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Admiral Offers Vision for Indo-Pacific

March 2, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Key to military success and supporting free and open societies in the Indo-Pacific region are: fostering innovation, thinking critically, developing expertise, challenging assumptions and working collectively to realize the full potential of the joint force, the commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said.

To accomplish all of this, there are four key pillars, Navy Adm. Philip S. Davidson told the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association's TechNet Indo-Pacific 2021 virtual event.

A service member directs a jet taking off from an aircraft carrier.
Signaling Sailor
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Rebekkah Rosenberg directs an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, Feb. 27, 2021. Rosenberg is assigned to the "Golden Warriors" of Strike Fighter Squadron 87.
Photo By: Navy Seaman Apprentice Juan J. Ruiz-Lazcano
VIRIN: 210207-N-WY042-1072

The first pillar is to increase joint force lethality, he said. "The fundamental design is an integrated joint force that can deny an adversary's ability to dominate the sea, air, land, space and cyberspace domains and, in turn, support our ability to control and project in all domains — sometimes periodically and sometimes persistently."

The joint force must more fully integrate cyber capabilities, its space forces, its special operations forces and ground forces equipped with long-range precision fires, Davidson advised.

"We also must maintain a strong offense to fight and win should deterrence fail. Our investments in modernization efforts must harness the advanced capabilities provided by a network of leading edge technologies, such as integrated air and missile defense," he said. 

These integrated air and missile defenses employ multiple sensors and interceptors, distributed across the region to protect not only the homeland and U.S. territories, but also U.S. forces. These defenses must protect allies and partners, as well, he said.

Davidson also mentioned the importance of space-based persistent radars to provide situational awareness of Chinese military activities. Other important enablers, he said, are artificial intelligence, quantum computing, remote sensing, machine learning, big data analytics and 5G technology.

Two large ships and two smaller ships sail in the sea.
Sailing Ships
The amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans, amphibious landing dock ship USS Ashland, a landing craft air cushion assigned to Naval Beach Unit 7, and the Palau maritime security patrol boat PSS President H.I. Remeliik II patrol the Philippine Sea, Feb. 27, 2021.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelby Sanders
VIRIN: 210227-N-KL617-1321


The second pillar is to enhance force design and posture in the region, he said. 

"Our force design and posture in the region must enable the convergence of capabilities for multiple domains to create the virtues of mass without concentration. This is accomplished by distributing a forward-deployed joint force across the battlespace, in breadth and depth, while balancing its lethality and its survivability," he said.

Persistent presence through foreign-based and rotational joint forces is the most credible way to demonstrate commitment and resolve to Beijing, while simultaneously reassuring allies and partners, he added.

The third pillar is to strengthen alliances and partnerships, he said.

"Our constellation of allies and partners is the backbone of the free and open international order. And it provides a powerful force to counter malign activity and aggression in the region," Davidson said. 

Strengthening partnerships is accomplished through training exercises, which help to increase interoperability, information sharing agreements, foreign military sales, expanded military cooperation and international security dialogues, he noted.

A male service member looks through a ship's bridge binoculars to scan the sea as a ship sails in the distance.
Surface Contacts
Marine Corps Cpl. Jayden Erie, an anti-tank missileman with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, looks for surface contacts aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset during a Bab el-Mandeb Strait transit, Feb. 27, 2021.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Brendan Mullin
VIRIN: 210227-M-JX780-1096M

The fourth pillar is to exercise experimentation innovation — not only within the joint force, but with allies and partners, as well, Davidson said. 

"To accomplish this, we are pursuing the development of a joint network of live, virtual and constructive ranges in key locations around the region," he said.

Other venues for exercise experimentation innovation include ranges and training areas throughout the Indo-Pacom region, as well as throughout the U.S. These training sites need to be utilized by allies and partners, as well as the joint force, using the full range of capabilities in all domains, he said.