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View From The Top

America’s Corps: continuing momentum, building bonds

Published: 12:38PM April 17th, 2014

Over the past year, I Corps has made incredible strides and laid the foundation for continued success in the Asia-Pacific region. As we look toward the future, we will continue this momentum to ensure that the “Team of Teams” is globally-responsive, regionally engaged and capable of worldwide deployment. In order to do this, I Corps will focus on the following four priorities in 2014: Invest in the Pacific; Leader Development; Trained, Ready and Resilient Formations; and Build Partner Capacity.

Invest in the pacific

In this historically sea-based theater, the following statistics show why the Asia-Pacific region is so important to U.S. national security.

• The world’s three largest economies – U.S., China and Japan.

• The world’s four most populous countries – China, India, U.S. and Indonesia.

• Five of seven mutual defense treaties – Australia, Philippines, Thailand, Japan and S. Korea.

• Seven of the world’s 10 largest armies – China, India, N. Korea, U.S., S. Korea, Vietnam and Burma.

• Twenty-two of the 27 nations in the region have an Army officer leading their military.
Given the broadening role of land forces, I Corps is uniquely organized and equipped to provide the necessary sustaining capabilities for the long haul. In recent months, the corps has grown significantly. Our formations now include the 7th Infantry Division and the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord; the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; I Corps (Forward) at Camp Zama in Japan; and the United States Army-Alaska brigade combat teams at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright.

Our new structure provides considerable depth and options to support the U.S. Pacific Commander’s intent to improve stability in the region by promoting security cooperation, responding to contingencies and deterring aggression. Our specialized capabilities and critical enablers such as engineering, civil affairs, battlefield surveillance, medical and logistics provide tremendous opportunities to contribute to the joint force.

The Asia-Pacific region comprises about half of the Earth’s surface. Despite the immense maritime geography, the ability to operate on the land domain and influence the human domain, through the projection of land power, is vital to maintaining security and stability in the region.

Leader development

If there is one thing that remains constant, it is that the Pacific Rim is one of the world’s most dynamic and complex regions. More than 3,000 dialects are spoken.

Threats of pirates, terrorists, drug/human trafficking, natural disasters and the proliferation of weapons are constantly on the radar. It is because of these challenges that leader development is a top priority. Our focus in the corps is on the operational domain, and it is here where leaders undergo the bulk of their development. The myriad of complexities requires adaptive and agile leaders and creative and critical thinkers capable of operating in any environment and under any condition. The investment starts with our enhanced leader training programs and home station culminating training events and continues with military-to-military training exercises and shaping engagements with our allies and partners.

The unpredictable nature of human conflict requires leaders to not only lead in combat, but to understand the operational and strategic environment. The goal is for our officers, noncommissioned officers and civilians to possess the intellectual capacity to understand the complex contemporary security environment in order to better lead in the joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational environment.

Trained, ready and resilient

Our advantage is the readiness and resiliency of the force. As we work to build relationships with our Asia-Pacific partners, we must be able to demonstrate this advantage. We can no longer attain the highest level of readiness, only to put our capabilities on the shelf and wait to be used in the event of war.

As the operational force for the Pacific, our Soldiers and units must be ready to support all contingencies from humanitarian assistance/disaster response missions to setting the conditions in theater to deter enemy threats and execute decisive action on behalf of USPACOM. A key component of our training strategy will be the integration among and between components in support of the Army Total Force, and this includes supporting collective training integration opportunities with the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.

While our Combat Training Centers remain world class platforms, fiscal realities lead us to create solution sets in lieu of CTC rotations. Providing ready and responsive forces to meet USPACOM Theater requirements begins here at home, through live, virtual, and constructive training to efficiently and effectively develop Soldier, leader and unit competencies. Build partner capacity

Over the next several months, I Corps units will see more opportunities at the tactical level to work with our military partners in theater. Regional armies will remain significant actors while U.S. land forces continue to be the linchpin for military engagement.

Through security force assistance missions, we will take on possibly the most important aspect of being a regionally aligned operational corps - strengthening partner militaries. Strong land force partnerships have been and will remain vitally important in this part of the world. First Corps’ headquarters will participate in two major training exercises in 2014 — Ulchi Freedom Guardian in South Korea and Yama Sakura in Japan. Both of these exercises are designed to improve interoperability, strengthen alliances, and develop a mutual understanding with our partner nations. Building our credibility begins with trust and confidence; however, we cannot attain these two if we don’t engage. The 21st century requires nations to work together and to meet common challenges.

We must have a consistent presence in the Asia-Pacific region if we are to achieve enduring outcomes with unity and purpose.

The Chief of Staff of the Army has said that our 21st Century role has three pillars: prevent conflict through credibility, shape the international environment by enabling allies, and win decisively when called. I Corps is working very closely with U.S. Army Pacific Command to set the theater and to better align force posture in order to execute these three pillars effectively.

The Pacific-focused strategy has increased the importance of military relationships and activities. America’s Corps is well positioned to keep building on these relationships, and provide a more robust bulwark against threats or efforts to undermine regional peace, prosperity and stability, now and in the future.