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NEWS | May 14, 2024

Gen. Charles Flynn Opening Remarks at LANPAC24

Aloha and E Komo Mai! Welcome to you all!

It is a distinct honor to be here at LANPAC 2024! Each year I reflect on how much this event has evolved over its 11 years and since 2014 when I first attended. It was clear from the beginning that LANPAC was something very special.

This is largely because of four leaders: GEN (Ret) Gordon Sullivan, former Chief of Staff of the Army and Fromer President of AUSA; LTG (Ret) Frank Wiercinski; GEN (Ret) Vince Brooks… both former CDRs of U.S. Army Pacific. And now today, GEN (Ret) Bob Brown – another Former CG, US Army Pacific and the Current President / CEO of AUSA.

They all saw and we all knew that LANPAC was different from other forums in the U.S. Army and very different from other forums across the region. In 2014, I had just taken command of the 25th Infantry Division here on Oahu. That same year we began Pacific Pathways; a milestone that tied together our longstanding exercises into a logical and sequential framework.

Now named Operation Pathways, we have stitched together more than 40 joint and army-to-army exercises into a campaign for good. A campaign with clear goals promoting our unity and collective commitment and all of this is tied together by a Landpower Network. Rather, a Strategic Landpower Network. One that upholds the peace, stability, and security of the region.

So when I look back a decade ago – I can see some very real progress. I can see through my experiences in this region. I can see what is represented here in this very room. We comprise something very special. We are the regional land forces who collaborate on all matters involving defense and security. I didn’t fully recognize the depth of this more than a decade ago, but those relationships… our bonds… matter. What we share as armies is asymmetric and consequential.

Many of you have heard me describe the critical role of Landpower in the Indo-Pacific. Well, just to beat this drum once more, here is my view… Landpower is the security architecture that binds this region together! Let me say that again… Landpower is the security architecture that binds this region together.

That may sound odd seeing as: this theater is named after two oceans, or simply by looking at the map, still others who lean on popular memory. But my conviction is stronger today because of what I have witnessed and because of what we are doing together. While all forms of military power are important in this region, Landpower is often overlooked. It tends to be discounted.

But today I want to emphasize why Landpower matters in the Indo-Pacific. And the importance of what Landpower does. The importance of our Strategic Landpower Network… A network that allows us to respond together when disasters strike – often without warning. A network that represents the greatest counter-weight to any adversary action. So I’ll share what our actions – together – mean towards our shared future. But before I get deeper into my remarks, I’d like to acknowledge a few individuals for making this event possible.

First, to my good friend, fellow surfer, GEN (R) Bob Brown. Bob, thanks to you and your team at AUSA for sponsoring this world-class international event. None of this is possible without your team’s talents, generosity, and selfless commitment, So please join me in a round of applause for the great team at AUSA.

This year marks our highest attendance with over 2,000 participants. We have more than 75 industry partners. Given the global security situation I encourage all visit to the industry floor to look at their tools and technologies.

I also want to thank leaders from across the State of Hawaii. To GOV Josh Green and Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi – thank you so much for your support.

I’d also like to thank some joint teammates here, such as: GEN Mike Minihan, CDR, Air Mobility Command; ADM “Web” Kohler, CDR, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Lt Gen David Nahom, CDR, U.S. Alaska Command.

Let me also express my gratitude to the sizable representation of the civilian leaders from across our Department of Defense. And a big thank you to all our keynote speakers and panelists. It’s also great to see so many of the Soldiers and Civilians from the U.S. Army here as well.

Finally, and most importantly, I’d like to recognize the delegations from nearly 30 countries, not only from around the Indo-Pacific, but from across the globe.

Simply put, this conference is about you. It’s about us actually. Your record-setting presence demonstrates the growing scale and influence of our Strategic Landpower Network.

And to the 13 Chiefs of Army in attendance let me express my profound gratitude. Your presence alone demonstrates our unity and collective commitment not only to each other, but to advancing our nation’s shared interests for peace, stability, and security in this region. The fact we have nearly 30 Armies from 5 continents represented here sends a message. It signals the importance of the Strategic Landpower Network, particularly in a theater where many do not fully understand our role.

I’m here to remind everyone listening, that our role – the role of land forces in the IndoPacific – is vital and central to success.

In 2022 on this stage, i stressed the value of our leader connections. How our relationships matter… coming out of a global pandemic it was vital to reestablish those Human-to-Human bonds, and using LANPAC we really bounced back.

In 2023, I stressed how the time is now for Landpower. Driving home to all a sense of urgency into our collective efforts, and using the full range of our shared actions… there is absolute proof that call is being answered.

This year in 2024 is about clarifying our shared purpose. Together we have to solve the most pressing challenges facing our nations in this most consequential region and at this most consequential time.

Despite our many differences in language, cultures, and much more… we all share common interests. And we share an immense responsibility to serve the greater good.

Each one of our armies – big or small – has something to offer. Whether experts in jungle operations or extreme cold weather. Or experts in Peacekeeping Operations and HADR. Or experts with high end technologies or advance platforms. Or whether you bring hard power or soft power.

All of that matters… But what matters more is that we – together – through our unity and collective commitment to each other must achieve a lasting peace. And we’ll do so by mobilizing the collective capabilities and strengths of our Strategic Landpower Network.

Making the sum -greater than its parts. Mobilizing our Strategic Landpower Network for the greater good is vital to our security and prosperity for each of our nations and for the region. Why?

Because our network allows us to respond in unison in times of crisis. Our network reinforces a collective legitimacy for armies and our nations to resist coercion. Our network denies incremental, insidious, and irresponsible behaviors of authoritarian regimes. Our network protects our people, defends our lands, and assures our freedoms. Because our network is about one another’s sovereignty. Our network creates legitimacy to avert disruption and prevent opportunism by nefarious actors.

I believe, as soldiers, we really know what’s at stake amid such a tumultuous environment. Why? Because we have the best finger-tip feel of what’s actually happening on the ground.

You see… we operate amongst the people – to protect the people. Those who are exposed to the greatest risks. Those who are threatened by coercive influences and physical harm.

So here is my vision for the Strategic Landpower Network in the Indo-Pacific. Each one of us bears a responsibility to maintain the peace, safety, and stability for our people. So that they may thrive.

Armies exist: to defend our nations, to secure our territorial integrity, and to guarantee our sovereignty. We do so by holding ground – and by defending key terrain.

While others can continue to debate the merits of complex policy issues… our obligation, our foremost duty is to best prepare ourselves and our formations to defeat any threat. In whatever form it may take.

I often tell people that land forces represent the bulk of every military in this region. And in return I often get looks of both astonishment and surprise. But that’s a fact.

As armies, we face the difficult task of explaining why Landpower matters in a region largely comprised of oceans and seas. There’s a lot we must overcome, but here are three points I’d make.

First, is the land itself. As armies, we defend land – and there is a lot of it out here. While the theater is named after two oceans, there are also two continents. Plus the archipelago land bridge of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Island Countries of Oceania.

All told, land areas of the region represent a quarter of the earth’s landmass, which I’d add includes the bulk of the world’s population and its largest mega cities. That brings me to my second point.

Armies exist to operate from the land. It is incumbent we understand the environments where our forces are most likely to operate. These are areas that we call home. Where are families, friends, and neighbors reside. It is our sovereign soil. We, the armies, are responsible for defending it all. As we say in my force, “This We’ll Defend!”

The third point is because Landpower integrates our Combined Joint Force. That line doesn’t always resonate as well, but here’s why this is true. All branches of our militaries are dependent on land. And will always return to land: ships require ports, planes need airfields, satellites communicate with ground terminals, even cyber effects depend on terrestrial-based infrastructure.

Moreover, land forces provide the bulk of support capabilities at a scale no other service can match. This is especially true in the U.S. Army, and this is in large measure why the armies of this region are so very large.

Defending our sovereign soil and protecting the people who live there are our greatest obligations. But the point I am making is that armies have always been determinative, and the land has always been decisive – and it remains so. It is the land… our land… our homelands… that are under the greatest threats from outside forces. As I’ve said, those threats take many forms.

So we – the Strategic Landpower Network – must do all we can to protect those at risk by defending the ground and we will cede nothing. Of course we cannot do this alone.

Fortunately, our Strategic Landpower Network is bound together by two durable bonds: First, our relationships, which are stronger today than I’ve ever seen. Second, a shared principle of respect: respect for one another’s sovereignty, respect for each other’s freedom, respect for our ways of life. Together, there is no force on earth that can stand up against our collective resolve working as one to ensure a positive future.

The Strategic Landpower Network is all of us, and it benefits from every one of us to achieve our common goals. Our most important of which has not changed. No war… this is what we seek.

The global security situation is becoming more perilous. With a limited regional war in Europe – and now another in the Middle East – the last thing humanity can afford is another war.

Especially in this region and especially since the geostrategic weight of this century exists in Asia. Our foremost task must be to preserve the peace. But how we achieve it needs to be stated plainly, because each one of us bears responsibility.

And our Strategic Landpower Network must collectively apply the numerous tools of hard power and soft power. So we maintain deterrence against any would-be aggressor, and against those such as the Chinese Communist Party, Russia, and the DPRK who seek to upend the existing order for the benefit of only themselves.

And as we bear witness to these authoritarian regimes showing signs of coalescing, mostly over matters of convenience, rather than a shared vision, each of us can see the consequential nature of our network and what it represents.

Let me be clear, I am not forcing anyone to make a choice. But what I am asking is to help ensure your nation has the right to choose. This is what underwrites self-determination, respect for sovereignty, and a shared vision for the future. A vision the late Shinzo Abe labeled a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

Our shared history in prior wars reminds us of the terrible outcomes when armies fail… when we are not prepared. Conflict will always be part of our past, but it need not be part of our future.

What’s important is that, today, we have all become partners... partners on a journey – as the new commander of USINDOPACOM, ADM Sam Paparo says – “to prevail.”

To prevail we must learn from history. We must train, lead, and ready our forces with the highest resolve. To prevail – we must work together. There is no other way. And we must do so with an urgency often reserved for the most demanding of situations.

As we’ve experienced before in our shared history the situation now demands it, but we need not go it alone.

Our theme for LANPAC this year is “Campaigning with Landpower.” Campaigning is simply the logical and sequential arrangement of our activities to achieve an outcome. In this region, campaigning with Landpower provides something no other form of military power can. It is something that only land forces can deliver. That is, positional advantage.

While all other forms of hard power offer tremendous capability, they often deliver transient effects. But Landpower is enduring. Landpower provides staying power. Landpower is joint power.

Last year I issued a call to action, which I’ll renew again now. But this time I’ll lay bare my conviction. It’s based on the reality that Landpower binds our regional security architecture together. You see… our Strategic Landpower Network must get in position: to defend our sovereignty, to protect our people, and to uphold their rights under international law.

For my force, America’s Theater Army for the Indo-Pacific, I see four building blocks needed to get in position to compete – and if called upon – fight and win as a Combined Joint Force.

First, we Organize the most battle-winning mix of capabilities. Second, we Generate the Combined and Joint warfighting capacity. Third, we Apply Landpower to create unity of effort. Lastly, we Build enduring advantages through posture in the region. Allowing Army forces to control decisive points. So we gain positional advantage. So we gain staying power.

Organize… Generate… Apply… Build… these four methods are guiding my force. But they offer a roadmap for us all. Where you can contribute at your pace knowing we all operate under unique constraints. Each of your armies has a duty to your nations, but also each of us has something to offer the group represented here today.

Fortunately, the opportunity for increasing our multilateral cooperation is the highest I’ve ever seen. The demonstration of unity and collective commitment is growing stronger every day. And I am very proud of the progress we are making together. Because our tactical actions are having operational and strategic effects.

In sum, our armies, those represented in this room, exist not to conquer. Rather, our armies exist to defend. This is not the case for those harboring ambitions of conquest. Those using coercion, intimidation, and threats as their primary means.

By contrast, we help each other defend against those methods. We merge our capabilities to resist coercive power. Together, we marshal our collective strength for the greater good, because it allows us to respond as one in times of crisis to demonstrate respect for sovereignty, to uphold our shared vision for a safe, stable, and secure Indo-Pacific.

There is a place for all of you – and for all of us in the Strategic Landpower Network. Your contributions – big or small – it all matters. We will Organize, Generate, Apply, and Build together. Doing so will position Landpower in place now to gain positional advantage. Setting conditions for persistent deterrence of irresponsible and reckless behaviors, and sewing the seeds of enduring, lasting strength.

Our Strategic Landpower Network is answering the call, but our work remains unfinished. We have miles left to march before we rest. We must remind ourselves that today’s leaders are responsible for tomorrow’s outcomes. But I am confident that, together, we will win on our watch.

Again, thank you so very much for attending. I hope you all enjoy your time here in beautiful Oahu, the “gathering place.” Thanks again to AUSA for sponsoring this worldclass international event. This LANPAC, in its 11th year, will be the best ever. And thanks to all those in uniform for your leadership, for what you represent, and for supporting your people and supporting each other.

I am thrilled to see what our Strategic Landpower Network will collectively achieve. And I wish upon your nations and your people enduring safety, stability, security, and peace!

Mahalo Nui Loa for attending. One Team!