Operating from the most remote island chain on the planet, the U.S. Pacific Command is working to bridge the waters that surround it by training hard and often with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In an area of responsibility where bilateral relationships rather than multinational alliances are the norm, personnel spend large amounts of time engaged in exercises designed to improve interoperability and promote peace. Each year command troops and civilians alike rehearse, sometimes with tens of thousands of their closest friends, for real-world emergencies while simultaneously establishing relationships with their neighbors to the east.
China has established its bona fides as an international maritime power with its participation in counterpiracy operations off the Horn of Africa. The emerging Asian maritime force contributed many different types of vessels as it learned how to support distant deployments. Its participation in the multinational effort also served to showcase some new ships and capabilities that may define Chinese naval power in the coming years.
As the civilian sector moves toward available collaborative networking applications and technologies, U.S. Forces Korea finds itself on the crest of this wave and is transforming how it conducts business across the command. The results of this effort will enable the command to provide authoritative, far-reaching data while dramatically improving its decision-making capabilities both in peace and wartime.
The Royal Australian Navy is building its first warship designed around a state-of-the-art radar and battle management system that will allow the vessels to share critical information with allied ships. A key part of the system is a phased array radar capable of detecting and identifying airborne targets, from aircraft to incoming missiles, at long distances.
Even as the United States continues to lead a coalition of countries in the battle against terrorism in Southwest Asia, another effort quietly continues to root out evildoers in the southeast portion of the continent. But unlike their counterparts in the deserts and mountains, the troops fighting in the jungles have a secondary position to their country hosts. Also present is a strong focus on non-war activities such as medical care and capacity building that demonstrates to citizens the dedication of both their government and that of the United States to improve their lives. The result of all this work has been a decrease in terrorist activities as well as enhanced quality of life for people in the region.
Complexity is at the core of nearly every mission for the U.S. Marines serving in the Asia-Pacific region. Even something as simple as the international dateline must be taken into account when the U.S. Marine Corps plans operations within its area of responsibility. From the communications perspective, the diversity of countries it interacts with poses significant challenges to its network operators and planners.
They may not exactly be the neighborhood watch, but countries in, around and concerned with the Asia-Pacific region have banded together to protect the area’s interests. A program headquartered at U.S. Pacific Command brings operational-level planners together several times a year to develop standards and conduct exercises to promote interoperability and streamline missions in the area. Though the program is voluntary and has no authority to mandate any actions, the work and relationships have made a significant difference during crises in various nations.
The U.S. Army is overhauling its communications in Korea to update decades-old infra-structure. Three major projects will offer commanders better information for their decision-making processes and put in place an architecture that enables necessary capabilities for the next 10 to 15 years. Some phases of the work are complete, and others will continue to 2012.
Communications and data interoperability with regional nations are essential for U.S. forces in Southeast Asia. The military command responsible for this region must manage and coordinate operations across approximately half of the planet’s surface, an area encompassing 39 nations with 60 percent of the world’s population, vital international trade routes and several potential flashpoints. To facilitate its mission across this vast region, this command spearheads a variety of efforts designed to foster interoperability with the region’s armed forces.
One look at a globe could define the vastness of the Asia-Pacific region, but the U.S. Army command responsible for it can apply that same description to the challenges it faces. These range from cultural issues among dozens of diverse countries to technological issues of network centricity and interoperability.