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Military

04 April 2002

U.S. Pacific Chief Says Technology Enhances Military Capability

(Blair's Apr. 2 remarks to Pacific and Asian Affairs Council) (2180)
Information technology is "the key to transforming the Pacific
Command's war-fighting ability," the commander-in-chief of the U.S.
Pacific Command (CINCPAC) told members of the Pacific and Asian
Affairs Council in Hawaii April 2.
"We're developing the capability to have a detailed, accurate tactical
picture in the hands of every echelon of the Joint Task Force,"
Admiral Dennis Blair said. "This picture will show thorough -- almost
perfect -- knowledge of the position and condition of our own forces,
detailed knowledge of the characteristics of the operating area, and
adequate knowledge of the position and condition of the enemy."
"With this reliable common operating picture, our forces can move
rapidly against enemy centers of gravity, take advantage of
opportunities on the battlefield, and achieve decisive results very
quickly," Blair said.
"You saw a taste of these kinds of operations in Afghanistan, but that
... is only the beginning," he stressed.
Blair also talked briefly about the campaign against terrorism in the
Asia-Pacific region, and cooperative efforts to maintain security in
the region.
"The key to success against international terrorism in our part of the
world," he said, "is relentless pressure against the terrorists and
their support, and unprecedented international cooperation in the
campaign."
"The terrorists are patient, flexible, and skilled, and they can take
advantage of free societies and areas where governments are unable to
maintain law and order. We must be persistent, aggressive, and
innovative, and we must cooperate -- both within our own government
and with other governments," he continued.
Following is the CINCPAC text of Blair's remarks:
(begin text)
UNITED STATES PACIFIC COMMAND
Statement by Admiral Dennis C. Blair
Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command
Remarks to Pacific and Asian Affairs Council
Hilton Hawaiian Village
Waikiki, HI, April 2, 2002
Admiral Blair: President Boas, other distinguished guests, Ladies and
Gentlemen...
Good afternoon. Great to have the opportunity to speak with you. The
Pacific and Asian Affairs Council is doing terrific things for our
country and the Asia-Pacific region as Hawaii's cousin of the World
Affairs Council. Your UH Community College Program, your International
Visitor Program, and especially your outstanding High School
Educational Outreach Program, are examples for all the World Affairs
Councils to emulate and venerate.
Your mission -- "to promote a greater awareness and understanding of
foreign affairs issues, with special attention to Hawaii's role in the
Asia-Pacific region" -- is a very worthy one; and we in the armed
forces all realize that you in the business, academic, and political
sectors have as much or more to contribute to security of the region
as the armed forces do. Same goes for the wonderful East-West Center,
with terrific representation here as well. And of course, the
Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. So thank you for all that.
Speaking of improving communication between Americans and those from
other nations ... I recently heard about two tourists from the
Asia-Pacific region who were visiting here in the Aloha State. And you
know the old argument.
One said to the other, "I'm sure it's pronounced Ha-WY-ee."
The other said, "No, I heard someone say, Ha-VY-ee." They went back
and forth over this as they were walking around the Kahala area.
Finally, curiosity winning them over, they decided to stop and ask.
They entered a restaurant, approached a waitress, and said, "We are
sorry to disturb you. But please, very slowly, tell us how you
pronounce the name of this place."
The waitress answered very carefully ...
"Ziiiiiiiihhhhhhhhp-peeeeeeeee's."
This morning, I'll speak briefly about four subjects, and then leave
plenty of time for questions, comments, and discussion.
First, I'll talk about the campaign against terrorism in the
Asia-Pacific region -- how things have changed;
Second, I'll talk about our day-to-day jobs -- which have not changed
-- maintaining security in the potential flashpoints of the region;
Third, I'll address security cooperation with other Pacific nations --
the way to a more secure and prosperous future for the region;
And finally, I'll talk about the transformation of our forces in the
Pacific -- how they'll become even quicker and more lethal than they
already are.
First, the war on terrorism in our part of the world:
Pacific Command forces have been in the middle of combat operations in
Afghanistan:
The Vinson carrier battlegroup arrived in the North Arabian Sea on 11
September 2001, and its aircraft were in action within a few weeks.
Soon the Kitty Hawk and Stennis battlegroups, and the Pelelieu and
Bonhomme Richard amphibious ready groups joined, and it was Marines
from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, from Camp Pendleton,
California, who first went ashore at Camp Rhino near Kandahar,
Afghanistan.
American friends and allies in the Asia-Pacific region -- the APR --
quickly rallied behind our country, and provided crucial support.
In September of last year, the airbridge from the United States
stretched westward across the Pacific to Afghanistan, rather than
eastward across Europe, because our allies and partners in Asia were
quick to grant overflight permission.
Australia, New Zealand, and Canada sent forces to Afghanistan, while
Japan -- which passed new legislation to do it -- and Korea provided
logistic support.
Meanwhile, we went on the offensive in the Pacific against terrorism.
In the APR, we don't have any Afghanistans -- countries that share the
international terrorists' goals, and provide a sanctuary. Instead, we
have governments that are generally willing, and often able, to go
after terrorists in their territory.
The key to success against international terrorism in our part of the
world ... is relentless pressure against the terrorists and their
support, and unprecedented international cooperation in the campaign.
There have been initial successes -- you may have read about the
arrests in Southeast Asia that thwarted planned attacks against U.S.
forces and embassies, and broke up part of an extensive terrorist ring
there.
Our largest military operation against terrorism is in the
Philippines, where a U.S. Joint Task Force is providing training, some
equipment, intelligence support, and advisors to the Armed Forces of
the Philippines. The objective is to keep a Taliban-like movement from
gaining a foothold in that part of the world.
The terrorists are patient, flexible, and skilled, and they can take
advantage of free societies and areas where governments are unable to
maintain law and order. We must be persistent, aggressive, and
innovative, and we must cooperate -- both within our own government
and with other governments.
Second, let me address the flashpoints in the region that are the
legacy of past conflicts.
On the Korean Peninsula, an impoverished North Korea continues to
starve its people ... as it maintains threatening military forces, and
exports weapons -- including missiles -- to anyone who'll buy them.
We've maintained a strong deterrent posture on the Peninsula, while we
conduct combat operations in Afghanistan.
When the Kitty Hawk deployed to the North Arabian Sea, we moved a
squadron of Air Force fighters onto the Korean Peninsula ... to
maintain the early effective combat power that'll be the key to
defeating North Korean aggression quickly.
Across the Taiwan Strait, the military balance is more stable than
newspapers indicate.
China can cause a great deal of damage to Taiwan, particularly with
the short-range ballistic missiles Beijing is deploying at an
increased pace ... and which have increased accuracy. Over 300 of them
now range Taiwan.
However, China is not capable of using military means to take and hold
Taiwan and force its reunification. Although the PLA is working
assiduously to improve its capabilities, and it's receiving additional
resources from the Chinese government, it's not making relative
progress.
With recent U.S. undertakings to sell additional weapons to Taiwan,
and with the increasing capabilities of U.S. forces in the Pacific,
this stable military balance will continue for the foreseeable future.
On the basis of this stable balance, Taiwan and China's peaceful
achievement of one China -- which is the policy of China, of Taiwan,
and of the United States -- can move forward.
Third, let me talk about security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific
region.
Unlike Europe, where multilateral security structures predominate, the
APR has a tradition of bilateral security relations.
In recent years, we've seen a healthy growth of multilateral security
cooperation, directed toward missions common to many countries --
peace operations, non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian
assistance and disaster relief, anti-piracy operations, operations
against drugs, and -- as I described earlier -- ops against
international terrorism.
These operations not only solve real problems in the region, but also
build habits of cooperation among military forces that contribute to a
secure and prosperous future for the region.
Almost three years ago, Australia organized a peacekeeping force for
East Timor. Since then, the force has been reduced, the role of lead
nation shifted to the Philippines and then to Thailand, and East Timor
will become an independent country ... in less than two months.
The Pacific Command has sponsored a series of seminars, workshops, and
tabletop exercises, all to build a standard body of tactics,
techniques, and procedures. This series also builds a cadre of
experienced and knowledgeable officers to conduct multilateral
operations in the missions of the future.
We've developed flexible networks for the command, control, and
communications of international operations.
Other nations have taken their own initiatives in this area. Singapore
has led multilateral exercises in submarine search and rescue
operations, and also in mine-clearing.
Japan's taken the lead in organizing multilateral efforts against
piracy.
These efforts are flexible, ad hoc, and respond to real requirements
in the region. The nations involved are building "security
communities" -- groupings of nations that use military forces for
common missions, habits of cooperation, and dependable expectations of
peaceful change in the region.
Finally, a word about the transformation of the Pacific Command to
make our forces even faster and more lethal than they are today.
With the vast distances in our theater, covering 52% of the world's
surface -- from Alaska ... to Madagascar -- and a wide variety of
potential contingencies, the secret to success is speed of
understanding, speed of deployment, and speed of decision.
Just as it's the key to changing our lives in fundamental ways every
day, information technology is also the key to transforming the
Pacific Command's war-fighting ability.
About a third of the 300,000 forces under my command are deployed
forward, primarily in Korea and Japan.
Our commanders and forward forces are the core of our response to any
situation, and they're continually planning to respond to
contingencies as they practice their day-to-day skills.
We've connected the entire Pacific with wideband networks, so that
even as a crisis develops, at the same time we can deploy forces to
join those already forward, refine the intelligence picture,
collaboratively plan with commanders and forces on the move, and build
our Joint Task Force.
By the time a clear picture of the regional crisis's actual situation
emerges, we can have:
Forces on the scene with a fully detailed picture of the battlefield.
A set of flexible plans developed, understood throughout the force,
and rehearsed. And be ready for operations.
At the tactical level, through a series of exercises in the field
conducted over the past year, we're developing the capability to have
a detailed, accurate tactical picture in the hands of every echelon of
the Joint Task Force -- from the squad leader to the JTF commander.
This picture will show thorough -- almost perfect -- knowledge of the
position and condition of our own forces, detailed knowledge of the
characteristics of the operating area, and adequate knowledge of the
position and condition of the enemy.
With this reliable common operating picture, our forces can move
rapidly against enemy centers of gravity, take advantage of
opportunities on the battlefield, and achieve decisive results very
quickly.
You saw a taste of these kinds of operations in Afghanistan, but that
... is only the beginning.
The concepts I've described seem fairly simple. To put them into
practice is anything but. The way to do it is to take the systems to
the field -- either in joint exercises or in joint operations -- then
operate them, identify the deficiencies, and fix them.
The armed forces of the United States are better at this than any on
the planet, and it's this drive to improve and transform that will
maintain our war-fighting superiority in the future.
Let me end my remarks here to leave time for questions.
We don't want this to be like the Irish wake at which the old man was
dying, the entire clan was gathered, and the immediate family went in
at the very end.
As they emerged, one of the cousins asked one of the sons, "And what
were your da's last words?"
"Ah," the lad replied. "He didn't have any. Mother was there to the
end."
Mahalo nui loa.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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