By Rear Adm. Robert P. Girrier
Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, U.S. Pacific Fleet
This week, some 18,000 personnel from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force will participate in exercise Valiant Shield in the air and seas of the Mariana Islands Range Complex as well as ashore in Guam and Tinian.
As an important U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) high-end Joint warfighting exercise, Valiant Shield will demonstrate the ability of U.S. forces to defend our national interests and, when necessary, win decisively against any adversary. Participating PACOM Joint forces include two aircraft carriers, their supporting strike groups and air wings, more than 20 surface ships and submarines, Marine units, eight B-52 Stratofortress aircraft, Army missile defense systems, and more than 200 aircraft.
This impressive team of Joint warfighters will work together to sharpen our collective ability to respond to any contingency where it matters, when it matters.
This year’s exercise will be the fifth in the series that first began in 2006 and is aimed at developing a “pre-integrated” Joint force built from habitual relationships. This force builds interoperable and complementary cross-domain capabilities and benefits from realistic, shared training.
Valiant Shield ensures we are prepared to respond rapidly to crisis across the full spectrum of operations, to include high-end armed conflict, when necessary. It enables real-world proficiency in sustaining our Joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking, and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land, and in cyberspace in response to a broad range of mission areas. It leverages our continuing innovation efforts to test emerging concepts like Air-Sea Battle that ensure Joint freedom of action in the global commons.
Working together as a Joint force and honing our collective tactics, techniques, and procedures not only demonstrates the ability to project power, but is essential to ensuring peace and stability here in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and around the globe. Credible combat forces ensure we are ready to “fight tonight” while assuring our allies, partners, and friends that we stand ready and capable of delivering on our commitment to security.
“Warfighting first” is our foremost tenet here at the U.S. Pacific Fleet and we work hard every day to ensure we can operate as part of an effective, fully-integrated Joint team. Exercises like Valiant Shield make it clear the U.S. military is able to operate in any contested environment as a strong, unified Joint force.