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Old 04-22-2018, 03:16 PM
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Arrow USPACOM nominee: Bolster forces in Pacific - NAVY

USPACOM nominee: Bolster forces in Pacific - NAVY
By WILLIAM COLE | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (Tribune News) | Published: 4-22-18

Photo: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., talks with Adm. Philip S. Davidson, center, nominated to be commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, center, and Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, nominated to be commander of the U.S. Northern Command, before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, 4-17-18 -JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES
Photo Link below: ttps://!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_900/image.jpg

China “is no longer a rising power but an arrived great power and peer competitor,” and the U.S. should respond by adding military forces in the Pacific, the likely next leader of the U.S. forces in the Pacific said.

Adm. Phil Davidson, nominee to lead U.S. Pacific Command at Camp H.M. Smith and the current head of the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command on the East Coast, also noted ballistic missile challenges from North Korea and a militarily modernizing Russia.

Davidson testified on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee and is expected to be approved to lead the command that covers about half the globe.

Davidson said in written responses to Senate questions that the U.S. has the capability today to deter North Korean aggression, but given where the North’s missiles may be in five years, “we must continue to explore, improve and resource our entire missile defense capabilities.”

He said he supports improvements including a planned “homeland defense” radar for Hawaii, the purchase of additional ground-based interceptors, “and a detailed study that ascertains the efficacy of positioning interceptors in Hawaii.”

On Saturday, North Korea announced it was stopping nuclear and missile tests.

Davidson testified that he is increasingly concerned about China.

“China has undergone a rapid military modernization over the last three decades and is approaching parity in a number of critical areas; there is no guarantee that the United States would win a future conflict with China,” Davidson said.

The U.S. still maintains “significant advantages” in quality of personnel and training and ability to plan and integrate forces. To prevent a situation in which China is more likely to win a conflict, Davidson said the U.S. “must resource” high-technology capabilities, preserve its network of allies and partners, and continue to recruit and train high-quality service members.

Pacific Command is “heavily dependent” on high-end warfare capabilities including stealth aircraft, munitions capable of breaching China’s defenses, and submarine dominance, he said.

Davidson said the U.S. should continue to invest in next-generation capabilities such as long-range hypersonic missiles “while simultaneously recognizing that China is already weaponizing space and cyber.”

Pacific Command has only “about a quarter” of what it needs in the region for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. New National Defense Strategy priorities “make it clear that the Indo-Pacific will require additional capability and capacity from all services,” he said.

Davidson said he would closely examine the number and types of ships and infrastructure to support them in the Pacific.

Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., trains, certifies and provides combat-ready Navy forces. Davidson’s official biography says the surface warfare officer “has deployed across the globe in frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.”

Davidson, who was asked by Hawaii U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono about his experience to take on the job, said he had two tours on the U.S. Pacific Fleet staff, operational deployments to the region, and engagement with Southwest and South Asia during time spent with the U.S. State Department.

He would replace Adm. Harry Harris in the Pacific’s top military job. Harris is retiring and expected to become the next ambassador to Australia. A confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

About 375,000 U.S. military and civilian personnel are assigned to Pacific Command. Its subordinate Pacific Fleet, which is based at Pearl Harbor, has 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft and more than 130,000 sailors and civilians.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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