Fargo Details Pacific Command Posture Plan
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2004 Strengthening and rebalancing U.S. forces in the Pacific are vital to peace in the region, said Adm. Thomas B. Fargo, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command.
Navy Adm. Thomas B. Fargo, chief of U.S. Pacific Command,
testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill on Sept.
23. Fargo said, "The new threat context demands profound and enduring
improvements in the way we command, equip, employ and station our
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
New threats that have no respect for national boundaries call for a regional approach to problems, the admiral told the Senate Armed Service Committee Sept. 23. "The new threat context demands profound and enduring improvements in the way we command, equip, employ and station our forces," Fargo said.
He said the pace of change in the Pacific has been stunning. "Globalization has added a dimension of speed to nearly every aspect of life," he said. "Crises clearly affect more people faster. Cyber, biological and terrorist threats are present along with more traditional concerns, like the Korean peninsula, the potential for miscalculation across the Taiwan Strait or in Kashmir, and a host of transnational threats."
The United States is working with the Japanese to address basing concerns in that country. "We're working closely with our ally, Japan, to reduce the overall number of U.S. troops there, remove long-standing noise and encroachment concerns, and adjust force posture in Okinawa," Fargo said.
The United States has also said that it intends to move 12,000 troops out of South Korea over the next three years. U.S. forces will move off the demilitarized zone to two enduring hubs south of the Han River, Fargo said. "The United States will also redeploy troops from South Korea as combined forces are modernized and the Republic of Korea assumes a greater role in its own defense," he said.
"Strengthening and re-balancing our security relationships with Japan and South Korea are vital to stability in Northeast Asia," Fargo continued. "Each is working closely with us to secure peace and effect enduring solutions to mutual challenges associated with basing our forces, while maintaining a strong deterrent posture."
The United States is also working with other Pacific treaty allies -- Australia, Thailand and the Philippines -- to reshape the command.
Overall the U.S. Pacific Command is updating its war plans, strengthening command-and-control capabilities, increasing agility and deployment capabilities, and improving logistics movements in a command that covers half the world.
The command is taking concrete steps to improve deployment capabilities. "We're co-locating Stryker brigades with high-speed vessels and C-17 airlift in Hawaii and Alaska," Fargo said. "We're deploying rotational bomber elements to Guam. We're stationing, once again, submarines in Guam. And we've proposed home- porting an additional carrier strike group forward in the Pacific."
The command is looking more for access now than bases. "A network of cooperative security locations -- places, not bases -- will provide avenues of critical access for contingency operations, expand special operations force presence and continue, through our security cooperation efforts, to strengthen the capacity of our allies and partners in the region," he said.