USINDOPACOM renamed, changes leadership

Adm. Phil Davidson, left, relieves Adm. Harry Harris, right, as commander of U.S. Indo-Pacifi c Command. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 James Mullen

Public Affairs Communication & Outreach

Adm. Phil Davidson relieved Adm. Harry Harris as commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), in a ceremony May 30 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis presided over the ceremony. During his remarks Mattis praised Harris’ tenure and highlighted the importance for strong leadership in the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility.

“PACOM is our primary combatant command, standing watch and intimately engaged with over half of the earth’s surface and its diverse population,” Mattis said. “The United States is today and has been for two centuries a Pacific nation.”

Harris, born in Japan and reared in Tennessee and Florida, is a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and began his tour as the 24th PACOM commander in 2015.

“Men and women of the U.S. Pacific Command, and your families…what you do on a daily basis is of fundamental importance to our nation’s defense. I’m proud to serve alongside you,” said Harris.

At a time of increasing contention in the region, Harris conveyed his respect and confidence in his successor to the critical post in the Indo-Pacific.

“Admiral Phil Davidson is well-suited to operate in the complex international milieu that is the Pacific Command in the 21st century,” said Harris.

“He understands completely both his strategic and operational responsibilities. I’m pleased, indeed gratified, that I leave this post in his hands…a battle-tested leader whose experiences and expertise span the globe in a multitude of important security and operational assignments.”

Davidson, a native of St. Louis and 1982 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, reflected on U.S. Pacific Command’s pivotal role in regional peace and security, and reiterated American commitment to the region and our allies and partners.

“For more than 70 years, the Indo-Pacific has been largely peaceful,” said Davidson.

“In most ways, this was made possible by two things: the commitment of free nations to the free and open international order … and the credibility of the combat power within U.S. Pacific Command … To our allies here in the Indo-Pacific, you will have no better ally. To our partners, I look forward to advancing our partnership in a way that serves our mutual interests.”

Davidson, the 25th PACOM commander, take schargeaftera successful tour as Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command/Naval Forces U.S. Northern Command in Norfolk, Va.

His previous command assignments include command of Carrier Strike Group 8/Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and USS Taylor (FFG 50).

Ashore, Davidson has served in fleet, inter-agency and joint tours as a flag officer. During the ceremony, Mattis announced that PACOM was changing its name as well as its commander.

“In recognition of the increasing connectivity between the Indian and Pacific oceans, today we rename the U.S. Pacific Command to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command,” Mattis said. “Over many decades this command has repeatedly adapted to changing circumstances and today carries that legacy forward as America focuses west.”

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