Testimony & Statements To SASC By ADM Davidson, Gen. Abrams

NDOPACOM – ADM Davidson’s 41 page statement: https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/download/davidson_02-12-19pdf

Korea – GEN Abram’s 12 page statement: https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Abrams_02-12-19.pdf

David Maxwell Comment: “Big take away.  Alliances are critical to US interests. Senators on both sides of the aisle emphasized this as did the Admiral and General.

A number of Senators asked about the effects of reducing or withdrawing US troops from the Korean peninsula.  There seemed to be a unanimous view that we should not withdraw or re

The 12 page formal statement from General Abrams is very much worth reading as it provides an excellent overview of the current state of US military (and to a certain extent political diplomatic) affairs on the Korean peninsula.  I have provided an excerpt on training.  Senator Cotton asked some good questions on the impact of the training suspension on the squad leader, platoon leader, company commander, and battalion commander and above and General Abrams provided an excellent response.  Note the construct of the “four dials.”

Also Senator Ernst pressed GEN Abrams on north Korean SOF. She asked specifically about using US SOF to help ROK SOF counter north Korean SOF.  (We should keep in mind that ROK and US SOF will be used to achieve strategic and operational objectives in the north and not defending against nK SOF tactical targeting in the South.)  GEN Abrams noted that we have a small special operations component in Korea (SOCKOR) that punches well above its weight.  He also noted that there is an ODB and 5 ODAs deployed to Korea on a persistent rotational presence training with ROK SOF every day.

Note also ADM Davidson noted there is a robust effort against ship to ship transfers by north Korea.  He listed the contributing nations and specifically stated that the ROK Navy and Japanese Navy are sitting side by side with the US Navy in Yokosuka coordinating on the ship-to-ship transfer effort.

There is so much more to assess and parse out about the situation in INDOPACOM and Korea.  This is one of the best hearings I have listened to lately (though Senators were gently critical of both of them that they could not be more forthcoming with the threats and that much had to be held for closed session so that the American public could not be better informed).”

ADM Davidson – Win before fighting:

Win Before Fighting. Deterrence is necessary to prevent conflict, but deterrence alone cannot ensure a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. Our adversaries are pursuing their objectives in the space between peace and war, using fear and coercive actions across the instruments of national power to revise the rules-based international order and without resorting to armed conflict. Alongside like-minded allies and partners, USINDOPACOM must compete in the “gray zone” between peace and war. These deliberate actions will ensure a Free and Open Indo-Pacific against those malign actors that seek to accomplish their political objectives short of armed conflict.

I really like how ADM Davidson is adopting Sun Tzu here along with the gray zone.

GEN Abrams  – Korea Readiness:

Combat readiness is perishable. This fact is especially true of forces in Korea due to the high-turnover among our service members, American and Korean alike, across the spectrum of missions and roles. The benchmark for readiness is demonstrating the competencies necessary to plan and execute joint and combined operations under the strain of crisis or wartime conditions. Tactical training sharpens the baseline skills essential to success on the modern battlefield for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. Exercises provide the venue to coordinate and synchronize operational-level headquarters like CFC (the warfighting command on the peninsula) and the service Components across time and space in a dynamic environment – a critical operational competency during times of crisis. This is true for militaries the world over, all of whom strive to exercise under conditions anticipated in potential conflict. To succeed in war, we must train hard in peace. To succeed in Korea, we must train the CFC in the essential tasks necessary to credibly deter aggression and readily deliver victory if challenged.

However, we must continuously strike a balance between the clear need to train and exercise military capability and the requirement to create space for and support strategic diplomacy. To help achieve this equilibrium, we are innovating and evolving our approach by tuning 4 dials that adjust exercise design and conduct – size, scope, volume, and timing. Adjustments to these dials allows exercise design to remain in tune with diplomatic and political requirements without sacrificing the training of essential tasks. Additionally, such fine tuning allows for the mitigation of impacts inherent to rapidly switching from our traditional large-scale exercise program to one of more targeted events.


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