Army Pacific Pathways: Comprehensive Assessment and Planning Needed to Capture Benefits Relative to Costs and Enhance Value for Participating Units
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON DC United States
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In accordance with the shift in U.S. strategy and rebalance of military forces to the Asia-Pacific region that was first set forth in 2011, the Army has increased its presence in the Pacific by about 30,000 soldiers and civilians, and U.S. Army Pacific USARPACa component command of U.S. Pacific Commandhas turned its focus toward rebuilding its expeditionary readiness and deployment capabilities. USARPAC identified its exercise program with partner nationswhich according to USARPAC had atrophied for almost a decade due to force requirements in Iraq and Afghanistanas both a vehicle for innovation and an opportunity for U.S. Army forces to re-engage in the region through a more robust presence. To this end, USARPAC launched the Pacific Pathways initiative in 2014, combining multiple pre-existing exercises with partner nations into integrated operationseach operation referred to as a Pathwayfor the purposes of enhancing the readiness of participating forces, strengthening relationships with allies, and providing a crisis response option to the combatant commander. Additionally, according to USARPAC and I Corps officials, Pacific Pathways is intended, in part, to serve as a rehearsal for how the Army may operate in the Pacific during a contingency, including how it integrates with joint and international partners and moves its forces. As of September 2016, USARPAC had completed six Pacific Pathway operations to date, and it planned to complete a seventh in October 2016. Each Pathway operation deploys a battalion-sized task forceor about 400 to 900 personnelfor approximately 90 days to conduct a series of exercises. The capabilities of these Pacific Pathways task forces hereinafter referred to as the task forces are tailored to the requirements of the exercises that occur within the Pathway operation, and are structured around a brigade combat team headquarters and a maneuver battalion.