The Pacific push: New rotation, thousands more soldiers heading to the region

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A soldier with the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade waits for the radio call before an Avenger air defense system engagement during the Rim of the Pacific exercise 2018 at Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands, Hawaii, in July. (Capt. Rachael Jeffcoat/Army)

The Army is growing its force in the Pacific region, keeping rotational forces there longer with plans to increase the number of soldiers they send, and soon beginning a new division-strength rotation with thousands of soldiers going for short-term deployments.

And they’re not going to Korea.

They are sweeping to the South China Sea and surrounding areas, all in an effort to expand the Army’s presence in containing a resurging China and multiply forces in a hard-to-reach area.

The soldiers in those units are reaching back into the Army’s recent past. They’re finding their way on missions that look much different than past deployments that involved vehicle patrols around remote bases and acting as police for tribal conflicts.

Instead, they’re manning and moving missile defense systems that scoot around and between small island strongholds, throwing wires to run communications across vast expanses of ocean or opening ports at waterfronts so that munitions, food and medicine can reach those in the direct fight should China’s moves escalate into violence.

And that role differs not only from the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and special operations forces-led counterterrorism missions of recent years. It will be a different role than the Army performs anywhere else, and it might be a model for the future of near-peer fights.

read more at Army Times


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