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U.S. Army Special Forces
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SOCPAC

Special Operations Center, Pacific Command (SOCPAC) was established 1 November 1965. Headquartered in Okinawa, the unit provided unconventional warfare task force support for operations in Southeast Asia. These functions were eventually transferred to the USCINCPAC staff and subordinate commands, leading to the disestablishment of SOCPAC on 1 July 1969.

By the mid-70’s, it became clear that there was an increasing need for special operations planning and coordination in the Pacific, and a special operations staff within the USCINCPAC Operations Directorate was established on 15 May 1976.

In October 1983, the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed the establishment of Special Operations Commands in USPACOM and USEUCOM. Special Operations Command, Pacific (SOCPAC) was activated on 1 November 1983 with a total strength of 18 personnel.

On 28 December 1989, COMSOCPAC was assigned operational control of what is now the 353d Special Operations Group (Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan) and 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan). On 8 July 1991, COMSOCPAC was assigned operational control of Naval Special Warfare Task Unit-Pacific and a subordinate SEAL platoon, (Apra Harbor Naval Station, Guam).

SOCPAC and its component units deploy throughout the Pacific to participate in joint exercises in support of USCINCPAC and designated Joint Task Forces (JTF). SOCPAC also deploys unilaterally as JTF 510 and conducts numerous small unit exchanges with over 20 pacific nations in support of the USCINCPAC Theater Engagement Plan (TEP). COMSOCPAC hosts the annual Pacific Area Special Operations Conference (PASOC) in Hawaii. This year’s event included representation from 25 countries including 13 flag officers, 140 foreign delegates, and over 250 attendees. The command’s involvement in counterdrug operations includes Thailand, Laos, and the Philippines. In addition to humanitarian demining operations in Thailand and Laos, SOCPAC has also supported contingency missions in Indonesia, East Timor, Vietnam, and the Republic of the Philippines.

Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC), located at Camp H. M. Smith, Oahu, Hawaii, is a sub-unified command and serves as the SOF component command for the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM). The AOR of the commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Command (USCINCPAC), represents the largest geographic area of the unified commands. It covers over half of the earth’s surface with over 105 million square miles and nearly 60 percent of the world’s population. Distance, diversity, and change characterize the PACOM AOR.

Special Operations Center, Pacific Command (SOCPAC) was established 1 November 1965. Headquartered in Okinawa, the unit provided unconventional warfare task force support for operations in Southeast Asia. These functions were eventually transferred to the USCINCPAC staff and subordinate commands, leading to the disestablishment of SOCPAC on 1 July 1969. By the mid-70’s, it became clear that there was an increasing need for special operations planning and coordination in the Pacific, and a special operations staff within the USCINCPAC Operations Directorate was established on 15 May 1976.

In October 1983, the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed the establishment of Special Operations Commands in USPACOM and USEUCOM. Special Operations Command, Pacific (SOCPAC) was activated on 1 November 1983 with a total strength of 18 personnel. On 28 December 1989, COMSOCPAC was assigned operational control of what is now the 353d Special Operations Group (Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan) and 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan). On 8 July 1991, COMSOCPAC was assigned operational control of Naval Special Warfare Task Unit-Pacific and a subordinate SEAL platoon, (Apra Harbor Naval Station, Guam).

SOCPAC and its component units deploy throughout the Pacific to participate in joint exercises in support of USCINCPAC and designated Joint Task Forces (JTF). SOCPAC also deploys unilaterally as JTF 510 and conducts numerous small unit exchanges with over 20 pacific nations in support of the USCINCPAC Theater Engagement Plan (TEP). COMSOCPAC hosts the annual Pacific Area Special Operations Conference (PASOC) in Hawaii. The event has included representation from 25 countries including 13 flag officers, 140 foreign delegates, and over 250 attendees. The command’s involvement in counterdrug operations includes Thailand, Laos, and the Philippines. In addition to humanitarian demining operations in Thailand and Laos, SOCPAC has also supported contingency missions in Indonesia, East Timor, Vietnam, and the Republic of the Philippines.

Although the Asian-Pacific Rim has recently experienced an economic slowdown, over the last decade Asia’s economic growth rate was twice that of the world as a whole. This growth has increased competition for both natural resources and markets. Thirty-six percent of U.S. merchandise trade is within the region and over three million American jobs are linked to Asian export markets. Sovereignty claims to areas such as the Spratly Islands have become important due to the resource potential of the surrounding seas. Economic growth has fueled an expansion of military technologies and capabilities. The six largest armed forces in the world operate in the Pacific AOR. Military capabilities in the region are increasingly modern due to technical development and economic growth. This enhanced military capability has resulted in several nations possessing the capability to build and deliver weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Other regional nations also have the economic and technical sophistication to develop WMD capabilities on short notice, should they believe a threat exists.

The political challenges are also changing. Asian-Pacific nations are proud of their cultures and sensitive about issues of independence and sovereignty. These nations are strikingly diverse in size, population, culture, and history. The 43 nations, 20 territories, and 10 U.S. territories represent 75 official languages and over 20 dis-tinct religions. Security concerns and threats, such as the Korean peninsula, Indo-Pakistani border, and Indonesia, remain USCINCPAC concerns. Local insurrection, territorial disputes, religious and ethnic conflicts, and illegal drug trafficking have economic, political, and military implications for USCINCPAC and all theater service components.

USCINCPAC’s strategy harmonizes employment of military resources with the other elements of national power. This strategy recognizes contributions made, both directly and indirectly, by military forces in shaping the international environment through activities that promote peace and stability. The strategy focuses on continued military presence in the region — demonstrating U.S. commitment, developingtrust, and deterring aggressors. SOCPAC supports USCINCPAC’s shaping strategy through operations such as demining activities, counterdrug operations, bilateral/multilateral exercises, JCET program activities, Pacific Situation Awareness Teams (PSATs), and the annual Pacific Area Special Operations Conference (PASOC).

Engagement seeks to: demonstrate continued American intent and capability; reassure allies and friends; promote regional stability, cooperation and trust; deter potential regional aggressors; build force interoperability; and maintain access to host-nation support and facilities.

Landmines continue to inflict hundreds of civilian casualties per month. Additionally, the mine threat removes arable land from production and reduces the flow of commerce. Various factions laid these mines over the last 40 years. SOF, in cooperation with the host nation and U.S. government agencies, have designed and managed a training program to improve mine awareness, detection and recovery, and the treatment of casualties. SOCPAC conducted four demining operations in Laos in 1998 and again in 1999. Additionally, two initial demining assessments were conducted in Thailand in 1999, with four demining operations scheduled during 2000. Other countries plagued by landmines are looking at ways to participate in the program.

Southeast Asia remains one of the world’s largest drug-producing areas. SOF assist host nations in improving their capability to deal with this significant problem. Specifically, SOF conduct training to improve planning, expertise, and small-unit tactics of host-nation military and law enforcement agencies to increase their ability to battle narco-criminals. Thailand and Malaysia were participating countries in 1999. Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia are scheduled participants during 2000. This training benefits both host nation and U.S. forces as they share techniques, sharpen skills, and improve operational effectiveness.

One of the cornerstones of the shaping element is the SOCPAC-managed JCET program. This program fulfills SOF training requirements and allows the sharing of skills between SOF elements and their host-nation counterparts. These activities include airborne and air mobile patrolling, lifesaving, reconnaissance, and small-unit tactics. JCET activities improve SOF and host nation capabilities, and also demonstrate USCINCPAC’s commitment to constructive engagement.

In addition, humanitarian and civic action projects, done in conjunction with JCET events, provide tangible benefits for the host-nation civilian population. During 1999, SOCPAC conducted 37 JCET events in 12 countries. Participants include in-theater and CONUS units from both active and reserve components. USCINCPAC uses this corner-stone program for initial military-to-military contact, annually demonstrated through presence in some of the smaller countries, and as part of an ongoing military program in many of the larger nations.

USCINCPAC deployed its Pacific Situation Assessment Team (PSAT), consisting of SOCPAC personnel, during 1998 and 1999. PSAT enhances coordination between USCINCPAC and the U.S. Chief of Mission’s country team by provid-ing on-site advice regarding the suitability and feasibility of the application of military forces and resources in support of U.S. government responses to crisis situations.

The annual PASOC is another forum that supports USCINCPAC’s theater engagement program. This week-long conference, comprising over 200 delegates — including 26 flag officers — from 22 countries, provides USCINCPAC and COMSOCPAC with an “azimuth check” for U.S. peacetime engagement. In addition, PASOC provides a unique opportunity to develop, in a multilateral setting, senior foreign military contacts that will facilitate the conduct of future exercises, crisis response, and other operations within the AOR.

SOCPAC provides USCINCPAC with a highly capable crisis response force. Crisis response is USCINCPAC’s top SOF priority and is provided by USCINCPAC’s rapidly deployable Joint Task Force-510 (JTF-510). With SOCPAC as the nucleus, JTF-510 is specifically structured for, and capable of, timely response to special contingencies, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, noncombatant evacuation opera-tions (NEO), and other crises. PACOM maintains three basic JTF cores for planning purposes: Seventh Fleet or III MEF for a primarily maritime effort, I Corps for a primarily land operation and JTF 510 for a short notice special forces response. With a secure, mission-tailored, highly mobile, reliable com-munications package, JTF-510 is usually the first to deploy in real-world crises and in each major exercise.

SOCPAC serves as the SOF focal point for the most expansive and diverse geographic area of the world. In an AOR that is characterized by distance, diversity and change, SOCPAC fulfills a key role in harmonizing the use of military resources in the region with other elements of national strategy. The presence of this command and its deployed service members serves to demonstrate U.S. commitment, develop trust among Pacific nations, and deter aggression throughout the region.


DISCLAIMER - PLEASE READ

This page is an unofficial document and does not represent information endorsed by the United States Government, the United States Special Operations Command or the United States Army Special Operations Command. However, most information is derived from those sources and has been checked for accuracy. For comments, questions, and suggestions, please go to the Communications Center.


Gunnery Network - SOF