Security Cooperation and the Pacific Rebalance

There is a good reason why the top line of Pacific Air Forces’ strategy is set aside for theater security cooperation, one of five “lines of operation” that the command carries out every day, said Brig. Gen. Steven Basham, PACAF’s director of strategy, plans, and programs, at AFA’s Pacific Air & Space Symposium in Los Angeles. “It’s the basis for promoting stability and security across the [area of responsibility],” he told the audience during the Nov. 22 panel discussion that he led on TSC. This cooperation, ranging from senior leader engagements to aviator exchanges and exercises, grows PACAF’s combat capability while improving integration with allies, said the panelists. Col. Marc Caudill, PACAF’s head of exercises and readiness, said regularly scheduled exercises have tangible benefits in operations, noting that PACAF executes 19 engagements every year for US Pacific Command. He cited, for example, Exercise Balikatan, an annual event in the Philippines. “It has really helped us propel to success in Operation Damayan. Without it, we would have been starting near ground zero in many ways,” he said. Damayan is the US military’s ongoing humanitarian relief mission in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.