Far-flung US Military Flies Flag in Indo-Pacific

March 19th, 2023 - by Bill Dorman / Hawaii Public Radio & Hawaii Star-Advertiser

Busy Period for US Military in Indo-Pacific
Bill Dorman / Hawaii Public Radio

HONOLULU (March 14, 2023) — This is another active week for the US military in what the Pentagon calls the “Indo-Pacific.”

Military exercises are back on a big scale in the Asia Pacific. While forces are routinely operating through the region, it’s been a busy period for multi-lateral exercises.

In Northeast Asia this week, the US and South Korea are conducting their largest joint drills in five years.

For 11 days, these will run the gamut from tabletop exercises and computer simulations to field maneuvers including amphibious landings.

North Korea launched a missile test before the maneuvers began.

In Southeast Asia, the US just wrapped up another training operation in Thailand.

“Cobra Gold” is an annual exercise that was scaled down in size during the pandemic.

This year’s version was the largest in more than a decade — including more than 7,000 personnel from 30 countries. Nearly 6,000 of them came from the US.

A smaller but more focused exercise got underway with Army forces in the Philippines this week.

Three weeks of movements will involve more than 3,000 US and Filipino soldiers taking part in live-fire drills involving small arms, artillery and mortar.

A senior Philippine military officer told Reuters the scenarios will “involve the defense of the Philippine archipelago from potential foreign aggressors.”

A Major New Drydock at Pearl Harbor
Hawaii Star-Advertiser

HONOLULU (March 15, 2023) — The sometimes love-hate relationship between Hawaii and the US military just got some love, in the form of a $2.8 billion task order to build a new shipyard drydock.

The Navy’s contract to joint venture Dragados/Hawaiian Dredging/Orion JV will be for a new Dry Dock 5, a five-year project to replace Dry Dock 3 at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. It’s part of the US $21 billion Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program, which aims to upgrade shipyards over 20 years, focused on infrastructure to support nuclear-powered subs and warships.

Pearl Harbor shipyard is a key logistics hub for the Navy in the Pacific, and Hawaii’s top industrial employer with 6,000-plus employees. This project will float many boats.

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