Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, United States Pacific Command commander, answers questions from military representatives of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson at the Wilderness Inn Dining Facility, Sept. 18, 2012. The military members present were those who recently returned from deployments and were comprised of a wide variety of personnel, both active duty and National Guard from the Army and the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf)
Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, United States Pacific Command commander, addresses members of Alaska Command during an all-call at the Arctic Warrior Events Center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Sept. 18, 2012. This is Locklear's first visit to JBER as the PACOM commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf)
Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, United States Pacific Command commander, introduces himself to Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Smith, Alaska National Guard C-12 Huron passenger aircraft pilot, at the Wilderness Inn Dining Facility on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Sept. 18, 2012. This is Locklear's first visit to JBER as the PACOM commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf)
by Air Force 1st Lt. Matthew Chism
JBER Public Affairs
9/19/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- U.S. Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, U.S. Pacific Command commander, concluded a two-day orientation visit at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson today.
Locklear's trip to JBER allowed him to receive an official orientation from the units located here in Alaska with briefings from members of Alaska Command's Eleventh Air Force and U.S. Army Alaska.
Locklear also spent time with service members during a luncheon at the Wilderness Inn Dining Facility and at an all-call Tuesday at the Arctic Warrior Event Center.
During the all call, Locklear discussed a few challenges and opportunities his team is focused on in the Pacific area of responsibility. Locklear emphasized the future impact of how well PACOM works with growing nations in the Pacific region to the diverse crowd of service members.
"How we work with regional powers in the Pacific in the coming decades, I think, will be the central factor of our own national security," Locklear said. "Whether we can accommodate them economically, diplomatically, militarily and do that peacefully will be a big test for us. So we are focused on that."
Since the era of Billy Mitchell, a past U.S.Army general who is highly regarded as the 'Father of the U.S. Air Force, it has been repeated that Alaska "is the most important strategic place in the world." Locklear explained this statement still continues to ring true.
"Your location and the perspective that you have here in Alaska is very critical to our mission success," Locklear said. "[Alaska is] critical to the way that we look at all of our contingency planning, the way we look at pulling forces into the Pacific AOR, and the way we position our forces globally."
Another important part of the mission success, Locklear said, is the delicate balance military members have to sustain. That balance is to develop partnerships in the region while continuing to maintain a posture to defend national interests at home and abroad by utilizing training opportunities here in Alaska.
"On one end, we are balancing the opportunity to develop coalitions and multilateral organizations to hopefully bring in partners in the security environment so we all have peace and prosperity," Locklear said. "On the other hand we have to remain postured to have military forces that can defend our own national interests.
"You have a big role in preparing those forces for doing that with the exercises you do like Red Flag, Northern Edge, and the range complexes you have here," Locklear said. "Being able to have your forces ready to go, ready to fight, ready to flow forces through here, is all a critical aspect of what you do in support of our forward homeland defense and me as the PACOM commander."