Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Corps troops to turn focus on Pacific

Very interesting priorities articulated below  by the reporter from ADM Locklear during his visit to Ft Lewis (I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the reporter put them in that priority order because he has ADM Locklear saying "for instance, the climate change could make some coastal areas uninhabitable).  

But I take some exception to only thinking about the nuclear armed aspect of north Korea.  While from the "One Percent Doctrine" perspective north Korea's nuclear programs is a threat, I think the threats from north Korea are more, varied, and far worse than just the fact that it is currently a noncompliant, unsafe, nuclear experimenter trying to develop an nuclear capable ICBM for its own use and for export to Iran.  I fear war and regime collapse and those will only be made worse by the fact that it is trying to develop a nuclear capability but we should not myopically focus on its nuclear and missile program but instead try to understand the larger context and issues of north Korea and the range of threats the ROK-US Alliance faces.

But first I guess PACOM priorities are global warming, violent extremist organizations, international drug smuggling and human trafficking, pandemics and after we have those down then we can think about north Korea.


Published February 23, 2013

I Corps troops to turn focus on Pacific

The Defense Department’s highest ranking officer in the Pacific visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Friday to get battle-hardened Iraq and Afghanistan veterans thinking about new challenges as diverse as climate change and rising Asian powers.

Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear’s trip sent another signal in the Pentagon’s shift in focus from wars in the Middle East to emerging threats and neglected alliances in other parts of the world.

“We can’t stay Middle East-focused forever,” Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told Lewis-McChord’s I Corps.

The base supplied about 10,000 soldiers a year to Iraq and Afghanistan for much of the past decade. About 5,000 Lewis-McChord soldiers are in Afghanistan today, but most should be home by August.
With the wars ending, the Pentagon assigned new responsibilities to the I Corps under Locklear’s command. That means local soldiers will be expected to respond to humanitarian crises in South Asia, nurture relationships with allied armies and work to prevent large-scale conflicts from unfolding.
Locklear told I Corps soldiers that a complex Pacific environment calls on them to prepare for:

 • A warming planet causing the rise of sea levels and destabilizing Pacific countries.

 • Violent extremist groups, such as ones that have carried out terrorist attacks in India and the Philippines.

 • International narcotics smugglers and human traffickers.

 • Pandemics.

 • A nuclear-armed North Korea.

His forward-looking speech urged soldiers to study up on their new territory and to look at how the region might change in the near future. For instance, climate change could make some coastal areas uninhabitable and exacerbate natural disasters.

“The world is getting warmer,” he said. “When you potentially have millions of people impacted by weather and climate change, that’s going to have a potentially significant impact on security.”
So far, the Pentagon is protecting Lewis-McChord’s new task in the Pacific from budget cuts. Lewis-McChord soldiers over the next 12 months are on course to carry out exercises in Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and Japan.
(Continued at the link below)

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