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NEWS | Oct. 9, 2023

Operations, Sustainment, and Medical capabilities within Operation Pathways

By Sgt. Darbi Colson U.S. Army Pacific

The Indo-Pacific’s most senior U.S. Army commanders for operations, medical, and sustainment capabilities shared the importance of Operation Pathways during a Warrior’s Corner on Oct. 9, 2023 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.

Operation Pathways is U.S. Army Pacific’s operational approach to campaigning across the priority theater. It applies combat-credible forces forward to build joint readiness and interoperability with Allies and Partners across the Indo-Pacific.

During the Warrior’s Corner, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson, commanding general of I Corps, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paula Lodi, commander of the 18th Theater Medical Command, and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jered Helwig, commander of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, shared how their forces make Operation Pathways a reality.

“Campaigning allows the Army to establish interior lines and benefit from preexisting foundations, such as established partnerships, products, and processes across all war fighting functions,” said Brunson.

Within the network of Allies and Partners throughout the region, he said, posture, protection, and sustainment are crucial for successful Army campaigns.

“The only way we’re going to be successful in moving forward is if we continue to drive to be beside our partners in the region,” said Brunson.

Achieving campaign objectives set by Operation Pathways is tied to the medical professionals and sustainers within I Corps. These war fighting functions are critical in the Indo-Pacific, which contains the majority of the earth’s oceans and the world’s population.

The strategic campaign approach to the 18th Theater Medical Command includes global health engagements, experimentation, and a strong dynamic forward posture. While operational campaigning is underway, the medical command establishes a dynamic force that provides real world medical support and force health support across the region.

“We also use Operation Pathways to integrate at echelon above division units into the battle-space as a form of rehearsal so that we know that our total Army medicine force is able to deploy and win if called upon,” said Lodi.

Operation Pathways also stresses the logistics and sustainment enterprise at the operational level which allows rehearsal of integration throughout echelons. During Exercise Talisman Sabre in Australia, the 8th Theater Sustainment Command successfully established a Joint Theater Sustainment Component with Australian and Joint Partners.

“We were able to build that connective tissue, pull that team in, and work collaboratively right next to each other and solve a multitude of problems earlier than if we had perhaps not had that connection,” said Helwig. Adding, “campaigns, such as Operation Pathways, set conditions for the joint interior lines and to build out the architecture, because we know if we don’t rehearse it in competition it will be very difficult to execute in crisis and conflict.”

Throughout all Army campaigns, Brunson emphasized that intent is essential, saying, “In order for partnerships across the vast Indo-Pacific to work, they cannot be transactional, but instead be consistent and continuous.”