NEWS | Sept. 1, 2020

Delivering Airpower in the Indo-Pacific

By Gen. Ken Wilsbach Commander, Pacific Air Forces

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- After nearly two months in command of Pacific Air Forces, I’m impressed by the Airmen who generate credible combat airpower daily to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.

From recent simultaneous bomber missions conducted with our joint teammates and allies and partners, to our security forces members from across Japan conducting bilateral training with the Koku-Jieitai, to our Airmen standing watch with our counterparts on the Korean peninsula, to integrating 5th Generation fighters in Red Flag-Alaska, to so much more, PACAF Airmen have demonstrated daily a resolve and commitment to deliver our unique and flexible capabilities of speed, range and precision to ensure regional stability and security.

It isn’t easy, however, to plan and execute air operations across more than half of the globe— especially in the midst of a historic pandemic—but you have leveraged your ‘can-do’ attitude, your readiness, your resiliency, your innovation, and your lethality to bring continuous unrivaled air, space and cyberspace capabilities to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

But today’s Indo-Pacific faces increased challenges and escalating tensions, none bigger than inter-state strategic competition highlighted by China and Russia seeking to impact the economic, diplomatic and security decisions of their neighbors and ignoring international law and norms.

As I have reached out to my counterparts across the theater, I come away with an abiding respect for our joint teammates, allies and partners who share a deep interest in protecting freedom, preserving peace and stability, ensuring economic prosperity free from coercion and upholding a rules-based international order. To that end, my vision for the command is that we will be an agile, accurately postured, undeterred, and lethal force capable of dedicating peerless effects from cooperation to conflict.

The priorities I have for the command are:

  • Guarantee the readiness and resiliency of the force to protect the homeland
  • Reinforce relationships with allies and partners to guarantee a free and open Indo-Pacific
  • Support our Airmen and families so they can be the best version of themselves and execute the mission
  • Coordinate and integrate with our service components in the theater

As we embrace our roles as Airmen, we must be ready to compete with near-peer adversaries.

We will do so by welcoming and employing perspectives from across the command, our joint team, and our international partners through exercises, engagements, exchanges and operations. We will continue to advance joint all domain capabilities to integrate with our teammates so we can respond to any challenge. We will also use innovation to analyze and solve the challenges of today and tomorrow, and adopt concepts and technologies that will drive our readiness, resiliency, and lethality. Finally, we will use our full spectrum of capabilities in all domains in coordination with our joint team and allies and partners for the security and stability of the theater now and into the future.

In closing, we live and work in a dynamic region that is critical to our national interests and those of our allies and partners. The work we do is serious and has implications far too great to not do it well, and that includes being culturally competent and operationally relevant. Joint warfighting takes a commitment to excellence and the ability to be ready to fight tonight. I have faith and confidence that all PACAF Airmen will continue to deliver unparalleled airpower to keep the Indo-Pacific open and free.