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William P. Schwab – November 2012


William P. Schwab – November 2012

By Karen Son

On November, 2012, William P. Schwab of the US Pacific Command (PACOM) visited Christina Akanoa’s Public Personnel Management class (POSC 332) to share insights on America’s role in the Pacific region. Mr. Schwab works for the PACOM as the Branch Chief in the South Asia and Oceania Policy Division. As one of four country directors, Mr. Schwab holds key responsibilities for US political-military relations in the Pacific region, particularly New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Fiji. As one of six geographic Unified Combatant Commands of the United States Armed Forces, PACOM retains responsibility for about half the earth’s surface. PACOM’s senior military authority, the Commander, reports to the President of the United States. In cooperation with other US governmental agencies, PACOM is committed to encouraging stability in the Pacific region as well as protecting US territory, the people, and national interests. Mr. Schwab emphasized the importance of PACOM’s role in creating what he termed “rebalance” in the Pacific. As explained, efforts to establish a new balance of power between the US, China, and all other states in the region, will allow the United States to safeguard its interests as well as guarantee security for America’s allies. Accordingly, interactions and relationships between countries in the region are vital if rebalance is to be achieved. Through interactions with other nations, and US allies in particular, PACOM seeks to enhance communication and cooperation across national boundaries. PACOM also plays a strong role in maintaining security throughout the region and thus closely watches issues and challenges as they arise. Terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human trafficking, piracy, drugs, natural disaster, and humanitarian aid have become new challenges for PACOM authorities. Mr. Schwab emphasized the collaborative partnerships PACOM supports. Helping Pacific island nations police their fisheries, for example, PACOM has opened up he rider program, which allows local policing authorities to accompany US naval vessels on patrol. Should illegal fishing be encountered, the local authority is already on the scene to take necessary actions. Through the effective use of alliances, partnership, presence, military tactics, and humanitarian aid, PACOM promotes security and cooperation while encouraging development among Pacific Island nations. Because the Pacific region represents a significant portion of the globe, success at accomplishing these objectives will also help the US maintain security, stability, and freedom throughout the region.