Roughead Outlines Future For Pacific

Roughead Outlines Future For Pacific
May 3rd, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Roughead Outlines Future For Pacific

Roughead Outlines Future For Pacific
Honolulu Advertiser
May 2, 2007
By William Cole, Advertiser Military Writer
PEARL HARBOR — The new submarine USS Hawaii will be commissioned Saturday on the East Coast, and "the bias will continue to be toward the Pacific and Pearl Harbor" as decisions are made on where to base other subs, the outgoing commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet said.
Adm. Gary Roughead said as the new Virginia-class attack submarines continue to come on line, "you are going to see the numbers in substantial amounts out here in Pearl Harbor." The USS Hawaii, the first of those, will arrive in 2009.
After nearly two years in the same bunker office that was once occupied by Adm. Chester Nimitz, the 55-year-old Roughead is heading to the East Coast to become U.S. Fleet Forces commander.
On Tuesday, Adm. Robert F. Willard will assume command of the region that spans more than half the globe and includes more than 170 ships and submarines, 1,300 aircraft and 100,800 sailors and reservists.
Willard arrives at a time of less routine and more flexibility by the Navy to rapidly surge its forces, and more of a focus on the Pacific.
"We really have moved our naval forces around the Pacific over the past two years in ways that we haven't done in the past," Roughead said in an interview yesterday.
"We who live here really understand the energy that's taking place in the Pacific today — the trade and the increasing prosperity, the emergence of the economies here."
The trade that flows between the United States and the Pacific is 3 1/2 times the trade between the U.S. and Europe, he said.
The Navy this summer will send three aircraft carriers to waters off Guam for large-scale exercises in a demonstration of U.S. sea power. Last year's version of "Valiant Shield," also with three carriers, represented the biggest assemblage of flattops in the western Pacific in 30 years.
With U.S. concerns over North Korea, interceptor missiles capable of shooting down ballistic missiles are being placed on 18 Aegis destroyers and cruisers. Sixteen will be in the Pacific.
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington is scheduled to replace the aging Kitty Hawk in Japan in 2008. The air wing of about 85 aircraft will change out in Hawai'i, leaving the Kitty Hawk and moving to the George Washington, Roughead said.
The Navy also is looking at basing an amphibious-ready group in Hawai'i centered around a carrier-like ship that carries helicopters, Harrier jump jets and Marines.
Roughead only would say "we're always looking at where our forces should be," but added that "amphibious ships are very valuable to us in the Pacific."
The USS Peleliu, an amphibious assault ship, is scheduled to embark on a humanitarian mission to Southeast Asia this summer to build clinics and dig wells. Pacific Fleet last year sent the hospital ship Mercy out on a medical mission that treated 61,000 people.
"That had never happened before," Roughead said.

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