RIMPAC — World’s Largest International Maritime Exercise Gets Underway

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) — Mil­i­tary lead­ers from 22 nations for­mal­ly launched Rim of the Pacif­ic Exer­cise (RIMPAC) 2012, July 2. RIMPAC is host­ed bien­ni­al­ly by U.S. Pacif­ic Fleet in and around Hawaii.

Adm. Cecil Haney, com­man­der of U.S. Pacif­ic Fleet, address­es the media at the open­ing press con­fer­ence announc­ing the start of Rim of the Pacif­ic (RIMPAC) exer­cise 2012.
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U.S. and inter­na­tion­al speak­ers at the open­ing press con­fer­ence includ­ed Adm. Cecil D. Haney, Com­man­der of the U.S. Pacif­ic Fleet; Vice Adm. Ger­ald R. Bea­man, Com­man­der of the U.S. Third Fleet; Japan Mar­itime Self Defense Force Rear Adm. Fumiyu­ki Kita­gawa, Com­man­der of Escort Flotil­la Three; and Roy­al Cana­di­an Navy Rear Adm. Ron Lloyd, Chief of Force Devel­op­ment.

“The theme of capa­ble, adapt­able part­ners res­onates here in what is the world’s largest inter­na­tion­al mar­itime exer­cise,” Haney said.

Haney said 22 nations, 40 ships, six sub­marines, more than 200 air­craft and 25,000 peo­ple are par­tic­i­pat­ing in RIMPAC 2012. The exer­cise is designed to enhance the tac­ti­cal capa­bil­i­ties of par­tic­i­pat­ing units in major aspects of mar­itime oper­a­tions at sea. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd in the series, which began in 1971. It is the world’s largest inter­na­tion­al mar­itime exer­cise.

RIMPAC, as well as the coop­er­a­tion and inter­op­er­abil­i­ty it fos­ters, “is crit­i­cal to ensure the safe­ty of the sea lanes and secu­ri­ty of the world’s oceans,” said Haney, who was flanked by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the par­tic­i­pat­ing nations dur­ing a pier­side press con­fer­ence.

Haney not­ed that this year’s RIMPAC is unique with a num­ber of exer­cise firsts:

— The naval and air func­tion­al com­po­nent com­mands in RIMPAC are being led by inter­na­tion­al part­ners;
— Includes a human­i­tar­i­an assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) com­po­nent;
— The U.S. Navy will demon­strate its “Great Green Fleet” approach with some sur­face war­ships and air­craft func­tion­ing on bio­fu­el blends

Bea­man, said the HA/DR por­tion of the exer­cise is a five-day exer­cise that involves Hawaii dis­as­ter respon­ders as well as more med­ical per­son­nel than have par­tic­i­pat­ed in past RIM­PACs. He also high­light­ed the inter­na­tion­al lead­er­ship roles through­out the exer­cise.

“It is the first time in the RIMPAC series that the com­po­nent com­man­ders are led by oth­er than U.S. lead­ers,” said Bea­man. “It’s a sign of where we have come with this exer­cise and we’re excit­ed, each and every one of us to be here and to car­ry out RIMPAC 2012.”

Kita­gawa, of Japan, took a moment to rec­og­nize the growth in the inter­na­tion­al par­tic­i­pa­tion over pre­vi­ous years.

“I am very glad to wel­come sev­en coun­tries of new part­ners, and the oppor­tu­ni­ty for us to train togeth­er,” said Kita­gawa.

Kita­gawa also not­ed that this is the 17th RIMPAC Japan is par­tic­i­pat­ing in, and he expressed his grat­i­tude to all of the nations par­tic­i­pat­ing in RIMPAC for the assis­tance they pro­vid­ed to Japan in the wake of the March 2011 earth­quake and tsuna­mi.

“Con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion in RIMPAC and reg­u­lar deploy­ments in the Pacif­ic Rim also allows us to renew our focus on the region on a bien­ni­al basis,” said Lloyd of Cana­da. He also thanked Hawaii for “what is tru­ly first-class, world-class hos­pi­tal­i­ty” that is being offered to all of the RIMPAC par­tic­i­pants.

This year’s exer­cise includes units or per­son­nel from Aus­tralia, Cana­da, Chile, Colom­bia, France, India, Indone­sia, Japan, Malaysia, Mex­i­co, Nether­lands, New Zealand, Nor­way, Peru, the Repub­lic of Korea, the Repub­lic of the Philip­pines, Rus­sia, Sin­ga­pore, Thai­land, Ton­ga, the Unit­ed King­dom and the Unit­ed States.

U.S. Navy