Despite grounded perception, Army has strong presence in Pacific

Monday - 10/10/2011, 2:37pm EDT

Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, commander, U.S. Army Pacific

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By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

Much of the nation's military focus in the past decade has centered on Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the U.S. has a major force projection challenge in the U.S. There's the rise of a stronger Chinese military. North Korea is becoming more belligerent. Plus, Japan and the U.S. must continually adjust their military relationship.

Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, the commander of U.S. Army Pacific, joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris from the Association of the U.S. Army convention in Washington, D.C.

Wiercinski was the lead speaker on the topic, "The Future of Engagement Opportunities and Shaping Operations Around the Globe."

He shared with Federal News Radio his perspective on the Army's mission and challenges in the Pacific.

When people think of the Pacific, they most probably think of the Navy. But Wiercinski said the Army has long had a presence in the Pacific. In fact, seven of the largest armies in the world have a footprint there.

And the Pacific's uniqueness — its awesome size at 9,000 miles across — also presents challenges, what Wiercincski called "the tyranny of distance."

"It takes a while to get anywhere in the Pacific," he added, which points to the importance of being "forward-engaged."

More from the AUSA conference.