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 | May 27, 2020

Chief of Staff Foresees Greater Army Commitment in Indo-Pacific

By Sean Kimmons Army News Service

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- After COVID-19 forced the Army to shutter or curtail major exercises, the service’s top officer said Wednesday that Soldiers will soon return to train with partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

Pacific Pathways, a series of exercises where units conduct several stops and train with foreign militaries in an expeditionary-style deployment, has been temporarily halted after the Defense Department issued a stop-movement order, slated to end June 30.

“Our intent is to get back with these exercises as soon as the conditions allow,” said Gen. James C. McConville, the Army’s chief of staff. “We have to stay ready.”

The decision is part of the Army’s overall return to collective training after safety measures, such as masks, physical distancing, screening and testing for the virus, recently proved successful with recruits at basic training sites.

“We’re putting procedures in place for our troops so they can still operate in this environment and make sure that we continue our relationships,” he said.

Speaking at the virtual Indo-Pacific Landpower Conference 2020, the general understood that nations, as well as the U.S., have felt the impact of COVID-19 and may be preparing for a potential second wave.

Despite the outbreak, great power competition with near-peer adversaries still exists and, in some cases, has intensified, he told leaders representing over 20 armies in the region.

“We need to continue to think beyond the geography of the borders,” he said. “As we protect our forces who protect our nations, we must remember that there are other options that we have to maintain strength.”

Those include multinational exercises and exchanges, he added, but also information sharing as well as creative processes and organizations that can help preserve regional stability.

“Cooperation during crisis strengthens that trust and demonstrates our resolve to continue to live in a rules-based international order,” said Gen. Paul LaCamera, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, which hosted the two-day conference.

“Things will normalize,” he added. “We will either return to a normal or adapt to a new normal, but either way we will figure it out as a team of allies and partners.”

When the outbreak initially hit, about 2,000 U.S. and Thai soldiers had to adapt using protective measures while conducting Pathways exercises in Thailand.

Gen. Apirat Kongsompong, chief of the Royal Thai Army, said both forces showed great discipline to safely work with each other until the training concluded in April. He now plans to send Thai soldiers to Hawaii soon to continue their partnership.

“In the army, we have good protection and a very good way to deal with COVID-19,” he said.

LaCamera said that USARPAC expects to complete all of its Pathways exercises scheduled for this year, based on local conditions.

“If we can get into your nations to train and continue this partnership, we will,” he said to the other leaders. “We understand that dealing with the coronavirus will have an impact on that.”

Pathways will also likely expand in scope and complexity in the future, LaCamera said, so it can move beyond a series of bilateral exercises to multilateral ones.

“Pathways is so important to us, because it develops trust from the individual Soldier to the chief of the army levels,” he said. “It improves interoperability and prepares all of our forces for a future conflict, while simultaneously deterring our adversaries from initiating conflict.”

He also invited troops from other nations to train at USARPAC’s jungle and arctic warfare centers to hone their skills.

“These are unprecedented times, but we must make a concerted effort to remain connected to share best practices and lessons learned,” he said.

With roughly 75,000 Soldiers fighting the virus on the homefront, McConville reaffirmed that the U.S. Army is still committed to its partners in the Indo-Pacific.

The partnerships forged over the years are still critical, he said, and cannot be broken by a virus.

“It’s an invisible enemy, so to speak, that we all face,” he said of the virus. “But we all share the same interests in protecting our forces, protecting our people and similar interests in the region.

“I don’t see that at all,” he said of withdrawing forces from the Indo-Pacific to battle the virus at home. “In fact, I see a larger commitment in the region.”

Like Us
Follow Us



US Air Force Participates in Civic Action Engagement Alongside Royal Thai Air Force, Republic of Singapore Air Force during Exercise Cope Tiger 23
Col. Paul Davidson, left, U.S. Air Force exercise director, Col. Maxmillion Goh, center, Royal Singapore Air Force exercise director and Group Capt. Anurruk Romnarak, right, Royal Thailand Air Force exercise director, pose for a photo with students, faculty members, and community leaders during a combined civic action engagement during Exercise Cope Tiger 23 at Nongpednam School, Korat, Kingdom of Thailand, March 23, 2023. The combined civic action engagement provides an opportunity for countries participating in CT 23 to give back to the community surrounding Korat Royal Thai Air Base. CT 23 is an annual exercise meant to improve readiness and the ability of participating forces to operate together while enhancing military relations and combined capabilities.
March 29, 2023 - KORAT, Kingdom of Thailand -- Airmen from the United States, Thailand and Singapore visited a local school as part of a combined civic action engagement during Exercise Cope Tiger 2023.The Airmen took a break from their...

U.S. Naval Ship Matthew Perry Returns to Indo-Pacific Waters After Voyage Repair in India
U.S. Consul General in Chennai Judith Ravin inside USNS Matthew Perry which was at L&T shipyard in Kattupalli near Chennai for maintenance and repair work.
March 29, 2023 - CHENNAI, U.S. Embassy & Consulates in India -- USNS Matthew Perry, a Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship of the United States Navy, has successfully completed maintenance and repair work at Larsen & Toubro Ltd’s facility in...

Competition With China Drives FY 2024 Budget Request
Ships and aircraft from Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (NIMCSG) and Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (MKI ARG), with embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), operate in formation in the South China Sea. NIMCSG, MKI ARG and 13th MEU, are conducting combined expeditionary strike force (ESF) operations, demonstrating unique high-end war fighting capability, maritime superiority, power projection and readiness. Operations include integrated training designed to advance interoperability between the two groups while simultaneously demonstrating the U.S. commitment to our alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region. NIMCSG is in U.S. 7th Fleet conducting routine operations. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with Allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
March 29, 2023 - WASHINGTON -- The $842 billion fiscal year 2024 budget request for the Defense Department is driven in large part by strategic competition with China, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said.The budget also focuses, he...

Navy Conducts Revitalization at the Port of Tinian; Extends Life of Port Infrastructure for Region
A U.S. Navy diver from Underwater Construction Team (UCT) Two enters the Port of Tinian for underwater construction repairs in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  Photo by
March 29, 2023 - TINIAN, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands -- Bubbling under the waters at the Port of Tinian, a team of Sailors from Underwater Construction Team (UCT) Two could be seen welding zinc anodes to the north quay wall...

NIMCSG, JMSDF Conduct Bilateral Maritime Exercise
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) steam behind the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is conducting a bilateral maritime exercise with the JMSDF in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with Allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
March 28, 2023 - PHILIPPINE SEA -- The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (NIMCSG) conducted a bilateral maritime exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), March 23-26.USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), and USS...