The U.S. Pacific Command is reaching out to former enemies and even potential adversaries to help maintain security in the vast Asia-Pacific region. Some of these efforts are aimed at prevailing in the Global War on Terrorism, while others simply are part of a long-term effort to keep the dozens of nations that make up the region from going to war with one another.
The People's Republic of China has launched a new series of frigates that provide an effective modern capability for littoral operations. Known as the Type 054 series, these new frigates can be categorized into two classes—the 054 Jingkai and the newer, much more capable 054A. The first appeared about four years ago, but China could be gearing up to produce both variants in large numbers.
Command and control systems used by the U.S./Republic of Korea Combined Forces Command, the 15-member United Nations Command in Korea and U.S. Forces Korea have transformed significantly over the past two years. These improvements in the region were made a priority by the former commander of U.S. Forces Korea, Gen. Leon J.
Two energy-starved Asian economic dynamos may face potential conflict in their quest for access to scarce oil reserves. China and Japan are finding themselves competing for the same undersea oil deposits, and this could lead to armed confrontations between the former antagonists.
Communicating through a new community of interest network, coalition forces from eight countries examined information-sharing issues such as language and interoperability during a recent exercise in the Pacific Ocean. This effort was part of an intensive warfighting training session that gave the national militaries a chance to expand, improve and connect their command, control, communications and computer capabilities.
Coalition interoperability and transformation dominate the challenges facing the U.S. Army-Pacific as it supports the Global War on Terrorism. Nearby wars, backyard threats and rapidly changing network-centric technologies all compete for top billing for a component command that encompasses the world's largest ocean and more than three dozen countries.
Calling a help desk when the computer refuses to boot up or when e-mail is blocked can be a frustrating experience. But with the help of industry, U.S. Air Force communications personnel in the Asia-Pacific region have taken steps to alleviate some of the aggravation. By employing commercial best practices and standardizing processes, the directorate in charge of ensuring that warfighters can connect is now more efficiently and effectively employing its resources. As a result, it expects to reduce the time needed to resolve technical issues by 20 percent.
In what has proved to be a timely and prescient move, the Guam Army National Guard recently upgraded its communication system both to handle expanded mission demands and to be resistant to constant battering by typhoons. The Guard now has an Internet protocol (IP)-based system built around commercial technology and designed to survive storm elements that used to crash the Guard's old system regularly.
The People's Republic of China is commissioning increasingly versatile destroyers adaptable for multirole missions in more distant waters. These vessels are capable of antisubmarine operations or regional air defense commonly attributed to blue-water fleets, and they feature advanced indigenous and imported weapons technologies.
China's senior military thinkers are clamoring for that nation to develop or acquire information and electronic warfare technologies and systems. Ascribing almost mystical qualities to the coming revolution in military affairs, these leaders are pressing for the development of advanced technologies such as missiles armed with radio frequency microwave warheads to destroy or disrupt an enemy's battlefield sensor and communication grids.