PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Adm. Scott Swift, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, and Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, U.S. 3rd Fleet commander and exercise Rim of the Pacific's Combined Task Force commander, explained the importance of the exercise during an opening press conference here, July 5.
Swift said RIMPAC is one way cooperation between partners and allies promotes continued prosperity in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
"This is what the international maritime community does in ensuring that the norms, standards, rules, and laws that have provided the great stability and security, the foundation for prosperity, that we all enjoy for the last 70 years," Swift said during his remarks. "They're joined by a shared interest in maritime cooperation in the Pacific, we are all locals during RIMPAC - that's regardless of geographic size, military might or economic strength. It's just one brilliant example of the inclusive, principled security network that Secretary Carter spoke about at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore just a month ago."
Nations involved in RIMPAC get a unique chance to practice joint and combined operations that translate to real world scenarios as part of the world's largest international maritime exercise.
"RIMPAC is truly about bringing 26 nations together for a unique training opportunity," Tyson said. "Participating forces exercise a wide range of capabilities from disaster response and maritime security operations to sea control and complex war fighting. Perhaps even more importantly, participants build and sustain relationships and trust that are critical to ensuring the safety of the sea lanes and security on the world's oceans."
Out of these 26 nations, three will be participating in RIMPAC for the first time, including Denmark, Germany and Italy.
Tyson said working with partner nations and allies during exercises like RIMPAC will better prepare future combined efforts in the region.
"We know that credible, ready, maritime partners help preserve peace and prevent conflict," Tyson said. "We also know that the work we do in the next five weeks will further enhance our collective capability to respond to crises as part of a joint or combined effort."
Tyson said this year's RIMPAC will also introduce several new elements to the exercise, including amphibious operations in the Southern California operating area, feature a Harpoon missile shoot from a U.S. Navy littoral combat ship and highlight fleet innovation during the Trident Warrior experimentation series.
From building partnerships to promoting safer sea lanes and experimentation to innovation, Tyson said there is one thing for certain.
"I think I can speak for each of the international leaders here and the more than 25,000 personnel taking part, when I say that we are excited to get this exercise underway," Tyson said. "We're looking forward to a great exercise with our friends and partners, and we all recognize that the time and the effort that went in to planning and executing this complex exercise will result in a naval force that is collectively more capable of keeping our oceans safe and global commerce moving . RIMPAC 2016 will certainly help us meet those expectations."
RIMPAC provides realistic, relevant training that increases participants' abilities to plan, communicate and conduct complex maritime operations efficiently and effectively.
Forty-five ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in this 25th iteration of RIMPAC in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California from June 30 to Aug. 4.