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Pacific News Minute: U.S. Holds Military Exercises Throughout Asia

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

A barrage of North Korean missile tests earlier this week has focused attention on the war games underway on the other side of the Demilitarized Zone. In the annual Foal Eagle Exercise, tens of thousands of US and South Korean troops are preparing for defense, according to the Pentagon, or rehearsing an attack on North Korea, according to Pyongyang. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy has just begun two other international drills in the Pacific…more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.


U.S. and Japanese vessels are exercising off Guam in what’s called MultiSail 2017. According to a U.S. Navy press release, the exercise focuses on “detecting, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land and underwater.”


The vessels involved include half a dozen of the most modern U.S. Destroyers, two destroyers from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces and an American Ticonderoga class cruiser. One goal is to improve the ability to operate together. Presumably including practice, of the U.S. Navy’s relatively new concept called dispersed lethality, which emphasizes groups of surface vessels operating independently, to present an enemy with multiple threats.


The 12th Pacific Partnership Mission is a very different exercise.  Medical, dental, civil engineering and veterinary teams from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and South Korea are aboard the transport ship, USNS Fall River, to practice for natural disasters.  On average, two major disasters strike in the Pacific each year and, each year, Pacific Partnership selects a few countries to train with. 


This year, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Vietnam. Along with disaster drills, A Navy Press release says the teams of experts will conduct civil action projects, community health exchanges and medical symposiums.

Over 36 years with National Public Radio, Neal Conan worked as a correspondent based in New York, Washington, and London; covered wars in the Middle East and Northern Ireland; Olympic Games in Lake Placid and Sarajevo; and a presidential impeachment. He served, at various times, as editor, producer, and executive producer of All Things Considered and may be best known as the long-time host of Talk of the Nation. Now a macadamia nut farmer on Hawaiʻi Island, his "Pacific News Minute" can be heard on HPR Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
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