USA: Pacific Fleet Commander Discusses Rebalance, Asia-Pacific Mission
Adm. Cecil D. Haney highlighted the U.S. Pacific Fleet mission and how the Navy is supporting the U.S. strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific during a keynote address Jan. 30 at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) West Conference.
Speaking to a group of hundreds, representing industry, academia, and the military services, among others, Haney, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, discussed his view of the Navy’s rebalancing effort in light of today’s challenges, include budgetary limitations.
The AFCEA West conference is designed to bring these diverse groups together to discuss issues and share ideas and solutions for the technological challenges of today and tomorrow, including those of the maritime domain.
During his remarks, Haney said the economic engine of the world depends on the freedom of the seas for the movement of goods.
“Security at sea means prosperity ashore and any disruption of security at sea will negatively affect the economies of nations; for decades the United States Navy’s presence in the Asia-Pacific region has helped set the conditions necessary for increased economic growth and prosperity,” said Haney. “Today, working with our friends, partners and allies in the region, we continue to maintain security at sea for prosperity ashore.”
In support of this effort, the Navy conducts more than 100 exercises and numerous training events annually with more than 20 nations to increase partnership capacity.
“Rebalancing also includes increased interactions with allies, partners and friends in the region,” Haney said.
High-end warfighting exercises, to include experimentation and validation of new tactics, techniques and procedures in operational concepts, are also part of the rebalancing effort, which has additionally delivered new technological capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. Among these are aircraft such as the Osprey, Growler, and P-8; the San Antonio class amphibious ships and Virginia class submarines, and the littoral combat ships such as the San Diego-based USS Freedom (LCS 1), which will deploy to Southeast Asia this spring, and which Haney visited later in the day to speak with the crew.
Haney said a key part of the rebalancing effort includes increasing intellectual understanding of the Asia-Pacific region. “This intellectual focus is as much a part of the strategy as it is the genesis of it,” he said.
With the government currently operating under the Continuing Appropriations Resolution 2013, Haney briefly touched on the Navy’s short-term financial situation, which provides funding through March 27, 2013.
“The continuing resolution does not allow us to transfer funds to other accounts into our operation accounts to address our shortfalls,” said Haney. “We’re already looking at and working on some cuts, obviously reduced travel and overhead, reduced participation in some of our public events…deferring some maintenance in the third quarter.”
Following the conference, Haney toured USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), in addition to Freedom. He spoke with Sailors of both ships about the future of the LCS in the Asia-Pacific region.
“When I look at this unique platform and its capabilities with its shallow draft and its unique payload volume, it will bring new chapters and verses to what we’re able to do with our surface fleet in the Western Pacific,” said Haney.
Naval Today Staff, February 4, 2013; Image: US Navy