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.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New School Latest Improvement in Ongoing JSOTF-P, AFP Partnership

A new school building in Basilan, Philippines, built by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with support from Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-P) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was turned over to local leaders in the village of Sumisip last week.

The school was reportedly one of two burned to the ground by terrorists in March, as noted in a JSOTF-P news story.

This project is the latest example of an ongoing effort between the AFP and JSOTF-P, working often with government agencies such as USAID and the Philippine Department of Agriculture to improve infrastructure and opportunity in the Southern Philippines as a means of countering violent extremism.

Since January 2008, the AFP-U.S. team has completed 100+ infrastructure projects, including new schools, roads, piers, water wells, medical centers and local government buildings.

JSOTF-P is comprised of 500 to 600 personnel from all four military services temporarily deployed to the Philippines at the request of the Philippine Government in a strictly non-combat role to advise and assist the AFP, share information, and to conduct joint civil military operations.

Interact and keep up with the work of JSOTF-P on the Task Force’s new blog/website.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Disaster Response Exercise Aims to Battle Wildfires

Sixteen representatives from U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) joined representatives from the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) and the government of Indonesia (GOI) to focus on wild fires during a disaster response exchange and exercise last week in the Riau Province of the Asia-Pacific nation.

An article in Antara News highlighted the relevance of the exercise in the province, where firefighters are currently battling both forest and plantation fires.

During a two-day exchange, the group focused on procedures for responding to wild fires, specifically incident management and multinational collaboration efforts. Additionally, they exchanged information on command, control and management of response to large wild land fire incidents. They also discussed the secondary and tertiary impacts fires have in the region, as well as ways other organizations and the private sector can be involved in preventing and managing incidents.

The last day of the event featured a table-top exercise that required the group to work together to respond to a large-scale fire disaster.

This exercise, which is led by the TNI and GOI, is in its third year. Each year, additional countries from throughout the region have attended, whether as participants or observers. This highlights the ongoing strengthening of partnerships throughout the Asia-Pacific region, which helps foster more rapid response to disasters and an overall increase in security in the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) area of responsibility.


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