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Senate Confirms Adm. Phil Davidson to Lead Pacific Command

Adm. Phil Davidson takes a selfie with a sailor during Fleet Week New York 2017.

Adm. Phil Davidson takes a selfie with a sailor during Fleet Week New York 2017. US Navy Photo

Adm. Phil Davidson was confirmed to be the next commander of U.S. Pacific Command by the U.S. Senate on Thursday.

As the head of PACOM, countering increasingly active Chinese naval operations in the Pacific will be among the more high-profile priorities, but hardly the only challenge Davidson will face. During his recent Senate confirmation hearing, Davidson acknowledged the importance of being a diplomat in addition to a military leader of PACOM.

“I think It’s incredibly important to deal with China across the whole of our government. I intend to work closely with the State Department,” Davidson told Senators. “Additionally, it’s very, very important to have a network of allies and partners with us on this journey.”

Davidson heads to PACOM at a time the region is consistently in the news and home to some of the more pressing diplomatic and military challenges facing the U.S. The Navy has conducted several freedom of navigation operations past islands China has built in the South China Sea.

North Korea has also been a recent focus of U.S. military and diplomatic policy. Tensions on the peninsula appear to be relaxing now, but for much of the past year, rumors about possible U.S. operated preemptive or punitive military strikes against North Korea nuclear targets became so prevalent, Adm. Harry Harris, who Davidson will replace at PACOM, announced in March no such plan was in place.

Harris, is set to retire from the Navy after 40 years and is now being considered to be the next U.S. ambassador to South Korea. Originally, Harris had been nominated to serve as ambassador to Australia but had not yet been confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Current U.S. 6th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Christopher Grady was nominated to replace Davidson as the commander of Fleet Forces.

  • NavySubNuke

    Best of luck to the Admiral and his team – they certainly have their work cut out for them as they try to overcome the years of neglect caused by the Obama administration, the internal rot exposed by Fat Leonard, and a rising China bent on achieving regional dominance over the US.
    It is not an easy task by any means – especially in light of our incompetent congress’ inability to provide the necessary funding on time – but I don’t think the task is an impossible one. Japan, Australia, and South Korea are all good partners willing to pay their fair share and do what is needed. Additionally, there are other growing partnerships in the region, with countries like India and Vietnam who also have plenty of reasons to oppose China’s efforts, that can be used to further offset our troubles and ensure China doesn’t see a path to victory.