SASC Votes Paparo Nomination for INDOPACOM Out of Committee

February 27, 2024 5:26 PM
U.S. Capitol on Dec. 29, 2022. USNI News Photo

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted Adm. Samuel Paparo’s nomination to lead U.S. Indo-Pacific Command out of committee on Tuesday.
The upper chamber advanced a flew of nominations across the services. The nominations will now go to the Senate floor.

If confirmed, Paparo would replace Adm. John Aquilino as the head of INDOPACOM. The role is a three-year job and one that Aquilino has held since April 2021. Paparo has led U.S. Pacific Fleet since May 2021, when he replaced Aquilino.

Paparo appeared before the Senate panel earlier this month for his confirmation hearing, when he voiced concerns to lawmakers over the state of the U.S. civilian mariner sector and endorsed the Pentagon effort known as Replicator that seeks to quickly develop and field unmanned capabilities to the fleet.

“I think there are a number of initiatives, such as the Department of Defense’s Replicator initiative that seeks to gain scale with innovative practices and by closing on design and invoking small business and increasing the defense industrial base,” Paparo told SASC during his Feb. 1 confirmation hearing.

“I think another key point is to understand the opacity of the financial community and the extent to which investments in the [People’s Republic of China] – through their civil-military fusion – directly could confer to weapons building that could affect and could harm Americans on the battlefield.”

At PACFLEET, Paparo has overseen the first operational test of unmanned surface vehicles in the Western Pacific and has pushed for the rapid development of unmanned capabilities that could help the fleet thwart a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

“There are battlespaces where it may not be necessary to contest air and maritime superiority one for one,” Paparo said this month at the WEST 2024 conference, co-hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute and AFCEA. “But simply to deny its use to an enemy that wants to use that battlespace for its own purposes.”

“A principled highly effective concept of operations of sea denial, with unmanned undersea vessels, with smart undersea capabilities, with surface capabilities and aerial capabilities is the ability to meet some of the principles … which is don’t send a human being to do something dangerous that a machine can do better, faster, and more cheaply,” he added.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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