Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard remains a strategic asset in the Indo-Pacific
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – Over the past decade, there has been an increased focus on the region that spans the vast area from the west coast of the United States to the west coast of India – known as the Indo-Pacific. This region comprises the largest area of all six Combatant Commands of the Department of Defense and is an important engine of the world economy.
The Indo-Pacific includes the world’s busiest international sea routes and nine of the ten largest ports that support global trade. While many think that goods are mainly moved by air, in fact more than 80% of international trade in goods travels the oceans, which require free and open sea routes to sustain the global economy. In the Indo-Pacific in particular, a third of the world’s maritime shipping worth more than $ 3 trillion annually flows through the sea routes in the South China Sea.
The region is also heavily militarized with seven of the ten largest standing military in the world and five of the world’s declared nuclear nations. From 2009 the People’s Republic of China (PR China) steadily increased the territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea. The PR China has unilaterally claimed half-sunken reefs and militarized the country by building artificial islands with military bases. The United States and its allies have denied these claims and routinely assert the right to freely navigate international waters through the enforcement of navigation freedoms.
As a global nation, the United States is a major player in leading and assisting our allies to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region despite the challenges of close competition. The rule of law and the freedom of navigation are necessary to maintain global stability and free trade. The frequent US Navy presence and operations across the region maintain our diplomatic and military commitments and common regional goals for the benefit of all nations.
The ships and submarines stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam are directly participating in the Indo-Pacific mission. If these ships are unable to respond to a potential threat or deploy in a timely manner, the Navy’s ability to provide an advanced presence may be compromised.
Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF) has tremendous strategic implications for the Navy’s ships and submarines. The successful execution of the shipyard mission has a direct effect on the combat strength and presence available at all times. In addition, the shipyard’s location in the Indo-Pacific allows ships to spend a week of transit time closer to hot spots in the South China Sea, with the ability to perform maintenance at both depot and mid-level in Hawaii rather than the west coast.
“The yard’s motto -” We keep them fit for battle “- are not just empty words,” said Rear Adm. Robb Chadwick, commander, Surface Group Middle Pacific. “Our ships have to work with maximum efficiency in order to be able to fully fulfill their mission. The proven ability to carry out complex repairs on our surface vessels is of strategic importance. A ship will most likely receive all the repairs it needs here instead of crossing the Pacific ”to a shipyard on the west coast. This means that they can return to their mission in a much shorter time. In the case of urgent repairs in particular, the faster repairs can be carried out, the faster the ships can go to the front. ”
For the shipyard, the timely completion of any short availability at medium and long depot level every time is the crucial link to ensure that the Navy and each crew have a fully functional ship to respond to each mission. Each shipyard employee contributes directly to the country’s national security mission and global engagement for their allies by keeping the fleet combat-ready. Just as those who served at the shipyard during World War II rose from the dead and kept the Pacific Fleet running, today’s workforce is adding to that legacy in a new era – a new era in which our navy and lands continue need to take the lead.
PHNSY & IMF is a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command and a regional one-stop maintenance center for the Navy’s surface vessels and submarines. It is the largest industrial employer in the state of Hawaii. It is the most comprehensive fleet repair and maintenance facility between the US West Coast and the Far East, strategically located in the heart of the Pacific and about a week steam-time closer to potential regional eventualities in the Indo-Pacific.