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USARPAC, PACAF Host Press Conference in Guam

Gen. Charles A. Flynn, the U.S. Army Pacific commanding general, and Lt. Gen. Jon T. Thomas, the Pacific Air Forces deputy commander, spoke with Indo-Pacific region news media members, discussing the military exercises, Forager 21 and the Pacific Iron, joint interoperability, and the strategic importance of Guam as a joint power projection platform for the Indo-Pacific Region during a 30-minute press conference here at Andersen Air Force Base, Aug. 1, 2021.


“I’d like to take a few minutes up front to thank (Guam) Gov. (Lou Leon) Guerrero and Lt. Gov. (Josh) Tenorio for their leadership and to the people of Guam and their on-going support of the joint force exercises and training that we have going on here in Guam,” said Gen. Charles A. Flynn, the U.S. Army Pacific commanding general.

The USARPAC CG and Lt. Gen. Jon T. Thomas, the Pacific Air Forces deputy commander, spoke with Indo-Pacific region news media members, discussing the military exercises, Forager 21 and the Pacific Iron, joint interoperability, and the strategic importance of Guam as a joint power projection platform for the Indo-Pacific Region during a 30-minute press conference here at Andersen Air Force Base, Aug. 1, 2021.

“The United States Army Pacific Command, America’s theater Army here in the region, is dedicated to preserving peace and prosperity of the people in Guam and across (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands),” Flynn said. “We want to maintain strong relationships and we want to build healthy communities together.

“We are demonstrating our commitment here to the defense of Guam, to the defense of the Nation, and to the values and the principles inherent in a free and open Pacific,” Flynn continued. “This is the foundation of why we conduct exercises like we have today across the Pacific.”

“We are demonstrating our commitment through three ways,” Flynn noted. “We are conducting strategic deployment of our forces into the region, followed by operational maneuver. We’re command and controlling those forces from strategic locations. We’re integrating and rehearsing joint all domain operations and then we are demonstrating the capabilities by conducting rehearsals and building readiness with all of our forces. We are doing that in concert with U.S. Pacific Air Force forces. We are in lock-step with our allies and partners across the region.”

Exercise Forager 21 is a key supporting exercise for Defender Pacific, as is Pacific Iron.

“Pacific Iron is our largest and most comprehensive exercise to date to exercise what we call ‘agile combat employment,’” said Thomas, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Air Forces commander, Gen. (Kenneth S.) Wilsbach. “We are exercising the ability to disperse a large force to multiple locations and then to operate in intense pace and tempo over a two-week period. This small, agile footprint across multiple locations is how we will conduct operations when the situation may require it and we can do it today at scale.

“If you are an ally or a part of the United States here in the Indo-Pacific we know that you are watching,” he continued. “U.S. forces can and will be resilient despite attempts to counter our advantages. If you are a potential adversary that seeks to prevent a free and open Indo-Pacific we hope you are watching too.”

The joint training events provides a unique opportunity for service members and commands to test and refine their individual and collective skills as part of the joint force.

“Our ability to operate as a joint force at the significant ranges that are required here in the Indo-Pacific to produce decisive effects in all domains is an asymmetric advantage that we possess as a joint force,” Thomas said.

“Exercise Forager is a series of experiments that we are doing within Pacific Iron and Pacific Defender,” added Flynn. “Those experiments are about the innovation of pulling together the Air Force’s agile combat employment concept and the Army’s future operating concept of multi-domain operations.”

“The defensive and offensive capabilities together that’s why we are out here doing this right now, to learn, to understand, to grow, and to succeed and fail in some of these things that are bringing current capabilities, testing future concepts and capabilities together,” he continued. “The value of doing this together is a demonstration of the commitment we have to one another’s current forces and future operating concepts and trying to bring them together… It’s exactly the kind of laboratory that we need to be operating in to bring these two concepts together.”

“When the Airmen and Soldiers were moving across the Pacific, they weren’t able to operate in all five domains,” said Thomas, describing Pacific theater during World War II. “Cyber didn’t exist. The work that we are doing across the multi-domain task force, as well as the capabilities Air Force and the other services bring in that domain, that’s definitely new.”

“We have opponents who believe they can stop us through saturation attacks’” continued Thomas. “We have opponents who think they can interrupt our command and control. We have to be able to develop and exercise now at scale.”

“The threats here in this region are numerous,” Flynn added. “To just focus solely on one adversary would be inadequate. We actually have to prepare for multiple threats. Being able to conduct multiple operations, where we are practicing and we are rehearsing and we are learning in the environment, in the conditions that we are most likely to operate in, is what is really valuable about the training and rehearsing has on everybody out here.”

For more information, photos and stories about Forager 21, visit the public web page: www.dvidshub.net/feature/ExerciseForager21, or follow America’s First Corps on Twitter @I_Corps, or on Facebook @1STCORPS, or on Instagram @I_CORPS. Media queries can be directed to the Forager 21 Media Operations Center at icorpspublicaffairs@gmail.com or by calling 253-948-8413

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