Photo: Wikimedia Commons
As the Pentagon winds down its two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is already beefing up its Pacific presence.The Marines are already in Australia, and Michelle Tan at the Army Times reports that the Army has announced its plans to expand training and exercises into New Zealand, Japan, Australia, and Thailand.
“What we’re seeing is a strategic rebalance that our nation is going through,” Col. Malcolm Frost, the operations officer (G-3) for U.S. Army Pacific says. “The nation has always been focused on the Pacific, but we’re just seeing a refocus by the Army because our Army has, rightly so, for the last 10 years been focused on Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C., I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. could each be chosen to participate in the upcoming Pacific exercises.
Because of this focus, U.S. Army Pacific is feeling a bit more secure than other commands in the Army as the Department of defence looks to cut $259 billion in future spending over the next five years, and cuts 80,000 active duty soldiers.
While attempting to explain the budget cuts effect on the Army, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said, “We will increase engagements with allies and new partners in the Asia-Pacific region, home of seven of the 10 largest armies in the world, to enhance our collective security, then promote economic prosperity.”
From the Army Times:
U.S. Army Pacific’s area of responsibility encompasses 9,000 miles, 36 countries or regions and 16 time zones. Last year, the command conducted 140 exercises, engagements and partnership-building events, Frost said.
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