This year's participants include Australia, Chile, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, Thailand, and the United States. In all, RIMPAC 2010 will involve over 150 aircraft, 34 ships, 5 submarines, and 20,000 personnel.
The training strengthens international cooperation among the participating nations to ensure safety of major sea lines of communication in strategic and tactical maritime operations. The joint maneuver plays a critical role in monitoring hot spots along the Pacific rim, such as the Korean peninsula and the increased naval activity by the People's Republic of China.
The U.S.S. Freedom (LCS 1), the first of the U.S. Navy's new Littoral Combat Ships, makes its debut in Hawaii during RIMPAC 2010. Designed to operate in shallow waters along the coast, the Freedom and her sister ships move swiftly from mission to mission. Depending on the need, she uses interchangeable equipment packages, such as anti-mine, anti-submarine, or anti-ship warfare. These small agile ships allow movement close to shore in congested sea areas to counter various threats, including terrorism and piracy. The Freedom recently demonstrated her effectiveness in operations with allied navies during a brief exercise with Mexico in April of this year.
In 1825, Andrew Bloxam of the British ship HMS Blonde conducted a survey of the harbor, then known as the Pearl River inlet and declared that "he was convinced that the deep water inside had enough room to float the entire British navy." At the height of World War II, that theory was put to the test when hundreds of ships filled Pearl Harbor in preparation for one Pacific battle after another.
As I observe the busy harbor, full of ships preparing for RIMPAC, I'm reminded of Pearl Harbor's continued significance as the strategic and geographic center of naval operations in the Pacific.