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NEWS | May 27, 2021

Army looks to increase awareness of maritime domain in Indo-Pacific

By Maj. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, the deputy commander of U.S. Army Pacific U.S. Army Pacific

WASHINGTON -- Despite the Army’s primary focus on land, leveraging the maritime domain in the Indo-Pacific can still have lasting effects, the deputy commander of U.S. Army Pacific said last week.

Maritime operations can range from high-end military conflict to protecting sovereign territories from economic incursion, said Maj. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga.

“The maritime domain awareness challenge is something the Army and the land components need to address seriously for the collective group of individual nations, armies and the land components,” he added.

Braga was among military leaders who took part in the virtual Indo-Pacific Landpower Conference from May 18-19. During the event, 22 militaries joined Army leaders, representatives from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and academia partners during a series of discussions on the challenges of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.

One discussion revolved around the Army’s role in helping allies and partners take on other missions that fall into a broad area called the gray zone.

In today’s world, nontraditional security threats, particularly in areas like cyber and climate change, have become more common. Known as the gray zone, these situations do not come with clear threats and are generally handled by nonmilitary individuals.

The Indo-Pacific region has some of the most impacted nations by extreme weather, rising sea levels and ocean warming acidification, said retired Brig. Gen. James Hirai, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies deputy director, who also moderated the discussion.

“The Indo-Pacific is becoming a site for accelerating competition, long-standing issues of territorial rights, along with a tendency to prolong gray zone situations [leading to intensified] regional military modernization,” said Maj. Gen. Robert C. Dauz, vice commander of the Philippine Army.

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