How important are relationships with long-time
allies like Australia and other partners and
friends in the Asia-Pacific region when it
comes to training and interoperability?
PAXTON: They’re incredibly important for training and
interoperability. They are also important for overall
engagement and presence, as part of the combatant commanders’ theater security cooperation plan in the Western
Pacific. They’re very important to the Marine Corps in
terms of bilateral and multilateral operations and training.
It’s no surprise, statistically and geographically, how
important the Pacific is to us. … About 60 or 65 per-
cent of the world’s trade goes through the Strait of
Malacca. … We are interested in staying engaged
throughout the region. Not only is the Marine Corps
interested as a service, but we’re interested in being
that lead component, that component of choice for
PACOM [Pacific Command].
Australia is one of the seven nations that form what
we call the MIC, the Multinational Interoperability
Conference. The J3 [director of Operations] here on
the Joint Staff leads that. Australia is one of those
nations most likely to work with the United States to
form a combined or coalition joint task force. For that
reason, we are interested in partnering with them as
often as we can at the staff and the command levels.
Our units are always interested in training with them
for interoperability, for shared tactics, techniques and
Paxton focuses on balancing Marine Corps training, reset
and rebalancing needs in an uncertain fiscal environment
Gen. John M. Paxton Jr. earned his fourth star and was promoted to serve as the 33rd assistant commandant of the Marine Corps
on Dec. 15. Prior to his current assignment, he served as the commanding general of Marine Corps Forces Command, commanding
general of Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, commander of U.S. Marine
Corps Forces Europe, and commanding general, II Marine
Expeditionary Force (MEF).
Paxton has led at all levels of the Marine Corps in his 39 years as a
commissioned officer, working on the Joint Staff as director of
Operations and as director, Strategic Plans & Policy; serving as chief
of staff for Multi-National Force Iraq; and commanding at the platoon,
company, battalion and regimental levels.
In the face of unprecedented fiscal constraints brought about by
sequestration and the nation’s strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific
region, the Corps must continue to meet the demands of combatant
commanders, being both “today’s force, for today’s crisis, today” as
well as a “fight tonight” force.
Paxton discussed the importance of partnerships as the force rebalances to the Pacific, as well as the
challenges that the current budget climate puts on manpower, operations and acquisition, with Editor in
Chief Amy L. Wittman. Excerpts follow.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 10 SEAPOWER / OCTOBER 2013