An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Jan. 14, 2020

More Deployments, Stronger Presence Set for Pacific, Says SecArmy

Thomas Brading, Army News Service

WASHINGTON -- Later this year, Soldiers will initiate five-month extended rotations to countries like Thailand, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said at the Brookings Institution Friday.

The Indo-Pacific region is home to half the world's population -- including several of the world's largest militaries -- so a key to realizing the vision set in the National Defense Strategy is to bolster alliances there, he said.

Soldiers will do more than provide a steady security presence with foreign allies though, he said. At this moment, U.S. troops are assisting the Royal Thai Army stand up new Stryker units after that foreign military secured 15 Infantry Carrier Vehicles.

The Philippines recently requested help training 72 infantry battalions after they upgraded their equipment, McCarthy said.

Additional deployments and exercises in the region are being planned through 2022, he said.


When many think of the Army's presence in the Indo-Pacific, they think of troops in South Korea, said Michael O'Hanlon, Brookings Institution director of research, foreign policy. However, there's an increased emphasis in other parts of the combatant command that goes all the way to the India-Pakistan border, he added.

"Having our forces in the region reinforces the American alternative to the Belt and Road Initiative," McCarthy said, regarding the Chinese government's 2013 global development strategy. "In order to be competitive and gain an advantage, we must have a continuous presence."

Allies understand how partnering with the United States means having modern and interoperable equipment, training on a continuous basis, and a commitment that should deterrence fail -- the U.S. is a present partner and the world's best fighting force, McCarthy said.

"There is an ongoing fight for influence in the region, making our presence critical," McCarthy said. "Partners matter, but the type of partner is paramount."

China has a history of coercive economics, and many nations partner with them out of necessity, McCarthy said, adding, "And in this, lies a great deal of vulnerability."

Having the U.S. Army in the region -- with its modernized weaponry -- nested alongside allies "changes the calculus and creates dilemmas for potential adversaries," McCarthy said. Having the U.S. Army in the region also strengthens America's position to conduct commerce and compete economically, he added

"China may be a partner of necessity," he said, "but the U.S. Army is the partner of choice."


"While we continue to do traditional security cooperation, we are also employing new capabilities and using the Indo-Pacific as grounds to test our new concept -- known as Multi-Domain Operations," McCarthy said.

MDO is how the Army -- as part of the joint force -- can counter and defeat a near-peer adversary capable of contesting the U.S. in all domains such as air, land, maritime, space, and cyberspace.

"Our closest allies and partners have invested more in building similar capabilities as us," McCarthy said. "For example, Japan, Thailand, Singapore all are developing MDO-like concepts in concert with us."

MDO task forces are set to train in the Indo-Pacific during the upcoming deployments.

The new concept was first tested in the region in 2018, months after the National Defense Strategy was published and changed the Army's focus toward great power competition. The force conducted its first tests then with the Multi-Domain Task Force and Intelligence, Information, Cyber, Electronic Warfare and Space Units -- known as I2CEWS.

Then in 2019, the Army tested MDO concepts again with exercises like Orient Shield, where American forces partnered with Japanese forces in the East China Sea. With its headquarters in Japan, the task force elements were distributed across the Senkaku Islands.

Since then, the task force has conducted multiple large-scale exercises with more scheduled.

Seeking to regain overmatch and a solution for converging all domains, MDO gives an asymmetrical advantage, he said. It sets the conditions in theater, while opening a window for the joint force.

"The U.S. must maintain overmatch against our adversaries," McCarthy said. "The Army is foundational to the joint force's success in the INDO-PACOM area of responsibility. Our modernization focus -- how we fight, what we fight with, and who we are--is in part, driven by our new challenges and potential adversaries.

"If we wait until there is a conflict, we are already too late," he said. "We don't need any more gunfights. We don't want anymore… but if they come, we'll be ready."

Like Us
Follow Us



Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Phone Call With Malaysian Minister of Defense Hishammuddin Hussein
Oct. 6, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Malaysian Minister of Defense Hishammuddin Hussein on October 5 to...

U.S. Continues Support for Pandemic Response, Disaster Recovery in Surigao Del Norte
USAID Office of Health Director Michelle Lang-Alli and Humanitarian Assistance Officer Rachel Gallagher join Surigao Del Norte Governor Robert Lyndon Barbers at the turnover ceremony of COVID-19 response supplies and equipment on September 27.
Oct. 6, 2022 - MANILA, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines -- The U.S. government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), recently delivered additional COVID-19 response supplies and humanitarian assistance to...

USINDOPACOM Statement on DPRK Missile Launch
Oct. 5, 2022 - We are aware of the two ballistic missile launches and are consulting closely with our allies and partners. While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our...

U.S., Japan, and the Republic of Korea Conduct a Trilateral Ballistic Missile Defense Exercise
221006-N-DW158-1038 WATERS BETWEEN KOREA AND JAPAN (Oct 6, 2022) Ships from the U.S., Japan and Republic of Korea conducted a trilateral ballistic missile defense exercise in the waters between Korea and Japan, Oct. 6. The ships included Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) (not pictured), part of the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers JS Chokai (DDG 176) and JS Ashigara (DDG 178) (not pictured), and Republic of Korea Navy destroyer ROKS Sejong the Great (DDG 991) and demonstrated the strength of the trilateral relationship and the interoperability of U.S., Japanese and ROK collective forces. Chancellorsville provided air defense to the units as they conducted the ballistic missile exercise, which includes, detecting, tracking, and intercepting simulated targets, as well as coordination, communication, and information-sharing between the three countries. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gray Gibson)
Oct. 5, 2022 - Following the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) ballistic missile launch over Japan on Oct. 4 (local time), which was part of a larger series of launches over the past two weeks, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile...

In Close Orbit: Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 Aboard USS Tripoli (LHA 7)
A naval air crewman jumps out of an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 during a search and rescue (SAR) swimmer training evolution Sept. 22, 2022. HSC-23 is embarked aboard amphibious assault carrier USS Tripoli (LHA 7). Tripoli is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with allies and partners and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Oct. 5, 2022 - PHILIPPINE SEA -- The Sailors of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, Detachment 1, provide amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli with an important multi-role air asset.HSC-23 performs several essential missions for the...