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I Corps hosts first Indo-Pacific Motorized Forum with allied and partnered nations

America’s First Corps hosted the first Indo-Pacific Motorized Forum with over 10 allied and partner nations to discuss the unique employment of motorized infantry across the Pacific theater on JBLM Jan. 10, 2023. Photo credit: Joshua Oh

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - America's First Corps hosted the first Indo-Pacific Motorized Forum with over 10 allied and partner nations to discuss the unique employment of motorized infantry across the Pacific theater.

The forum, held at the American Lake Conference Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 10, 2023, helped to build a common understanding about defense operations and capabilities among the nations present and strengthen strategic partnerships through lessons learned.

"This forum is an important step for all of us in terms of interoperability," said Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson, commanding general of I Corps. "When we look at human, technological and procedural interoperability, it begins in meetings like this. It also reminds me of the importance of allies, friends and partners."

The conference was tailored to the Stryker brigades across the U.S. Army and similar variants from other nations. The Stryker, an eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicle, was once considered an "interim armored vehicle" and then later a "medium armored vehicle" due to its proven capability in battle.

"The Stryker Brigade Combat Team was supposed to be an interim Brigade Combat Team in 2016," said Col. James Hayes, the Stryker warfighter forum director and guest speaker for the Indo-Pacific Motorized Forum.

"It provided the combatant commanders a medium weight force for early entry and functionality, where historically, our heavy forces were too heavy for the missions and our light forces weren't able to handle the equipment needed," said Hayes. "The Army saw the benefit of this vehicle and transformed it into a permanent formation."

The Stryker Armored Combat Vehicle currently has 18 versions. They are constantly assessed and updated based on mission requirements and changes on the operational battlefield. The current version, the Medium Caliber Weapon System with a 30mm, unmanned turreted auto-cannon is set to be fielded later this year to the 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division at JBLM.

As part of the conference, there were different Stryker variants staged, including conceptual ones. Participants were able to put "hands-on" and see what capabilities the U.S. has and how they're able to be used in different operational environments.

Hayes explained the changes that the Strykers underwent over the last few decades to keep up with the constantly evolving environments. He highlighted the key differences in the models and what caused the Army to make lethality updates. For example, the flat-bottom Stryker was updated to withstand threats like improvised explosive devices or anti-tank mines.

"It's important to have a shared understanding of what capabilities we have," said Hayes. "One of the reasons why we're here is to build a better understanding of our interoperability and how we can help each other."

U.S. Army Pacific representative, Maj. Gen. Peter Benchoff, the USARPAC Chief of Staff, who attended the conference virtually, spoke about the importance of modernization and how working together can help identify what equipment needs improvement.

"We cannot do what we need to do to succeed in this operational environment without our allies and partners," said Benchoff.

"We are setting the conditions now," said Benchoff. "This forum that you're holding here is great to bring allies and partners together to talk about the threats and figure out ways that we can rapidly improve our capabilities in order to get after these missions because we have a lot of work to do."

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