Okinawa, Japan --
KADENA AIR FORCE BASE, Okinawa, Japan- Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, hosted a warfare commanders conference October 4-5.
The conference consolidated ESG 7 warfare commanders to discuss warfighting concepts and best practices of expeditionary strike group operations.
“Synchronizing our warfare commanders on the challenges of the maritime environment and the nature of expeditionary operations in the Indo-Pacific region is imperative,” said Engdahl. This conference offered an open forum for warfare commanders and senior leaders to discuss regional strategies and concerns on common ground.”
Service members from III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) and supporting commands, staff from Task Forces 71, 75 and 76, Amphibious Squadron 11, Mine Counter Measures Squadron 7, Destroyer Squadron 7, Fleet Surgical Team 7, and Naval Beach Unit 7 attended this iteration to collaborate and share ideas.
“The warfare commanders conference provided an invaluable opportunity for the CTF 76 and III MEF Navy-Marine Corps team to collaborate on the challenging issues we collectively face in the Western Pacific,” said Maj Russell Fluker, III MEF, G-5, lead planner for Northeast Asia. “After two full days of presentations and discussion with more than 30 participants, I am walking away with not only a greater understanding of regional concerns, but a greater appreciation of perspective from our Navy counterparts.”
The conference presented concepts supporting the theater littoral warfare construct. Participants from the Navy and Marine Corps engaged in discussions on several topics and encouraged open dialogue how both forces can best integrate with joint forces and a globally unified network of allies and partners in the ever-changing security environment of the region.
"The challenges we see today are not the same ones from two decades ago, which changes our focus and objectives within the Indo-Pacific,” said LtCol Mike Chankji, ESG 7, Force Marine Officer. “As 7th Fleet’s amphibious force we must continue our close relationship with III MEF, as well as strengthen relationships with our naval counterparts across the region.”
As the sole expeditionary strike group, forward deployed in U.S. 7th Fleet, ESG 7 is responsible for conducting expeditionary warfare operations to support a full range of theater contingencies, from humanitarian and disaster relief operations to full combat operations. ESG 7 units are the key enabler for the Marines' expeditionary operations ashore that can quickly and decisively neutralize any adversary.
According to Col Patrick Eldridge, CTF 76 Deputy Commander for Integration, the conference achieved all of its objectives. “The value of bringing together key leaders from across the naval expeditionary force, both Navy and Marine, is critical to plan for potential conflicts in the region. Our focus for the conference was to build common understanding in terms of the adversary, the environment, and our naval warfighting concepts; and we did exactly that.”
“Alongside the rest of 7th Fleet and our Marine partners form III MEF, we aim to provide the Joint Force Commander a capability that is ready and postured to swiftly and violently come to the defense of any of our friends and allies in the region, or achieve any other mission our national leaders may direct,” said Eldridge.
ESG 7 is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners, and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.