U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) falls far short of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets it needs to keep close tabs on potential adversaries in its area of responsibility, according to PACOM’s commander.
Only about “a tenth of my requirements are fulfilled,” Navy Adm. Harry Harris testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee April 27. “I don’t have what I need. I don’t have the ability to persistently watch my adversaries all over the Indo-Asia-Pacific — over half the globe — 24/7, and I need it 24/7.”
Harris attributed the shortfall to the command’s need to share ISR assets with other combatant commands, including U.S. Central Command, which has been strained by more than 15 years of continuous combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
“There’s not enough ISR to go around to meet all of the requirements of all of the combatant commanders,” Harris told senators.
PACOM must monitor China, North Korea, Russia and violent extremist organizations, including the Islamic State. Much of the command’s focus is undersea, with China, North Korea and Russia possessing 160 of the roughly 230 submarines that operate in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, according to the admiral’s written testimony. He said “potential adversary submarine activity has tripled” since 2008.
Harris said the P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, the Virginia-class attack submarine and the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System, including the Surface Towed Array Sensor Systems, all play key roles in PACOM’s ISR mission. He endorsed the Navy’s recent force structure assessment, which calls for, among other things, increasing the number of attack submarines to 66, up from 52 today.