the fourteen smallest.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

U.S, Indian Armies Take Training to Higher Level

Approximately 250 U.S. Soldiers and 17 Stryker vehicles are in India for the next two weeks and began a military training exercise Oct. 12 that is the first of its kind.

The exercise, called Yudh Abhyas, is an annual training event between the two armies, but this year is the first to include U.S. and Indian mechanized equipment and forces. In the past, the exercise has been limited to scenario-driven, commander-level exercises, explained U.S. Army Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commander of U.S. Army, Pacific in a recent American Forces Press Service article on the topic.

This year, the exercise includes a multi-echelon, full spectrum operation based on peacekeeping, according to a U.S. Army, Pacific news release. The exercise is designed to promote cooperation between the two armies through training, cultural and professional exchanges. Participants will be engaged in a variety of missions, from joint planning and execution, a variety of artillery ranges both in and out of vehicles, to cordon and search operations as well as search and rescue training. The exercise will end with a live fire demonstration involving the Stryker vehicle.

Exercises between the Indian and U.S. militaries continue to increase in scope and sophistication and are indicative of a positive and steadily improving relationship based on common interests in areas such as peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, and maritime security.

The 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, is representing the U.S. Army during the exercise.

Follow the exercise on U.S. Army, Pacific’s exercise website, and on Flicrk.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Arrival of Helicopters Speeds Indonesia Relief as Philippines Focus Shifts

USS Denver and USS McCampbell arrived off the coast of Padang, Indonesia in the early morning hours of Oct. 9 and their embarked helicopters were immediately put to use delivering needed supplies and assisting the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with assessments of remote areas. Meanwhile in the Philippines, just as U.S. military flood relief efforts in the capital of Manila were coming to an end Oct. 8, flooding farther north caused by a second storm resulted in a new request for military assistance.


As shown in a series of Associated Press photos, the first order of business for Marine Corps CH-53 helicopters was the delivery of more than 9,000 pounds of relief supplies to the remote mountain village of Koto Tingii Oct. 9. The delivery was coordinated by USAID. Navy SH-60 helicopters also flew, providing airlift for USAID officials, allowing them to survey outlying areas that have been difficult or impossible to reach since the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck west Sumatra Sept. 30.

Close coordination is taking place between U.S. military officials, the Indonesian Armed Forces, USAID and local leaders to schedule military airlift and other apply other military capabilities.

The Air Force Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team (HARRT) field medical clinic is fully operational and 599 patients have received acute care or minor surgical procedures over the past three days.


USS Harpers Ferry and USS Tortuga, along with members of III Marine Expeditionary Force, are now in the Lingayen Gulf, hours north of Manila. Mudslides and floods caused by Typhoon Parma earlier this week have left more than 100 dead in northern Luzon. They are working with their counterparts from the Armed Forces of the Philippines to build a plan for maximizing available Navy and Marine assets to provide assistance as needed.

Marines and Sailors spent the previous week in metro Manila providing relief in the wake of flooding from Tropical Storm Ketsana Sept. 26. They delivered more than 28,000 food packages coordinated by local businesses, provided basic medical services to more than 4,000, and cleared thousands of meters of roads and debris.

For a daily update that highlights ongoing relief efforts, see the fact sheet on the Disaster Relief page of the U.S. Pacific Command website.

For regular updates throughout the day, join U.S. Pacific Command on Twitter and Facebook.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Military Aid Effort Builds in Philippines, Set to Increase in Indonesia

Assistance to citizens in the Philippine capital of Manila and the surrounding area suffering from recent flooding damage has increased since the Oct. 3 arrival of the Navy’s USS Tortuga and USS Harpers Ferry and their embarked Marines. Meanwhile, an Air Force team arrived in Padang, Indonesia Oct. 5 and is setting up to provide medical care as three U.S. Navy ships make their way there to assist victims of the recent earthquake.

A Pacific Stars and Stripes story summarizes the on going effort to provide assistance in the aftermath of both disasters.


Marines and Sailors from the III Marine Expeditionary Force and the ships Tortuga and Harpers Ferry continue their work to provide relief to victims of flooding brought on by Tropical Storm Ketsana on Sept. 26.

Since Oct. 1, more than 12,000 food packs, consisting of donations from local businesses and private organizations consolidated into bags for individual families by volunteers, have been delivered to various distribution points by the Marines and Sailors. They have also delivered hundreds of cases of water, as well as hundreds of bags of clothing.

While Marines have been using their heavy equipment and vehicles to clear debris on major roadways, Sailors have been conducting medical and dental clinics at various locations, providing medical care to more than 3,500 patients, and dental care to more than 200.

With the arrival of the ships and its additional resources, such as helicopters, the level of assistance in the Philippines is increasing. On Oct. 6, two Marine CH-46 helicopters transported 16,000 pounds of supplies to Talim Island, which lies in the middle of a large lake southeast of Manila, cut off from easy access.


Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, commander of the Navy’s amphibious forces in the region, has been in Indonesia for the past week leading a Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team, and as he explained in an Associated press news story, the arrival of USS Denver, USS McCampbell, and USNS Richard E. Byrd in the next several days will bring a significant increase in capabilities to contribute to the relief effort ongoing since the 7.6 magnitude earthquake Sept. 30.

The ships, which are expected to arrive in the vicinity of Padang within the next several days, will bring seven helicopters with them in total, along with heavy equipment

An Air Force Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team (HARRT) arrived in Padang on Oct. 5 and is coordinating with local officials and completing its set up that will ultimately provide the capacity for providing a variety of medical care to approximately 300 patients per day.

An Air Force C-130 aircraft that was already in Indonesia for a military exercise has been ferrying supplies such as rice, tents, generators and other emergency equipment to Padang from various locations in the country.

Relief operations in both Indonesia and the Philippines are in support of the U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.


Friday, October 2, 2009

PACOM to Provide Military Assistance to Indonesia Relief Operations

U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) will provide military support to Indonesia’s ongoing relief effort on the island of Sumatra.

A 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck on Sept. 30, with the city of Padang and surrounding area, near the quake’s epicenter, experiencing widespread damage.

The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta has responded to the Indonesian President’s statement allowing friendly nations to provide earthquake assistance. Because of the forward deployed presence of the U.S. military and past military-to-military interactions with the Indonesian military, the U.S. is poised to help as much as possible.

PACOM has military capabilities positioned in the region that are ready to support emergency relief efforts and minimize human suffering. U.S. military assets include a Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team (HAST) composed of personnel from various units within PACOM, an Air Force Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team (HARRT), and the USS Denver with Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked.

As is typical in international relief operations, U.S. military efforts are in support of the U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

PACOM will continue to work closely with the Indonesian Government, the U.S. Embassy, and international relief organizations of Indonesia on humanitarian assistance operations at the request and invitation of the Indonesian Government.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

PACOM Support of Philippines, American Samoa Relief Efforts Ongoing

Military forces from U.S. Pacific Command are supporting disaster relief efforts in both the Philippines and American Samoa.

Over the past two days, Pacific Air Forces C-17 aircraft have flown four missions, providing transport for approximately 100 Hawaii National Guard, FEMA personnel, and a variety of cargo, including vehicles, communications equipment, cots, blankets, and food in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Navy frigate USS Ingraham is also supporting FEMA’s efforts in American Samoa, having arrived yesterday, with its embarked helicopters already having allowed Governor Tulafono and FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Kenneth J. Tingman to survey damage while also conducting a search and rescue mission.

Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD), based in Hawaii, is leading U.S. military support to FEMA in American Samoa.

In the Philippines, a group of approximately 75 Marines and Sailors from the III Marine Expeditionary Force, which is leading the military support effort there, began delivering relief supplies and providing basic medical care in metro Manila on Oct. 1 in partnership with Philippine authorities. They delivered nearly 2,500 family food packs and provided basic medical and dental services to more than 750 patients.

The USS Denver Amphibious Task Group is also on the way to the Philippines for a scheduled exercise with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and will be called upon to support the ongoing effort, and provide additional assistance if needed. The group includes the amphibious ships USS Denver, USS Harpers Ferry, and USS Tortuga.

In the Philippines, as is typical in international relief operations, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) efforts are in support of the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

U.S. Pacific command maintains significant capability forward deployed throughout the Asia-Pacific region ready to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and has a history of working with government agencies, international relief organizations, and host nations to reach those affected by natural disasters.

Follow U.S. Pacific Command’s support of ongoing relief efforts on the PACOM Website and share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Service Members Provide Assistance During Manila Flooding

U.S. service members assisted Philippines officials in the capital Manila with rescue efforts in the wake of torrential downpours Sept. 26 that dumped more than a month of normal rainfaill on parts of the country in a single day. Massive flooding resulted from the rain brought by Tropical Storm Ketsana.

Over a two-day period beginning Sept. 27, service members, assigned to the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines (JSOTF-P), conducted multiple rescue operations of trapped/injured people, transported and distributed food and medical supplies, provided medical treatment of injured persons, moved food and water to disaster relief centers, and evacuated trapped individuals to safety.

As reported in a Philippine Star news story, the JSOTF-P effort was directly in support of local authorities, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC). A JSOTF-P news story provides more details on the assistance.

JSOTF-P is comprised of 500-600 personnel from all four military services temporarily deployed to the Philippines at the request of the Philippine Government.

U.S. Pacific Command has a history of assisting with humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region, coordinating with host-nations, other nations and non-governmental agencies in support of U.S. Government and international efforts.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

US, Mongolia Dedicate New Training Facility

On 22 September 2009, senior officials from the United States Department of State and Defense as well as senior personnel of Mongolia, celebrated several major renovations to the Armed Forces Five Hills Training Center, just outside Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The $3.5 million renovation is just one of a series of upgrades and renovations that have taken place over the over the last two and a half years. Since March of 2007, the United States, through the Global Peace Operations Initiative, has spent more than $5.7 million dollars and completed six renovation or upgrade projects.

The renovated facility has upgraded the Mongolian, post World War II headquarters building, into a modern regional peace operations training center. The newly dedicated facility will become a valuable regional training center for United Nations peacekeeping operations and will stand out as the star attraction for units participating in the annual Khaan Quest Exercise.

Previous projects at the Five Hills facility have included; updating the dining facilities, barracks, medical facilities, and classroom. The U.S. also confirmed that a new project, the renovation of the post headquarters, is scheduled to get underway in 2010.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Preventing the spread of H1N1

Public health officials are preparing for the onset of seasonal flu and the novel H1N1 flu virus by beginning preparations in force, earlier than expected. Health officials predict an early onset of seasonal flu this year.

The H1N1 vaccine is not expected to be available until mid-October as clinical trials are continuing. The Department of Defense has procured 2.7 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine for and will be a phased distribution beginning with the highest-risk populations, within military forces, DOD civilians and critical contractors. Primary priority groups within the DOD will consist of deployed forces, ships afloat, high risk healthcare workers and mass training areas (i.e. Boot Camp/Basic Training, Service Academies). The secondary group will be critical personnel followed by all other personnel.

Those identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as being at highest risk for both types of flu and encouraged to receive vaccines include:

Healthcare workers.
Pregnant women
People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age.
Persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years
People 25 to 64 with chronic health disorders or compromised immunity.

Seasonal flu vaccine involves one injection. H1N1 vaccine will require two injections 21 to 28 days apart. Health department officials suggest taking seasonal flu vaccines as early as possible, given the potential for an early start to the flu season this year.

Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

Take everyday actions to stay healthy
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.

Develop a family plan as a precaution. This should include stocking up on everyday items like foods and medicines as well as facemasks, alcohol-based hand rubs and other essential supplies.

Department of Defense Military Treatment Facilities will provide more information as it becomes available and will announce when the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines are available.

For more information you can visit, or


Thursday, September 17, 2009

What will Asia-Pacific look like in 2030?

...that's the question on everyone's mind for the U.S. Pacific Command hosted "Pacific Horizons" Conference September 21-23.

In this first-ever event, the Pacific Horizons Conference dares to explore what the Asia-Pacific will look like in 20 years. Well known government and academic experts from across the region will be in attendance to provide a broad perspective on the potential future of Asia-Pacific and facilitate discussions on the challenges and opportunities in the region.

PACOM has been an advocate for peace and a committed partner in the Asia-Pacific region for 60 years and understands that a good partnership is founded on good communication. And good communication isn't just about talking, it's about listening. The discussions before, during, and after, this conference will help PACOM to "listen" to and understand the region. Through a shared appreciation of Asia Pacific cultures, needs and hopes for the future, PACOM will improve its strategic planning process and make more informed policy and execution decisions for the future and beyond.

What do you think the future challenges and opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region are?

We'd like to "listen" to our readers out there as well. Your input will be considered for discussion during the conference itself, so talk! We'll listen :)

GUEST BLOGGER: Aileen Valones, PACOM Office of Communication Integration


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

PACOM Commander Discusses Asia-Pacific Partnerships, Issues at CSIS

Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), provided an update on military-to-military relationships throughout Asia-Pacific during a Sept. 15 presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in Washington, D.C.

An American Forces Press Service story captures the highlights of the presentation, which included discussion of issues associated with friends and allies such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, India, and Indonesia.

The presentation touched on a number of other issues, as well, such as the resumption of military to military dialogue with China and a desire for Chinese participation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises, and search and rescue exercises.

Regarding North Korea, Adm. Keating emphasized that PACOM is in support of U.S. State Department efforts and the multilateral goal of a return to the Six Party Talks and ultimately, certifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Lauding the alliance with Japan, Adm. Keating said he expects no significant changes in the military-to-military relationship as a result of the seating of a new government.

The Admiral wrapped up his 30-minute address by emphasizing the partnership, readiness and presence. He noted that the feedback he receives when travelling throughout the region is that the U.S. is the indispensible partner who is counted on to help ensure peace and stability throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

View the complete discussion, including a follow-on question and answer session, here on the blog, or on the CSIS website.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Pacific Angel to Bring Care, Boost Cooperation in Vietnam

U.S. Air Force medical and engineering professionals will work local officials, private voluntary organizations, and military counterparts in Vietnam, to provide humanitarian assistance to residents of Quang Tri Province Sept. 15-24 as part of Operation Pacific Angel.

More than 60 personnel will represent the U.S. during this second iteration of Pacific Angel 2009. The first had concurrent operations at Kupang, West Timor, in Indonesia, and Dili City, Timor Leste, in July. Activities include subject matter expert exchanges, and medical, dental and engineering civic assistance programs.

Operation Pacific Angel is a joint and combined humanitarian and civic assistance operation conducted to support U.S. Pacific Command's capacity-building efforts. The program is aimed at improving military civic cooperation between the U.S. and countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

13th Air Force leads Pacific Angel, which is a Pacific Air Forces program.

The Vietnam phase of Operation Pacific Angel follows several medical and humanitarian cooperative efforts between the U.S. and Vietnam this year, including a joint nursing symposium in August, and a U.S. Army Pacific-led Medical Readiness and Training Exercise (MEDRETE) in July.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

USPACOM in Cooperation with State of Hawaii Pursue Renewable Energy Goals

United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) in cooperation with the state of Hawaii is developing a strategy to meet a clean energy conservation target of getting 70 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Hawaii currently gets approximately 90 percent of its energy from petroleum products. The joint interest in energy conservation stems from the Department of Defense wanting to lower the use of foreign oil for national security while meeting federal mandates for clean energy use.

USPACOM representatives attended the State’s Clean Energy Conference last week in Waikiki to discuss a broad spectrum of initiatives the military is taking to improve renewable energy, as reported in the Boston Herald, (Renewable Energy Surging).

Through further dialogue, USPACOM may exceed federal mandated goals by ultimately reducing the military’s electricity bill by millions of dollars. This would result in a ‘win-win’ situation for the entire Asia-Pacific region.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

JPAC Teams Search for World War II Remains

A 10-member Department of Defense team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), stationed at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii has been searching for World War II remains in Germany since early August.

JPAC is a small unit of 400 personnel charged with the daunting task of accounting for more than 84,000 Americans still missing as a result of the nation’s past conflicts. Most of the effort has been focused on those lost in southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. However, in the last two years, as noted in the New York Times (Teams Seeking Remains Dig Back to World War II), JPAC has paid additional attention to some 74,000 still unaccounted for in both Europe and the Pacific during World War II.

The military culture is rich with meaningful mottos like, “never leave a fallen comrade,” “leave no man behind,” and “bring everyone home.” It is JPAC’s duty to accomplish this mission, no matter how challenging the goal may seem. Every American servicemember, especially those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, finds comfort in knowing that if something happens, somebody will look for them. They will come home.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

U.S., Cambodian Military Engineers Restore Medical Clinics

A group of 40+ U.S. Marines and Sailors partnered with Royal Cambodian Armed Forces engineers for most of the month of August to repair a pair of medical clinics in Cambodia as part of the Marines’ Cambodia Interoperability Program (CIP).

The work, in the Kampong Speu Province, began on Aug. 5 and went through the end of the month. Together the combined forces constructed additional rooms and made improvements such as replacing tiles and ceilings, adding electrical power with solar panels, and a fresh coat of paint, to existing buildings.

The CIP, which began in 2007 as a combined medical exercise between U.S. and Cambodian forces, allows service members to become familiar with operating together in skill areas that apply to humanitarian assistance efforts.

Earlier in the year, the CIP focused on providing basic medical and dental care to local residents and giving military medical professionals from both countries an opportunity to work together.

The Sailors and Marines were from the Okinawa, Japan-based Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

CIP activities are closely coordinated with the U.S. Embassy.

Throughout the Pacific Command area of responsibility a variety of ongoing initiatives such as the Cambodia Interoperability Program are complementing U.S. and host nation government development efforts while steadily enhancing professional experience and military-to-military relationships.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Air Force Validating Expeditionary HA/DR Capability in Micronesia

A team of 54 Air Force medical and contingency response experts arrived on the Micronesian island state of Chuuk Sept. 2 to begin a five-day validation of the Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team (HARRT) team concept.

The humanitarian team was created in order to quickly respond to a disaster or humanitarian crisis in the Pacific region. Typhoons, earthquakes, or volcanoes are examples of catastrophes to which the HARRT would respond, explains an Air Force news story concerning the team’s arrival in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Thirteenth Air Force led the development of the HARRT concept and the validation will be realistic as the medical team will provide medical care to local communities. A 13th Air Force press release provides more details.

Designed to deploy to a disaster area within 24 hours of notice, the HARRT would provide initial primary care and preventive medicine for up to 350 to 500 patients per day. In an actual contingency, the team would be self-sufficient for up to five days before additional medical supplies and personnel would arrive on scene.

U.S. Pacific Command has a long history of supporting U.S. Government humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) efforts throughout Asia-Pacific. The full range of supporting capabilities are continually refined and put to the test through military training exercises and dedicated humanitarian civic assistance missions.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Timor-Leste, U.S. Conduct First Formal Military-to-Military Talks

A delegation from the Pacific Command (PACOM) staff was hosted by senior Timor-Leste civilian and military leaders in mid-August for the first Timor-Leste, United States Bilateral Defense Discussions.

The two delegations discussed the full range of military-to-military activities, from strategic dialogue and operational cooperation to planning and executing training, exercises, professional exchanges and related activities.

The Timorese side was led by Dr. Julio Pinto, Secretary of State for Defense, and Brig. Gen. Taur Matan Ruak, Chief of the Defense Force of Timor-Leste. Navy Capt. Patrick Kelly, the Southeast Asia Plans and Policy Chief at PACOM, led the U.S. delegation. U.S. Ambassador to Timor-Leste Hans Klemm also took part. Both delegations included representatives from multiple service branches and the wider defense and security community.

Of note, the Timorese delegation briefed its Force 2020 strategy, highlighting the creation of a national maritime authority and a long-term interest in participating in United Nations peacekeeping operations.

PACOM routinely conducts formal military-to-military discussions with friends and allies throughout Asia-Pacific. These discussions lay the foundation for identifying areas of mutual concern and opportunities to collaborate to address them.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

PACOM Embraces Partnerships for Energy Solutions

The state of Hawaii, in cooperation with the Defense Energy Support Center and U.S. Pacific Command will host a major conference, the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit & Expo, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Aug. 31 - Sept. 3, 2009. PACOM is providing speakers and panel members in support of the conference.

As a major energy consumer in Hawaii, PACOM and the Department of Defense recognize their responsibilities to foster conservation and clean energy production, while promoting energy independence.

PACOM is working with the State of Hawaii to develop strategies and implement innovative solutions to harness clean, efficient, secure, renewable and sustainable energy for the benefit of the people of Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific Region. Currently, DoD assets are responsible for 15% of electric usage in Hawaii.

In January 2009, PACOM formed a council to develop an Energy Partnership Strategy with the state of Hawaii, followed by an Energy Security Strategy for the broader area of responsibility. The PACOM Energy Partnership and Strategy Council (PEPSC) develops and supports the implementation of energy partnership strategies in the Pacific.

PACOM hopes to continue to grow relationships with partners interested in conservation and clean energy production, while promoting energy independence. PACOM is also looking to gain a greater understanding of the energy challenges faced by the Asia-Pacific Region, a strengthening of energy cooperation with the State of Hawaii, and an informed set of regional and industry partners who better understand the energy challenges faced by the Department of Defense.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Airmen Apply Training in Assisting Japanese Crash Victim

After pulling a Japanese man to safety from the scene of a fiery crash recently, a group of U.S. Airmen from Misawa Air Base said they acted on instinct and that they put their Air Force training into practice.

Eight Airmen each played a role in rescuing the man, after passing by the scene of the crash in a tour bus and seeing him lying unconscious next to a burning car.

On a daily basis in the Pacific Command area of responsibility individual service members are doing extraordinary things to support their units and their communities.

The Misawa Airmen story, as told on the Misawa Air Base website and in Pacific Stars and Stripes, is an example of an extraordinary reaction and teamwork by a group of service members that potentially saved a life.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

AFP, JSOTF-P Supports Community Development with Health Care

More than 800 local men, women and children in the Northern Mindanao region of the Philippines received basic medical care and other services last week.

The project was as part an ongoing initiative led by the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) -- with assistance from Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines (JSOTF-P), local officials, and community volunteers -- to provide assistance to the people of Mindanao.

A JSOTF-P news story explains that this project in Lanao del Norte province included a particularly strong volunteer turnout from the region, in addition to AFP and JSOTF-P doctors, nurses, and dentists.

JSOTF-P, in a strictly non-combat role, has been assisting the AFP build its capacity to eliminate terrorist safe havens since 2002. A key to this is creating conditions that make terrorist elements unwelcome, or prevent their resurgence.

Health care and health education projects are just one dimension of this ongoing focus. For instance, since January 2008, the AFP and JSOTF-P have partnered with a variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations to provide free, basic medical & dental care to more than 20,000 patients.

JSOTF-P is comprised of 500-600 personnel from all four military services temporarily deployed to the Philippines at the request of the Philippine Government.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Military Winter Flying Begins in Support of Antarctic Research

The U.S. military began its winter flying period this week as part of its support to the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation.

The period, known as WINFLY, is scheduled to last until Aug. 30 and will deliver advance teams and cargo to New Zealand and Antarctica for the main season of Operation Deep Freeze, beginning in late September. A 13th Air Force press release provides further details of WINFLY.

Operation Deep Freeze mission oversight and support is coordinated by Joint Task Force (JTF) Support Forces Antarctica, lead by 13th Air Force.The JTF coordinates strategic intertheater airlift, tactical deep field support, aeromedical evacuation support, search and rescue response, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling, and transportation requirements for Operation Deep Freeze.

The U.S. military is uniquely equipped and trained to provide such support, and has done so since 1955.

U.S. Pacific Command routinely supports and interacts with a variety of U.S. Departments and Agencies, such as the U.S. Antarctic Program, on initiatives that support national defense and other areas of national interest.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Prime Minister Appreciates Partnership in Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua praised the Pacific Partnership mission as the Solomons Islands phase of the humanitarian civic assistance mission concluded Tuesday.

During a ceremony marking the end of 14 days of medical, veterinary and engineering projects, Dr. Sikua said the mission has further strengthened the long relationship between the governments and people of the Solomon Islands and the U.S., according to the Solomon Star. More than 4,500 patients received basic medical and dental care, engineers completed projects at three schools, and a variety of other assistance was provided, including the return of a stranded fishing vessel.

The Prime Minister’s appreciation was echoed by his Deputy Peter Tolia, during a dedication ceremony for one of the engineering projects last week.

The 2009 Pacific Partnership mission, which has already visited Somoa and Tonga in addition to Solomon Islands, is strengthening relationships at a variety of levels, as the mission includes multinational and multi-agency partners.

Military and government professionals from countries such as Australia, Canada, Chili, France, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea have provided support, as have civilian volunteers from organizations such as International Aid, Project HOPE, International Relief Teams and the University of California San Diego Pre-Dental Society.

Each has played a critical role during the mission, and the type of coordination required between these various organizations during Pacific Partnership provides practical experience that could prove valuable in the case of a future humanitarian crisis or relief effort in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.

The four-month Pacific Partnership mission continues on to Kiribati and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Leaders From 21 Nations Explore Transnational Security Cooperation at APCSS

Twenty-one senior Asia-Pacific military and civilian leaders from 21 nations completed the Transnational Security Cooperation course Aug. 14 at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) in Honolulu.

The course is an intensive program that includes interactive seminar workshop scenarios, guest speakers, and discussions with senior U.S. Pacific Command officials. Curriculum emphasizes the impact of current and future changes in the region, as impacted by regional and global security threats.

Represented during the course were: Australia, Cambodia, China, Fiji, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, the United States, and Vietnam.

The Transnational Security Cooperation course takes place several times each year and serves as a forum for sharing perspectives on security challenges and building relationships. APCSS supports U.S. Pacific Command’s objective of developing professional and personal ties among national security establishments throughout the region.

With a non-operational mission, APCSS focuses on a multilateral and multi-dimensional approach to defining and addressing regional security issues and concerns. The most beneficial result is building relationships of trust and confidence among future leaders and decision-makers within the region.

Since opening in 1995, the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies has had representatives from 72 countries attend courses at the Center.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Peace Support Operations Training Brings International Audience to Mongolia

More than 500 military personnel from throughout Asia-Pacific and beyond have gathered in Mongolia for Khaan Quest, a multinational training exercise designed to increase peace support operations core competencies.

Approximately 250 members of the Mongolian Armed Forces, 150 members of the U.S. military, and 150 international military representatives are taking part in the exercise, which includes a field training event, a humanitarian civic assistance project, medical readiness training and a peace keeping operations seminar.

Khaan Quest is hosted by the Mongolian Armed Forces and sponsored by U.S. Pacific Command.

While the exercise officially kicked off with a ceremony Aug. 15, exercise-related events have been going on since late July, when a group of U.S. and Mongolian soldiers continued improvements to a school dormitory as part of a project that began last year during Khaan Quest.

More than 30 officers from nine countries took part in a United Nations Staff Officers Course Aug. 10-12.

The purpose of Khaan Quest, which runs through Aug. 26, is to increase interoperability and planning expertise among participating nations and to further develop the Mongolian Armed Forces’ training center at the Five Hills Training Area.

Khaan Quest is one of a number of exercises in the Asia-Pacific region that support USPACOM’s objective of contributing to bilateral and multilateral efforts to build partner capacity and capability, as well as Global Peace Operations Initiative goals, which includes the training of 75,000 military peace support operations troops worldwide through 2010.

Keep up with Khaan Quest on the exercise website.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

U.S., Philippines Agree on Military Engagements During Annual Meeting

Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, co-chaired the annual Mutual Defense Board (MDB) and Security Engagement Board (SEB) meetings Aug. 13 in Manila.

During the meetings the two reviewed the previous year’s military-to-military activities and agreed upon an engagement plan for the upcoming year, which includes military exercises, professional exchanges, and counter-terrorism training. Focuses include areas such as maritime security, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

During the meeting, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to countering terrorism and violent extremism.

The annual meetings ensure that joint exercises and activities conducted between the U.S. and Philippines are relevant and address present concerns of both military forces.

As noted by the Philippines News Agency, this was the 51st MDB and 4th SEB.

The Mutual Defense Board was formed in 1958 to provide a framework and mechanism for direct liaison and consultation between the Philippines and U.S. to develop and improve the common defense of both countries, which share a Mutual Defense Treaty.

The SEB provides a framework and mechanism for direct liaison and consultation on non-traditional security concerns such as, but not limited to, terrorism, transnational crimes, maritime security and safety, natural and man-made disasters.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bangladesh, U.S. Military Members Partner to Provide Care, Construction

U.S. Sailors and Marines worked with Bangladesh Armed Forces counterparts to provide basic medical and dental care to approximately 1,000 patients, and construct buildings at two schools Aug. 1-11.

The projects took place in several northern districts of Bangladesh, and as reported by AHN, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh James F. Moriarity said the medical and engineering projects continue a tradition of close cooperation between the U.S. and Bangladeshi militaries, as well as a wider U.S. assistance effort that involves a variety of agencies, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The engineering projects resulted in a new building at two separate schools. Basic medical and dental care was provided at two locations, as well. The engineers, from 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and Sailors from 3rd Medical and Dental Battalions are Okinawa-Japan based.

The Bangladesh Interoperability Program, as this outreach was called, is one of a number of ongoing and routine engagements throughout the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility designed to improve the quality of life of people in need, while also building understanding and important professional relationships between military and civilian counterparts.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Asia-Pacific Nations Endeavor to Improve Communications

More than a dozen countries from throughout Asia-Pacific will be represented when Pacific Endeavor, a workshop designed to allow opportunities for the testing of compatibility and interoperability of military communications and information systems, begins Aug. 10 on Hawaii's Big Island.

For two weeks, the representatives will be working together in coordination with the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) to assess communications equipment, discuss issues and technologies, test communications capabilities and conduct a tabletop exercise to test communications procedures.

Pacific Endeavor is sponsored by the Multinational Communications Interoperability Program (MCIP), which is designed to support multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations by developing communications interoperability between partner nations.

An October 2008 article in Signal Magazine highlighting the importance of information sharing includes an explanation of MCIP and how it serves as a venue for developing the communications chapter of the Multinational Forces Standing Operations Procedures (MNF SOP).

This is the third Pacific Endeavor workshop, with the first taking place in 2005.

The workshop will continue through Aug. 21.

In addition to the U.S., participating countries include: Australia; Bangladesh; Indonesia; Japan; Maldives; Malaysia; Mongolia; Nepal; New Zealand; the Philippines; Singapore; South Korea; Sri Lanka; and Thailand.

Exchanges such as Pacific Endeavor, which contribute to building both capabilities and relationships that could prove critical during future humanitarian assistance efforts, are a key component of the U.S. Pacific Command Strategy.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Australia Joint Operations Chief Lauds Collaboration in Pacific Partnership

Australian Defence Force (ADF) Chief of Joint Operations, Lt. Gen. Mark Evans, helped kick off the Solomon Islands phase of Pacific Partnership Aug. 6 during a ceremony on board the destroyer USS Mustin, which is visiting there during the humanitarian mission.

The General said Pacific Partnership is an excellent example of the synergy that comes from working collaboratively with the U.S. military, according to an Australian Department of Defence release. Indeed, a goal of Pacific Partnership from the U.S. perspective is strengthening alliances and civil-military relationships to help ensure the U.S. military is able to rapidly respond in support of emergency relief efforts in the future.

There are numerous opportunities to do just that during Pacific Partnership, which includes military and government personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, France, South Korea and the United States, and civilian volunteers from International Relief Teams, Project Hope and University of California San Diego Pre-Dental Society, who are working alongside their local counterparts. The Loloma Foundation and Interplast will accept surgical referrals from embarked medical civic action programs.

The ADF is contributing twelve Australian Army Engineers, a Royal Australian Air Force Dental hygienist and two Royal Australian Navy Landing Craft to the Pacific Partnership mission this year.

U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Pacific Partnership mission, operating this year from USNS Richard E. Byrd, works by, with and through partner nations, non-governmental organizations and other U.S. government and international agencies to provide humanitarian assistance in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.

Pacific Partnership has already visited Samoa and Tonga, where more than 8,000 patients have received basic medical care, and more than 2,000, dental care. Veterinarians have treated more than 300 animals. Numerous engineering projects were completed in those two locations, including a work effort of more than 400-man days in Tonga alone.

The Solomon Islands mission will run for 14 days and will be followed by missions in Kiribati and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Connect with Pacific Partnership via the mission’s website, which includes social media links.


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