An unsinkable aircraft carrier: Andersen as a wartime platform is key to security and deterrence in the Pacific region
By Master Sgt Arthur Webb, 36 OG Public Affairs, deployed
/ Published July 20, 2007
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (PACAF) -- In May 2007, the U.S. Air Force deployed 18 F-16s, six B-52s and four KC-135s in support of Theater Security Package and Continuous Bomber Presence operations to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam to underscore the U.S. commitment to regional partners and U.S. security obligations.
Force packages of fighters and tankers are deployed throughout the Western Pacific in Guam, Japan and South Korea as part of U.S. Pacific Command's TSP in the Western Pacific, and bombers - B-52s, B-2s or B-1s - are deployed to Guam as part of PACOM's CBP. The current deployment of aircraft at Guam is one of the largest footprints in the history of the air force's build-up here, maintaining U.S. deterrence and warfighting capabilities against possible threats in Asia.
As part of continuing force posture adjustments, the United States routinely deploys forces to the Western Pacific to maintain a credible deterrent posture and presence for the region and demonstrate a continued U.S. commitment to fulfilling security responsibilities throughout the Western Pacific.
The U.S. has a number of important relationships in the Pacific region, and the U.S Pacific Command has taken significant steps to strengthen its operational presence and interoperability with various partners. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) leaders hope these deployments send a clear message to any potential adversary that the U.S. is serious about security and stability in the region and are not indented to be viewed as aggressive in nature.
A result of these rotations is the enhancement of U.S. influence and expansion of U.S. operational access to train forward-deployed and forward-based combat forces, and increased interoperability with coalition partners to support potential efforts across the spectrum of military operations.
According to officials at PACAF, Guam is an ideal location for projecting air power in support of this transformation. It is strategically located, has impressive fuel and munitions storage capability, quality Airmen and civilians, and strong community support. These forward-basing assets give PACOM the capability to respond to any contingency, anywhere in the theater in minimal time.
The future of Guam also holds additions in aircraft and infrastructure as the base is a strategically located forward operating base and a linchpin in the Pacific, in terms of its flexibility to conduct operations for Pacific Command, according to Brig. Gen. Douglas Owens, commander 36th Wing, which is the host wing for deployed operations here at Andersen.
Every TSP activity PACOM undertakes will enhance the joint/combined capabilities and communicates the intent to assure friends, or dissuade, deter, or defeat potential enemies. It will also strengthen the military-to-military cooperation and prepare PACOM forces and their prospective regional partners for the next challenge.