Dear Members and Friends,
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, along its piers, it is ship to ship and bow to bow as 42 ships from 11 countries add to the already 12 U.S. ships and 16 Los Angeles class submarines that are homeported here. On the same pier as our Navy's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ships are pairs of Japanese Aegis BMD ships, Korean Aegis BMD Ships, and Russian warships. The Japanese, Korean, and Russian ships join the 22 Pacific Ocean countries, in Pearl Harbor, for the month long exercise held every two years, with the exception of China, to participate with the U.S. Navy. RIMPAC is led by the headquarters of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) located in Hawaii. Most of the RIMPAC exercises will be conducted off the coast of the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai as air-breathing targets are engaged and floating target ships sunk. One or more U.S. Ships will be hosting each allied destroyer's squadron or battle group who are participating in these joint exercises. This Pacific flotilla, which began exercises in 1971, works to ease communication and interoperability of operational tactics for the common good to include disaster relief as witnessed in the past from hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis in the Pacific Rim.
The most important and fundamental piece of RIMPAC, at the core of this joint Pacific mission and demonstration, is the clear reinforcement of the international freedom of the seas in a Pacific Region that spans from the Indian to the Pacific Ocean.
These RIMPAC exercises also ride the momentum of a successful test of the SM-3 Block IB interceptor, launched from the Aegis BMD ship, the USS Lake Erie, here in Hawaii, and the successful joint exercises by the U.S., Japan, and Korea, off Inchon, Korea over the past week.
Aegis BMD capable destroyers with AN/SPY-1 radars are one of the most common ships in the Pacific amongst the countries that are participating and other Pacific Rim countries, such as Australia, are moving towards attaining this common capability
The U.S. and our Pacific allies' missile defense assets deployed in this region provide a strong deterrent influence on proliferating missile countries and entities in this Pacific region of the world. Missile defense helps open and widen multilateral relationships with Pacific Rim countries as it provides more stability in the international access and freedom of the seas, air, and space in this region.
Global economic growth and the United States economic recovery is dependent on a stable Asia region with their expanding markets to buy, sell, and trade goods and services.
These RIMPAC exercises help share the burden and cost with our allies in defending freedom, assuring stability and making the world a safer place.