Asia-Pacific

January 30, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

West 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 1

Quote of the Day:“’Flat’ is the new ‘up’ in this defense budget environment.”— Robert O. Work, undersecretary of the Navy

The military services are facing potentially crippling constraints if sequestration takes place in March. Defense officials foresee the likelihood of draconian budget cuts being imposed that will cripple the force just as it is being counted on to assume new strategic missions. In most cases, the services will have to choose to sacrifice some capabilities so that others will remain part of the force. In worse-case scenarios, the U.S. military may be unable to meet its obligations when a crisis emerges.

January 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The shift of U.S. power to the Asia-Pacific will not be successful without an infusion of new technology and a dedicated effort to defeat a wide range of adversaries. The new strategic emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region poses a new set of challenges, mandating solutions that run the gamut from technological capabilities to cultural outreach and diplomacy.

On the military side, direct challenges range from dealing with cyberspace attacks to providing missile defense in a large-scale conflict. On the geopolitical side, centuries of conflict and confrontation among neighbors must be overcome if a region-wide security environment enabling economic growth is to be implemented.

January 1, 2013
By Rita Boland
A tank fires during Wolfhound Maul. The event included a combined arms live fire exercise that simulated combat conditions in the most realistic manner possible.

An unprecedented choice allows soldiers to use communications and intelligence assets in more meaningful ways.

Military operational decisions are moving further down the chain of the command, and a group of Stryker soldiers has taken a large step toward improving the training small units receive. Troops with this battalion had a chance to practice with capabilities never before available to them in an environment that simulates combat better than any facility they have at home. The results are new levels of preparation and confidence for whatever challenges they may be called on to handle next.

December 4, 2012
By Rita Boland

U.S. Pacific Command’s J-5 gives perspective on regional changes, troop rotations, China and extremists.

Military activities in the Asia-Pacific region have become more focused since the release of a defense strategy a few months ago that places renewed attention on the global area. Through U.S. Pacific Command's (PACOM's) recent theater campaign plan, leaders are telling the subordinate military-service components to report back in a year on how efforts are working while deconflicting duplicate programs.

December 1, 2012
Reviewed by Dr. R. Norris Keeler

Book By Norman Polmar and Michael White (U.S. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland 2010, 238 pages)

In 1974, the United States attempted to raise a sunken Soviet submarine from a depth of 16,000 feet, in the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii. The submarine had been lost in March 1968. The operation to do this was camouflaged as an ocean bottom mining operation carried out by the Hughes Glomar Explorer, specially constructed for that purpose. As the Soviet general staff later admitted, the deception was excellent. They did not believe recovery from such a depth could be accomplished.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The strategic rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region is a long-term journey rather than a short-term effort, said the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Adm. Cecil D. Haney, USN, told the Thursday luncheon audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii, that the fleet will need several new capabilities to carry out its mission into the future.

November 16, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 Online Show Daily: Day 3

Quote of the Day: “Anyone who wants to go to conflict is not right.”—Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific

Technology advances hold the key for the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) to fulfill its new missions as part of the U.S. strategic realignment toward the Asia-Pacific region. Many of the technologies that top the wish lists of PACOM leadership are the usual suspects: enablers of interoperability and data sharing. But, in addition to introducing new capabilities, technology advances also are needed for defending against emerging vulnerabilities.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) joint directors are taking a regional approach to addressing the challenges facing the command. This includes activities such as forward deployment and working internationally with allies and partners, as well as dealing with challenges that emerge on a local level.

Four of these leaders discussed this aspect in a single panel at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Rear Adm. Robert P. Girrier, USN, director for operations/J-3, PACOM, emphasized the command’s approach to endorsing regional solutions by citing efforts to empower regional forums. As the region increasingly embraces security, solutions will be collective and multilateral.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Despite the definition of cyber as an unlimited domain, some activities in a cyber conflict may best be left up to area commanders. This builds on the concept that the effects of cyberwar ultimately would be local to regional forces and governments.

This assessment emerged from a panel of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) directors at TechNet Asia-Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. PACOM suffers from the same cyber challenges as other commands, but its area of operations includes some nations that are actively conducting cyberoperations against U.S. assets.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The recent global economic crisis would pale in comparison to the effects of a war fought over the South China Sea. A leading U.S. general warned that conflict in the potential flashpoint region could be devastating to many nations’ economies.

Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific, warned the audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, that “our nations’ economies would collapse” if there were to be a conflict in the South China Sea. “It is feasibly not viable for any nation to go to war over the South China Sea,” he declared.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The 2014 U.S. Army will be so technologically different that new warfighters then will not even recognize many of today’s legacy systems. Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific, told the audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that new technologies “will almost have doubled” in two years. Many of today’s information systems will be obsolete.

“The Army will be completely different from today in two years,” he stated. It also will be smaller but more efficient and more capable because of these technological advances.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The ability to share information across domains is one of the many information technology capabilities that tops the wish lists of different U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) joint directors. Joint and coalition interoperability and information sharing were the topics of attention as the PACOM J-2, J-3 J-5 and J-6 outlined these and other issues in a single panel at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 Online Show Daily: Day 2

Quote of the Day: “I’m fearless, but cyberwar scares me to death.”— Brig. Gen. Richard L. Simcock II, USMC, deputy commander, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific

The threat to cyberspace has a new face, new tactics and new goals. For the U.S. military, this could not come at a worse time with the force being realigned to provide greater emphasis on security in the Asia-Pacific region.

November 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The strategic rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region is giving the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) a new asset: the U.S. Army. Absent for more than a decade because of deployments to Southwest Asia, the 70,000 troops in the U.S. Army Pacific once again will be accessible to their area commander—but with new taskings and missions.

“Since 2001, PACOM commanders have not had their army in the Pacific. Those troops have been deployed elsewhere; the PACOM commander did not have the Army arrow in his quiver. Now, he has his Army back.”

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Relatively conventional means are allowing hackers, spies and criminals to penetrate computer networks in spite of longstanding security measures. Some of this success stems from new ways of entering networks, but most of it represents simple efforts that exploit lax security attitudes.

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Rugged mobile communications that can perform in remote areas with little bandwidth are near the top of the list for U.S. military forces in the Asia-Pacific theater. The strategic rebalancing toward the largest area of operation in the world has created new requirements for forces that face diverse deployments and different types of missions.

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Australia is building up its security presence throughout the Pacific region, but with an eye toward the western part of the vast area. Australia refers to the theater as the Indo-Pacific region instead of the Asia-Pacific region, because it views that part of the area as where the strategic center of gravity will lie.

Maj. Gen. Richard Burr, ADF, commander, 1st Division Australian Defence Force, told a panel audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that his country’s alliance with the United States is the cornerstone of Australian security. In addition to that alliance, Australia will be engaging in more regional exercises to build stronger relationships with other area nations.

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Existing forward-deployed U.S. military elements may be learning a new definition of the phrase as Pacific forces adjust to a new regional emphasis. The rebalancing that represents a new strategy for the Asia-Pacific region will be altering force structures that already represent forward deployments.

The U.S. Navy never left the forward deployment of its forces, said Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, USN, deputy commander and chief of staff, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Speaking at a panel in TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, the admiral allowed that forward deployment is essential for the force to be able to operate with an effective presence in the vast multinational region.

November 14, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Hactivists who harvest information and publish it to embarass people or organizations are the leading trend among Internet malefactors, according to a communications security specialist. Marcus H. Sachs, vice president, national security policy for Verizon, told the audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that hack-and-leak activities are becoming the new challenge for young computer minds.

November 13, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The emphasis on protecting data is fouling networks and preventing effective security, according to panelists at TechNet Asia-Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. This approach to data security must be changed to reflect the new realities of cyberspace and increasing use of new information technologies.

Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer, cited a German military official, saying: “If you try to protect everything, you protect nothing.” He called for the military to stop protecting data that it must give away anyway, such as information that must be publicly available by law.

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