9 March: The man in charge of last year’s no-fly operations by NATO-led forces has been appointed by US president Barack . . .[restrict]Obama as the US military commander covering for East Asia and the Pacific.
In a ceremony today at Honolul’s marine base today, Friday, Admiral Samuel Locklear took over as head of US Pacific Command. His remit stretches from India and Central Asia (but not Afghanistan or Pakistan) to the eastern shores of the Pacific.
Locklear has “great talents” that can be used in his new job, according to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who praised his efforts during last year’s campaign against Qaddafi. His Libyan experience is seen as of particular value in the new job at a time the Obama administraion is refocussing its military and foreign policy on the Pacific, and in particular China’s growing might. Washington is seeking to build up new alliances, notably with India.
“Bringing that many nations together to go after targets in Libya and be able to coordinate that, to develop targets and then distribute those targets to various countries — that’s a huge responsibility,” Panetta on Thursday. “And yet, Sam Locklear was able to put that operation together.”
At his confirmation hearing last month Locklear told the US Senate Armed Services Committee that China’s military buildup was a concern. “It would be my plan to, in every way possible, improve our military-to-military relationship [with Beijin], with the recognition that there are things we won’t agree on, that greater transparency is for the good of all of us to avoid miscalculation,” Locklear said at the time. [/restrict]