Department of the Army Historical Summary: FYs 1990 & 1991
As the U.S. Army began the last decade of the twentieth century, it faced uncertain times and substantial downsizing, even though on two occasions during FY 90 and 91 it engaged in major military operations. The first was Operation JUST CAUSE, the U.S. invasion of Panama in December 1989 that resulted in the ouster of dictator Manuel Noriega and the restoration of a popularly elected government. The second was Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, a U.S.-led international coalition assembled to turn back Iraq's blatant aggression against neighboring Ku wait. On both occasions the U.S. Army rose to the task, employing a force made up of the best trained personnel and most modern equipment ever assembled. These operations confirmed the trend enunciated in President George Bush's August 1990 speech at Aspen, Colorado. He spoke of the need to plan for regional conflicts, rather than emphasize a global strategy based on preparation for a Soviet attack in Western Europe. Coupled with this change was the need to reduce the number and complexity of operational plans by calling on each theater to refocus on the increasing threat from regional powers, such as Iraq. Only the operational plans in the Pacific theater remained unchanged during FY 90 and 91.
Despite these new challenges, the public mood continued to call for a smaller military establishment. The end of the Cold War heralded the beginning of a historical process that has traditionally resulted in the drastic downsizing of the military force structure, regardless of long-term policies. Rapidly changing foreign developments and new fiscal realities within the United States, however, have not altered the fact that the world remains a dangerous place. In the words of Secretary of the Army Michael P. W. Stone, "Our nation faces a significantly more complex and varied security environment than at any time in our history. The question we now face is whether our Army is properly structured and equipped to meet the emerging strategic requirements of the 1990s and beyond." The Army continued to maintain a presence throughout the world, although 1990 and 1991 saw the United States turn over more defense responsibilities to other nations.
U.S. Army forces in the western hemisphere are divided into two commands, U.S. Forces Command (FORSCOM), a specified command, and U.S. Army South (USARSO), the Army component of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), a unified command. Based in Panama , USARSO consists of the 193d Infantry Brigade, the 228th Aviation Brigade, the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade, the 106th Signal Brigade, the 41st Area Support Group, the 3d Special Operations Support Command, the Military Police Command, the 536th Engineer Battalion, and the U.S. Army Garrison, Panama. The remainder of Army forces in the western hemisphere are part of FORSCOM, which encompasses all combat, combat support, and combat service support units active and reserve in CONUS, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In FY 90 FORSCOM had an authorized strength of 1,008,692 and an operating strength of 984,216. In FY 91 the authorized total dropped to 995,138, with an actual operating strength of 966,064.
FORSCOM commanded five armies within CONUS, the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth; the Third U.S. Army (TUSA), a field army which served as U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT) during Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM; three corps I Corps, III Corps, and XVIII Airborne Corps; 11 divisions; plus hundreds of attached units of battalion and company size. In FY 91 FORSCOM lost two divisions, the 2d Armored and the 9th (Motorized), although the 199th Infantry Brigade was taken from the 9th Division and restored as an independent unit. The FORSCOM mission included planning and conducting joint exercises, defending the land mass of the United States, planning for the common defense with Canadian authorities, and supporting civil defense. As a major Army command (MACOM), FORSCOM provided trained Army forces ready for combat; commanded its assigned active and reserve components forces located in the United States; supplied training and readiness guidance for Army National Guard (ARNG) units; provided the Army headquarters element for the U.S. Atlantic Command (LANTCOM); and planned for the mobilization and deployment of Army forces in times of crisis or war.
The invasion of Panama was the first major U.S. armed intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean since Operation URGENT FURY, the 1983 invasion of Grenada. Since May 1988 the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) had considered military intervention as a means of thwarting Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega's increasing involvement in drug trafficking. After the May 1989 elections, which Noriega illegally nullified, the United States planned Operation NIMROD DANCER as a means of inserting reinforcements into Panama during a crisis. SOUTHCOM was not satis-
fied with NIMROD DANCER because it took one to two additional weeks to get supplies to the incoming troops. By that time, reasoned SOUTHCOM commander General Maxwell Thurman, the Panamanian Defense Force (PDF) would be ready. Lt. Gen. Carl W. Stiner, commander of XVIII Airborne Corps, noted that NIMROD DANCER would "not produce the desired results. We were not satisfied with the existing plan because it just didn't fit the situation."
U.S. forces had a distinct advantage because more than half of the troops used in Operation JUST CAUSE were based in Panama. Of 25,750 men and women from all services who participated in Operation JUST CAUSE, 13,000 were part of the usual garrison. Yet only 3,027 personnel were on the ground in Panama. Army units already in Panama were the 193d Infantry Brigade and Company C, 3d Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group. The rest of the force deployed from four bases inside CONUS. These included the XVIII Airborne Corps Command Group and the 1st Brigade, 82d Airborne Division, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina; one infantry brigade and one infantry battalion of the 7th Infantry Division from Fort Ord, California; one battalion from the 5th Infantry Division out of Fort Polk, Louisiana; and the 75th Ranger Regiment from Fort Lewis, Washington, and Forts Stewart and Benning, Georgia. At no time during the deployment did Fort Bragg, home of the XVIII Airborne Corps, lose its Division Ready Brigade (DRB), the rapid reaction force used to respond to crises on a moment's notice. Opposing the Americans was the PDF, made up of 3,500 army troops, 11,000 police and national guardsmen, plus another 1,000 men in the air force and navy.
Operation JUST CAUSE was launched shortly after midnight on 20 December 1989. During the first phase of the attack, 3,360 airborne troops, plus the 193d Infantry Brigade, closed in on Noriega 's stronghold in the center of Panama City. Within sixty hours after President Bush's decision to commit troops, 12,000 reinforcements from CONUS had arrived in Panama. On 3 January 1990 General Noriega, who had take n refuge in the Vatican consulate, surrendered to U.S. troops. After a mopping-up period, President Bush declared Operation JUST CAUSE finished on 31 January, and most of FORSCOM's troops began going home. Casualty figures were 23 American dead (18 Army casualties) and 330 wounded (262 Army casualties). An estimated 314 Panamanian soldiers died and 129 were wounded. Two U.S. Army Rangers were report e d killed by friendly fire, and another 15 soldiers were wounded.
Following Operation JUST CAUSE, FORSCOM units supported SOUTHCOM's Operation PROMOTE LIBERTY, a nation-building exercise designed to bolster the newly elected leadership in Panama. The missions of these units included protecting U.S. lives, property, and interests; defending the Panama Canal; and promoting Panamanian confidence in
its popularly elected government. The FORSCOM contingent included a light infantry battalion from the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), an aviation team of fourteen UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the 7th Infantry Division (Light), an aviation battalion headquarters, and four military police companies. By mid-1990 the deployed strength was 1,185 personnel, though that number was reduced steadily throughout the remainder of the year.
In addition to operations in Panama, FORSCOM units participated in a number of civic actions and drug interdiction operations. In the spring of 1990, personnel from the Second Army aided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in disaster relief following severe flooding in Alabama. In June aviation units from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, helped relieve citizens left homeless by tornados in southern Indiana. In northern California and eastern Oregon, Army personnel from Fort Ord, California , and Fort Lewis, Washington, supported firefighting efforts. Early in FY 90 FORSCOM supported 35 counternarcotic operations; in FY91 the figure jumped to 164. Two FORSCOM operations in support of LANTCOM, Operation BAHAMAS and TURKS CAICOS and Operation BLUEWATER, ran through 1991 and continued into the next fiscal year.
FORSCOM units had no sooner completed Operation JUST CAUSE and various civic action projects than they were alerted to bolster Operation DESERT SHIELD, the U.S. response to Iraqi aggression in Kuwait. Beginning 6 August 1990, FORSCOM formed a battle staff with 24-hour support to monitor deployment to the Persian Gulf. The battle staff remained in place throughout FY 90. According to FORSCOM commander General Edwin H. Burba, Jr., FORSCOM provided oversight for most of the Army's mobilization and deployment effort. General Burba further said that "CONUS Armies were clearly the workhorses of the operation." In excess of 140,000 active component soldiers from more than 5 divisions, along with their affiliated combat support and combat service support units, were sent from CONUS to the Persian Gulf. FORSCOM also called up more than 145,000 National Guardsmen and Army reservists who served either in CONUS, the Persian Gulf, or Europe.
On 1 October 1990, Army Chief of Staff General Carl E. Vuono directed the FORSCOM commander to establish the U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) as a major subordinate command. On 31 January 1991, FORSCOM provided a USARC Concept Plan (CONPLAN) that HQDA approved on 14 March. The CONPLAN called for transition of operational functions from FORSCOM and Fourth U.S. Army to USARC from April through September 1991 that would culminate in assumption of command and control of the Fourth Army Reserve units by USARC on 1 October 1991. In addition, First and Second Armies would gradually transfer Reserve functions to USARC during the peri-
No area within the U.S. Army 's international scope of responsibilities has been more affected by the end of the Cold War than Europe. Post-World War II planning centered on the defense of Western Europe from a Soviet onslaught, with the United States contributing the major share of troops on the continent. During the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact began a program of enlargement, reorganization, and vigorous modernization of their armed forces and thereby posed a significant challenge to the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). By 1990 all of that had changed.
In FY 90 the American NATO contingent USAREUR consisted of V and VII Corps, the Berlin Brigade, and the 3d Brigade of the 2d Armored Division, which was situated on the northern edge of the defensive line. Each corps consisted of one infantry division, one armored division, and an armored cavalry regiment. In FY 91, following its deployment to the Persian Gulf and subsequent involvement in Operation DESERT STORM, VII Corps returned to Europe, packed up its equipment, and redeployed to the United States. Despite the reduction in U.S. Forces in NATO, General Crosbie E. Saint, USAREUR commander, regarded continued American commitment to Europe as essential: "USAREUR's forward edge became freedom's frontier," he wrote in October 1990, "and those who served became the guarantors of peace with an unblemished 45-year record."
Unlike in other regions of the world, the downsizing trend in Europe began early. In December 1987 the United States and the Soviet Union signed the INF Treaty, and beginning in June 1988, both short- and intermediate- range missiles were withdrawn from the European continent. In exchange for Soviet elimination of SS-4, SS-5, SS-12, SS-20, and SS-23 missiles, the United States removed the Pershing II system, as well as ground-launched cruise missiles. USAREUR removed the last Pershing II launcher on 17 April 1991, and inactivated the 56th Field Artillery Command, which operated all Pershing II missile sites in West Germany, on 31 May.
Other ongoing weapons removal projects also had their roots in the arms negotiation programs of the Reagan administration. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl agreed to remove all chemical weapons from European soil by 1992. Called Operation STEEL BOX, the joint removal effort took 23,000 U.S. and German soldiers to implement. The chemical weapons were removed by
members of the 59th Ordnance Brigade, the 21st Theater Army Area Command (TAACOM), the 7th Medical Command, the 5th Signal Command, and the 56th Field Artillery Command. Extensive planning and preparations utilized support from all seven German Laender ("states") as well as local police, civil officials, fire fighters, and disaster and relief agencies. Operation STEEL BOX was completed between June and September 1990, more than a year ahead of schedule.
Events concerning the future of conventional forces in Europe were also under way beginning in the late 1980s. During 1989 the Bush administration reaffirmed the conventional wisdom that the capability of the Warsaw Pact to launch a surprise attack remained the greatest threat to peace in Europe. The Warsaw Pact felt similarly threatened by NATO. Both NATO and Warsaw Pact policymakers used a new negotiating tactic in agreeing to eliminate the Communist bloc's offensive advantage by establishing force parity between the rival alliances. In March 1989 CFE talks began in earnest. Both sides agreed that the Warsaw Pact's numerical superiority mandated that force reductions be asymmetrical, a concession that the Soviet Union had never made. The CFE talks went forward in good faith, but announced voluntary troop withdrawals from Europe by both the Soviet Union and the United States in 1990 shifted the emphasis of CFE to conventional arms reductions.
Despite developments on the arms negotiations front, USAREUR continued to maintain peak readiness in FY 90 and 91 and at the same time prepared for the drawdown. General Saint managed a delicate balance between readiness and drawdown by aiming for what he called "a single capable corps" to maintain the forward American presence in Europe. In August 1990 the Bush administration announced a 30,000-personnel cut, but Iraq's invasion of Kuwait shifted USAREUR's focus from drawdown planning to supporting the coalition in the Persian Gulf. USAREUR support for Operation DESERT SHIELD began immediately after the President's decision to commit forces. On 14 August 1990, V Corps' 12th Aviation Brigade was alerted for deployment, and on 28 August it began to move. Medical detachments, aviation support, and nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) teams from both V and VII Corps were among the European Theater troops sent to support CENTCOM. In the face of Iraq's continued intransigence, USAREUR was ordered on 8 November to provide CENTCOM with a mobile armored corps . USAREUR selected VII Corps as the administrative unit, with armored divisions coming from V and VII Corps. USAREUR sent more than 87,000 personnel to support the war effort.
The 2d Armored Cavalry regiment led the deployment and arrived for transport within one hundred hours of notification. Over the next 42 days more than 31,000 vehicles, including 935 tanks, 829 Bradley fighting
vehicles, and 288 artillery pieces, were deployed by sea. Soldiers and additional materiel were flown in on 437 aircraft from five ports of embarkation. Total USAREUR contributions to Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM included 95 battalions of 87,800 soldiers, 4,600 tracked vehicles, 27,300 wheeled vehicles, and 197,000 tons of ammunition. The mass deployment from Europe to the Persian Gulf had a serious impact on USAREUR theater missions. As compensation, USAREUR received a backfill of forty-one reserve components units, as well as medical, transportation, and ammunition support. Protecting USAREUR facilities and dependent communities from terrorist attack became a primary mission for those troops in Europe. Key facilities and housing areas were guarded around the clock by 19,000 American soldiers, with additional support from German police units.
In the post-Operation DESERT STORM environment, USAREUR continued to execute the twin missions of redeploying VII Corps to Germany while simultaneously drawing down the total force structure in Europe. According to General Saint, sound training provided the basis for USAREUR's success in both undertakings. USAREUR's comprehensive training program emphasized multiechelon exercises that stressed short-notice transitions from base areas to the front lines. Units were trained either to move to a designated theater, as during Operation DESERT SHIELD, or to march 200 or more kilometers, and then fight. During the past two years USAREUR has stressed training aids as a means of addressing modern concerns, such as host nation constraints, environmental issues, and excessive costs. This new emphasis on training aids, devices, simulators, and simulations (TADSS) has gone a long way toward enhancing both individual and unit skills in a changing training environment.
In January 1990 USAREUR established CENTURION SHIELD, an integrated computer simulation, with REFORGER (return of forces to Germany) 90 exercises. Computers were used in a wide variety of scenarios to duplicate problems faced by division and corps commanders and their staffs. Compared to REFORGER 88, CENTURION SHIELD trained 40 percent more headquarters personnel through simulation and actual field exercises and reduced the amount of maneuver damage by 60 percent. In 1991 and 1992, simulation continued to be a key training device at echelons above brigade. Divisions and corps developed command and staff functions at simulation centers using scenarios that emphasized agility and synchronization on a nonlinear battlefield. TADSS strategy above brigade used Corps Battle Simulation (CBS) to duplicate tactical operations within the deployed headquarters and thereby eliminated the maneuver damage usually associated with large-scale exercises. REFORGER 92 used CBS and integrated a two-corps exercise as a replacement for maneuvering troops. Theater and NATO group exercises utilized simulations at the Warrior
Preparation Center (WPC), a joint training facility that simulates scenarios involving a transition from peacetime to wartime logistics, and advanced multicorps AirLand Battle tactics.
Despite the emphasis on simulations, USAREUR continued to recognize the need for conventional training events. Live gunnery training remained a priority, and training evolved to stress realistic scenarios over range gunnery. The pinnacle of tank and Bradley gunnery skill was the Army Training and Evaluation Program (ARTEP), which emphasized both unit fire and maneuver, with crews receiving tactical after-action reviews of gunnery performance. According to USAREUR trainers, ARTEP fired fewer live rounds per tube annually, yet achieved better training results by firing direct support missions. As part of additional training, Seventh Army Training Command sponsored tactical competitions, such as the Cavalry Cup, the Infantry Skills Competition, the Stinger Shootout, and the Sapper Stakes, all of which emphasized individual skills as well as the teamwork necessary for effective small-unit performance in wartime.
The combination of effective training and battle experience during Operation DESERT STORM prepared USAREUR for the difficult task of adjusting to changing realities in Europe. Although troop reductions were inevitable, the end of FY 91 saw USAREUR continue to strive for a balance between force reduction and battle readiness. The AirLand Battle-Future concept being developed by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) placed increased importance upon highly mobile and self-contained corps. In General Saint's words, "the Capable Corps . . . will be a mobile, lethal fighting machine capable of rapidly focusing combat power as part of a multinational task force or as a national European-based, forward-deployed contingency corps."
The War in the Persian Gulf
Iraq attacked Kuwait in the early morning on 2 August 1990 with more than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers spearheaded by three armored divisions of the Republican Guard. On 7 August, after receiving a request for assistance from the Saudi government, President Bush ordered deployment of U.S. Forces to the region. An advance team from the 82d Airborne Division arrived on the ground in Saudi Arabia within thirty-one hours of the initial alert order. Operation DESERT SHIELD had begun. During a seven-month period beginning in August 1990, more than 500,000 troops and their equipment were deployed to Saudi Arabia from the United States and U.S. bases overseas. Transporting these quantities of people and materiel involved building up a massive logistical system over an 8,700- mile supply line from CONUS, as well as planning and orchestrating a
joint air, land, and sea campaign against the fourth largest army in the world. In addition, all of this was accomplished in one of the harshest environments on earth.
The Army had prepared for the crisis it faced. In July 1990 CENTCOM, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, completed Exercise INTERNAL LOOK 90, which presented a scenario similar to the one unfolding in Kuwait. In addition, the Third Army commander, Lt. Gen. John J. Yeosock, who had completed a tour as project manager for the Saudi Army National Guard in 1983 and had trained and equipped much of the Saudi ground force, recognized the complexities of an operation in Southwest Asia. Based partially on these experiences, CENTCOM commander General H. Norman Schwarzkopf chose to organize his forces as either a service component command, such as Army Forces, U.S. Central Command (ARCENT), or as a functional command, such as Special Operations Command, Central Command (SOCCENT). General Yeosock believed this would ensure that one Army commander was responsible for all Army missions in the theater, except for operational control of special operations forces.
CENTCOM decided to structure Third Army as a CENTCOM Army component command, a theater army in Southwest Asia, and a numbered field army. General Yeosock saw this as crucial for coordinated coalition combat operations and observed that the "key to successful operational command was the interaction of the two command posts, the main and the mobile, and the continuous interface with ARCENT liaison officers." If CENTCOM and Third Army managed the theater, tactical war fighting was left largely to the corps. The XVIII Airborne Corps and the VII Corps balanced the missions, cared for soldiers, and executed the commander's intent.
The key element between theater and corps was ARCENT. It developed the theater logistics concept and ensured that all Army operations were closely coordinated with operations in the other services. It is axiomatic that all military operations inevitably depend upon logistics for success. As Operation DESERT SHIELD progressed, the Army modernized its units as they arrived in theater and made a concerted effort to equip arriving soldiers with the best weapons systems available. As a result, many units received the most modern equipment in the U.S. arsenal before going into battle. For example, the Army replaced its older tanks with more than a thousand Abrams M1A1 tanks, enough to equip three divisions and one armored cavalry regiment. In addition, almost six hundred M2/M3A2 Bradley fighting vehicles and more than a hundred Armored Combat Earthmovers (Aces) and one thousand Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTTs) were added to the CENTCOM inventory. Without this infusion of new equipment, the sweeping
flanking movement executed by the XVIII Airborne and VII Corps to defeat the Republican Guard divisions in southern Iraq would have been far more difficult.
Operation DESERT STORM began early on 17 January 1991 when eight AH-64 Apache helicopters from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) destroyed two Iraqi radar facilities with Hellfire missiles. For the next thirty-eight days, 17 January through 23 February 1991, coalition air power took the initiative by destroying critical Iraqi targets and neutralizing Republican Guard units. As the air attack continued, allied ground forces completed battle preparations and positioned units at forward assembly areas. The Army moved two entire corps and approximately 65,000 armored and support vehicles from defensive positions in eastern Saudi Arabia to the forward assembly area west of Hafar al Batin. According to an Army after-action report, "The move continued twenty-four hours a day for two weeks and, with a vehicle passing checkpoints every fifteen seconds, traffic on the main supply routes (MSRs) required extremely careful management."
Throughout the buildup, Army elements engaged in a counter-reconnaissance battle with Iraqi forces in an attempt to deny the enemy information on the disposition of allied forces. The Army made helicopter raids and conducted armored reconnaissance forays into Iraq and Kuwait on intelligence-gathering missions. OH-58D Kiowa Warrior and AH-64 Apache helicopters were used extensively to pinpoint and engage enemy observation posts. During this period, the 11th and 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigades used the Patriot air defense system, several times a day in some instances, to intercept Iraqi Scud missile attacks against Saudi Arabia and Israel.
On 24 February the final phase of Operation DESERT STORM began. The primary mission of this phase was to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, but in order to accomplish this, coalition forces had to defeat Republican Guard divisions inside southern Iraq. The plan called for a supporting attack along the Ku wait-Saudi Arabia border by the I Marine Expeditionary Force and Arab coalition forces, while two corps of about 200,000 coalition soldiers conducted the main attack by sweeping around the Iraqi flank to the west to isolate enemy forces in Ku wait from reinforcements. Once accomplished, the Army would turn its attention toward destroying the Republican Guard.
The thrust of the attack was on both flanks, with a feint in the center. On the west flank the XVIII Airborne Corps committed two divisions. The French 6th Light Armored Division (the "Dauget" Division), supported by the 2d Brigade of the 82d Airborne Division, attacked and secured As Salman Airfield inside Iraq. This marked the westernmost point of the coalition attack. Just to the east, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) launched one of the largest air assault operations in history and secured a
forward operating base deep inside Iraq. The division's success provided other coalition forces with a base for follow-on operations aimed at severing communications and supplies between Baghdad and Iraqi forces inside Kuwait.
On the eastern flank, the 1st and 2d Marine Divisions, supported by the Tiger Brigade of the 2d Armored Division as well as elements of the Saudi Army National Guard, pushed north into Kuwait. In the center, the 1st Cavalry Division feinted toward the Wadi al Batin as part of a deception aimed at drawing Iraqi attention away from the main thrust to the west. This feint played an important role in keeping Iraqi forces off-balance in the crucial opening hours of the ground war. According to the Army's after-action analysis, "When coalition forces swept in on Iraqi defenses from the west, they found them oriented to the east and south, allowing the allies to attack from the flanks and rear."
Such early successes allowed the theater commander to accelerate the coalition timetable by fourteen hours. The XVIII Airborne Corps skirted Iraqi defenses with the 24th Infantry Division and the 3d Armored Cavalry regiment and quickly seized key objectives inside Iraq. To the east, in the VII Corps area of responsibility, the 2d Armored Cavalry regiment spearheaded a thrust by the 1st and 3d Armored Divisions deep into Iraq, while the 1st Infantry Division penetrated the Iraqi defenses and opened twenty-four lanes through enemy obstacles and minefields in eight hours. The penetration of Iraqi defenses allowed other coalition forces to attack through the breach, secure the corps eastern flank, and begin the attack into Kuwait. By early morning on 28 February the Republican Guard units were effectively routed, while the remnants of the Iraqi army inside Kuwait were fleeing or surrendering to coalition forces. At 0500 on 28 February, one hundred hours from the start of the ground campaign, the coalition halted all offensive operations.
The Pacific and Far East
Despite the former Soviet Union's retreat from the Pacific Ocean area, the region continued to play an important role in American commitment overseas. In 1990, U.S. Army, Pacific (USARPAC), commander, Lt. Gen. Claude M. Kicklighter, noted that Asia deserved as much attention as Europe and the Soviet Union. "Of the six power centers emerging in our new multipolar world (Europe, the United States, Japan, the USSR, the People's Republic of China, and India)," observed General Kicklighter, "all but Europe are in the Pacific-Asia-Indian Ocean region." The Pacific region is both vast and varied. USARPAC's area of responsibility extends from Alaska in the far north and from the western coasts of North, Central, and South America to the eastern shores of Africa, and south to Antarctica.
In between lie Australia, Hawaii, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, and most of the Asian mainland. Eighth United States Army (EUSA) is the Army component responsible for the Korean peninsula. Climate varies from the snow-covered, sub-zero polar regions to the tropics of Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. Three-fifths of the world's population and one-third of the earth's surface, along with much of its strategic resources, are encompassed within USARPAC. In addition, seven of the world's largest armies lie within the Pacific region.
On 30 August 1990, Department of the Army General Order No. 13 redesignated Western Command (WESTCOM) as USARPAC. The order combined current WESTCOM forces with U.S. Army, Japan, and IX Corps and its subordinate forces into a single entity. As a ready operational force, USARPAC includes the 25th Infantry Division, based in Hawaii; the 6th Infantry Division in Alaska; and U.S. Army, Japan. The 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, in Okinawa provides a special operations capability to the theater. USARPAC's mission is to ensure regional stability and the continued growth of Asia's developing democracies within the existing network of bilateral friendships and alliances. However, the region's diversity and lack of cultural homogeneity preclude an overarching alliance like NATO.
Joint training exercises provide USARPAC with its best tool for maintaining contact with regional armies. "Interoperability with allied and friendly armies throughout the Pacific-Asia-Indian Ocean region is a major USARPAC objective," observed General Kicklighter. In this spirit, USARPAC conducted several diverse exercises during 1990. In Alaska, Operation ARCTIC WARRIOR was conducted to evaluate Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (CINCPAC), warfighting plans for the cold and hazardous northeast Pacific, Alaska, and the Aleutian Island chain. The 6th Infantry Division was the principal ground force in this exercise. In Southeast Asia, COBRA GOLD provided units of the 25th Infantry Division and the 45th Support Group with realistic training in the jungles of Thailand. Operation TEAM SPIRIT, a yearly exercise in South Korea, directed by the JCS, provided units outside of the Korean theater with an opportunity to deploy in an area of potential future conflict. Finally, during Exercise ORIENT SHIELD, USARPAC active and reserve units deployed from Hawaii and Alaska to the Japanese island of Hokkaido, where they conducted training with elements of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF).
In 1991 USARPAC found its mission largely unchanged. Incoming USARPAC commander Lt. Gen. Johnnie H. Corns continued past programs, though Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM added an opportunity to put years of training to good use. Pre-positioning (PREPO) ships, managed by USARPAC and based in Diego Garcia, were among the first
support vessels to arrive in Saudi Arabia. In addition, USARPAC provided CENTCOM with critical personnel and equipment, including CH-47 Chinook helicopters, and crews from Alaska and infantry platoons from Hawaii. As of April 1991 a USARPAC communications unit still manned a strategic satellite terminal in Riyadh. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the deemphasis of nuclear and chemical weapons, USARPAC found itself well-equipped to handle tons of weapons being deactivated as part of tactical arms agreements between NATO and the former Warsaw Pact nations. In November 1990 the Army Chemical Activity, Pacific, located on Johnston Atoll, received shipments of chemical munitions from Europe. Artillery shells filled with GB and VX nerve agents were stored safely in concrete bunkers for eventual destruction.
Despite the Persian Gulf war and changes in Eastern Europe, USARPAC continued to emphasize joint training exercises throughout the Pacific region. In addition to the large annual troop exercises such as COBRA GOLD and ORIENT SHIELD, USARPAC sponsored command post exercises (CPX) in Australia (TROPIC LIGHTNING CPX) and Singapore (TIGER BALM CPX). In May 1991 USARPAC turned its attention from combat support to disaster relief when a deadly cyclone struck the underdeveloped nation of Bangladesh. USARPAC was part of a joint task force deployed from Pacific bases to aid thousands of Bangladeshi refugees. In addition, USARPAC soldiers traveled to the Philippines in June 1991 in the wake of the Mount Pinatubo volcano eruption to aid in evacuation of American families and recovery operations.
Another facet of USARPAC's mission in FY 91 was an increased emphasis on counternarcotics operations. Designated as CINCPAC leader in ground-based counternarcotics operations, USARPAC coordinated closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities in an attempt to stop the flow of drugs from centers in South and Southeast Asia. In the United States, USARPAC aided in the destruction of marijuana valued at $1.1 billion during Operation WIPEOUT in 1990 on the island of Hawaii. Federal and state agencies declared that the operation succeeded in eliminating 90 percent of Hawaii's marijuana crop.
Within EUSA's area of responsibility, the Korean theater is by far the most volatile. Forty years of uneasy peace between the democratic Republic of Korea (ROK) in the south and the Communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north has been maintained largely because of the presence of U.S. Troops on the Korean peninsula. Beginning in 1990, the changes brought about by the breakup of the Soviet Union began to affect even the radical regime in North Korea. Even though it had failed to conquer South Korea during the 1950s, the Communist government in Pyongyang had not renounced the use of force to reunite the two Koreas. With a population of only twenty-two million,
the DPRK boasts the world's fifth largest military establishment. Active units number in excess of one million men supported by an estimated reserve force of five million. In addition to more than 3,500 tanks, the DPRK maintains a 2:1 advantage over the ROK in artillery, and has twice as many aircraft, and a navy which is considerably larger than the ROK maritime forces. Most ominous, in the past ten years the DPRK has deployed more than 65 percent of its forces within one hundred kilometers of the demilitarized zone (DMZ).
A cornerstone of American strategy in the Pacific is its commitment to the defense of South Korea, and forward deployment of American forces there is a fundamental ingredient. Most ROK units and all U.S. 2d Infantry Division battalions rotate through a tour on the DMZ each year. DMZ training is supplemented by combined exercises designed to enhance cooperation between U.S. And ROK forces. TEAM SPIRIT 90 included more than 13,500 U.S. Air Force personnel with 160 aircraft, as well as units from the 25th Infantry Division, the 29th Separate Brigade from the Hawaii National Guard, a 7th Infantry Division battalion, elements of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade from Okinawa, and 26 ships from the Seventh Fleet. The ROK provided 3 corps-size elements, for a total participation of 191,000.
Modernization has provided another foundation for force readiness in Korea. Recent ROK ground forces modernization improvements that are in process include mechanization of infantry units, expansion and modernization of artillery and rocket forces, expansion of tank forces, formation of new armored brigades and mechanized divisions, fielding of new tactical intelligence systems, and expansion of a modernized helicopter fleet. During FY 89 and FY 90, the 2d Infantry Division received M109A2 and A3 self-propelled 155-mm. howitzers. Battlefield communications were also upgraded with the introduction of the single-channel ground and airborne radio system (SINCGARS). Within the combined battle staffs, steps were taken to streamline the intelligence support system with new software and a theater automated command and control information management system (TACCIMS). In FY 91 the 2d Division fielded a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) battalion and continued to perfect SINCGARS.
In 1990 the White House and Congress established a series of national security objectives for Korea. Commonly called the Nunn-Warner Report, it directed a restructuring of the defense relationship between the United States and the ROK to tilt the balance of leadership and responsibility toward the ROK. As FY 91 ended, phase one of the Nunn-Warner Report was well under way. It mandated the appointment of ROK general officers to head both the Combined Forces Command (CFC) Ground Component Command and the United Nations Command Military
Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) by the end of 1992. Nunn-Warner also called for disestablishment of the U.S.-ROK Combined Field Army and phasing out 5,000 U.S. Army and 2,000 U.S. Air Force personnel from U.S. Forces, Korea. In March 1991 a ROK general officer became senior officer of UNCMAC, and the Combined Field Army was scheduled to disband by the end of FY 92. Continued North Korean intransigence on reunification and nuclear proliferation, however, forced postponement of the withdrawal of 5,000 Army personnel from South Korea.