Unlike other parts of the world, peace and stability prevail in the Asia Pacific. This isn’t happenstance. It takes collective commitment by peaceful nations.
The recent Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) training exercise is essential to building a stable foundation for regional peace and stability. It is among the essential elements that contribute towards building trust and commitment with U.S. allies and partners.
Twenty-two nations, from the Atlantic to South and Central America and throughout the Pacific joined with India, Canada and the U.S. in the recently concluded 2014 RIMPAC training exercise to improve interoperability of military competencies and enhance cooperation among peaceful nations. Participating nations gain invaluable training that will aid in deterring armed conflicts, resolving international disputes peacefully, and ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC also provides training in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, actions aimed at restoring communities devastated by natural disasters and enabling speedy economic recovery.
To demonstrate the far-reaching scope of RIMPAC, this year’s exercise included units from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States – 22 nations in all. There were 49 surface ships led by the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and an estimated 25,000 personnel.
This year marked the first time hospital ships participated in RIMPAC. Two hospital ships, the “Peace Ark” from China and USNS Mercy from the U.S., were used to conduct intensive training in medical personnel exchanges, military medicine exchanges, and medical evacuation and mass casualty training to highlight the valuable capability hospital ships bring to the Pacific.
The training syllabus demonstrates the diversity of training exercises. It included sharing of military medicine, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response, counter-piracy exercises, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal training, and diving and salvage operations, in addition to military amphibious operations, gunnery and missile training, and anti-submarine and air defense exercises.
U.S. Vice Admiral Kenneth Floyd, Commander of the U.S. Third Fleet based in San Diego, who led this year’s RIMPAC, commented “The relationships that are forged at RIMPAC span oceans and years…a unique opportunity for us to get to know each other, to train together and provide some level of trust when we are out on the high seas together in the future.”
Royal Australian Navy Rear Admiral Simon Cullen, serving as the Deputy Commander of RIMPAC, commented that the training exercise helped international participants hone their skills that are crucial to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. “This was an opportunity for the participants to take advantage of the excellent training infrastructure and ranges that are available in the Hawaiian Islands.” Cullen said. “It enabled individual units to conduct training that they could not otherwise have in their own waters.”
Hundreds of training exercises of smaller scope are held annually across the Asia Pacific. The exercises are essential to preserving regional security and range from improving military capabilities of participating nations, to improving interoperability between combined forces, to facilitating rapid response to natural disasters.
These training events ensure that peace and stability prevail throughout the Asia Pacific, and that the region remains the dominant force in the global economy.