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U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Steven R. Rudder, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, participates in a global video teleconference during the Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium 21.2 at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, Oct. 6. This iteration of PALS brought senior leaders of allied and partner militaries together to discuss Marine Corps Force Design 2030, expeditionary advanced base operations, intermediate force capabilities, and ways to improve interoperability between partners within the Indo-Pacific region. A total of 20 allies and partners from Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, and North America participated in the symposium. PALS was conducted virtually for the second time to comply with COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Danny Nateras

Pacific Amphibious Leaders Collaborate on Force Modernization

8 Oct 2021 | Cpl. Sasha Pierre-Louis U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

Lt. Gen. Steven R. Rudder, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, hosted a virtual Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium with representatives of 20 allies and partners from North America, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America, October 6.

The symposium brought together senior leaders from marine forces, naval infantries and littoral militaries to discuss elements of Marine Corps Force Design 2030; the Marine Corps’ concept called Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations; and non-lethal capabilities – now called intermediate force capabilities – that provide flexible response options in the maritime domain.

U.S. Marine Corps Commandant, Gen. David H. Berger, provided the keynote address via video, where he spoke about the Marine Corps’ current modernization effort in response to the changing operating environment.

“In our view, Force Design 2030 is really the centerpiece of a broader, systemic modernization effort across our Marine Corps, one that improves more than just our equipment and warfighting formations, but also our systems for personnel management, and training and education,” said Berger. “We need new capabilities that are tailor-made for competition. And we need new employment concepts that are consistent with our values, and that complement the competencies of our allies and partners.”

The keynote address was followed by a detailed brief and discussion on Force Design and the supporting EABO concept.

“In our view, Force Design 2030 is really the centerpiece of a broader, systemic modernization effort across our Marine Corps, one that improves more than just our equipment and warfighting formations, but also our systems for personnel management, and training and education." Gen. David H. Berger, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant

“With Force Design, we’re pursuing new capabilities that improve our contributions to naval expeditionary warfare,” said Rudder. “We’re acquiring ground-based, anti-ship missiles for sea control and sea denial. We’re building small, distributed, and highly maneuverable teams to persist inside contested maritime areas. We’re investing in unmanned sensors that feed naval, joint, and combined networks so we can better monitor, track, deter, and target adversary forces.”

PALS is held annually by MARFORPAC. COVID-19 mitigations guided the decision to conduct the event virtually for a second time this year. The program’s objective is to facilitate meaningful dialogue on key aspects of maritime and amphibious operations, capability development, crisis response, and interoperability.

“The Australian Defence Force welcomes every opportunity to engage in open and wide-ranging dialogue with like-minded partners across the amphibious community,” said Brig. Gen. Chris R. Smith, Director of General Land Operations, Australian Army. “The Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium is such an opportunity and this year’s symposium was particularly informative and substantive.”

Engagements such as PALS create opportunities for these leaders to interact and collaborate on common challenges and opportunities. This interaction leads to better training, enhanced interoperability between security partners, and a safer and more secure Indo-Pacific.

“PALS is a place to share doctrine and tactics among the amphibious forces in the Indo-Pacific region, to design amphibious forces that will lead in the future battlefield,” said Brig. Gen. Il-suk Ju, Force Planning Director, Republic of Korea Marine Corps.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy identifies the country’s network of allies and partners as a force multiplier for achieving peace, deterring regional aggression, and increasing interoperability. PALS reinforces the nation’s commitment to established alliances and partnerships by deepening relationships across the region.

“The United States’ network of allies and partners is our greatest strength,” Rudder said. “It deters our adversaries, and provides us an advantage that other competitors in the region do not have.”