The US Army 25th Infantry Division has been stationed in Hawaii since 1941 and is now the most important military force in the region. Maj. Gen Joseph Ryan recently issued a statement saying that despite the threats of aggression from nations seeking to change the world order in Asia, the 25th Infantry Division and its allies are ready for anything. His statements are part of a larger effort to reassure the allies and prepare them for potential combat scenarios.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Ryan, Commanding General of the US Army’s 25th Infantry Division based in Hawaii, said that American forces and their allies in Asia are ready for battle after years of joint combat exercises due to a network of US treaty alliances and defense partnerships upholding the international order providing a regional safeguard against potential aggressors like China and North Korea.

“I’m personally very buoyed by what I see by our allies and partners in this region and the way we’ve come together in response to aggression by the PRC, by North Korea to say, ‘We will not let that stand,'” Ryan told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday, using the acronym for China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Ryan’s statement confirms that America’s allies in Asia are prepared for any potential conflict should it arise, with countries seeking to change the world order through violence or intimidation tactics. The planned 500 minor and major combat exercises between American forces and Filipino forces in 2023 demonstrate that the US Army 25th Infantry Division is working hard to create an arc of alliances to counter such threats, ensuring that all parties involved are capable of defending their nation and interests should a conflict occur.

According to an analysis by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, training regimes like the ones planned between American and Filipino forces not only add to the deterrent effect against potential aggressors but also send a message of “strong cooperation and solidarity” among allies which can further strengthen trust among them. This type of collaboration is especially important given today’s volatile geopolitical context, where instability or aggression from one state could potentially have global consequences.

“That does provide some deterrent effect against an adversary in the region, who would look at that and say, ‘I don’t want to take a step that may cause a government, a politician, to decide to go because I don’t know that I can win if I’ve got to face that trained, ready force,'” Ryan said.

The type of training planned between American and Filipino forces is also necessary because it provides both sides with improved capabilities in defending themselves should a conflict arise. Filipino troops will be taught how to operate various weapons systems, which they can use if necessary, while American troops will be exposed to tactics they may need during war-like engagements. In addition, this exercise can help foster closer working relationships between both nations and greater interoperability among military personnel on both sides.

For its part, America stands ready to work with its allies in Asia as part of its overall security strategy toward maintaining peace throughout the region. This sentiment is echoed by other members of the alliance who pledge their full support for America’s efforts towards regional stability and security

According to research conducted by the International Center for Defense Studies, these joint exercises are essential in ensuring that both sides have sufficient tactical knowledge and weapons training to effectively counter any aggression they may face. The exercises also provide opportunities for other countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, to join with America and build their own security capabilities. 

Former Admiral Phil Davidson from US Indo-Pacific Command previously stated the importance of the US gaining stronger partnerships in APAC.

“We are accumulating risk that may embolden China to unilaterally change the status quo before our forces may be able to deliver an effective response,” Davidson told a Senate armed services committee hearing.

“I cannot for the life of me understand some of the capabilities that they’re putting in the field, unless it is an aggressive posture,” he said.

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This further reinforces how important it is for America to stand together with its allies if there is ever an attempt to disturb the international order through violence or intimidation tactics. 

Reassuring the Allies

US Army 25th Infantry Division
U.S. Army Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division participate in a leader development physical training event on Schofield Barracks (Source: U.S. Indo-Pacific Command/Flickr)

The US Army 25th Infantry Division is working with its allies to create an arc of alliances that can counter any potential threats from nations seeking to change the world order in Asia. 

“Does the backdrop of PRC aggression enter our minds when we train? Absolutely,” he said, and in the case of the Philippines, US forces needed to be ready to fulfill their obligations under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

“We feel duty-bound to ensure that the Philippines can maintain and will maintain their sovereignty,” Ryan said. “So aggression from the People’s Republic of China that makes our treaty ally uncomfortable makes us uncomfortable.”

The power of these exercises was demonstrated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014;. Although Russia was ultimately successful in occupying eastern Ukraine, its forces encountered much more resistance than expected due to the extensive training provided to Ukrainian troops after their invasion increased their capabilities and readiness for security contingencies. This serves as a reminder that war is complicated and violent; preparation is critical to minimize casualties on both sides during the conflict.

“I’m very comfortable that we’re ready but that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied. We can always get better,” said Ryan, who commands about 12,000 soldiers under his infantry division.

This provides us a glimpse into how America continues solidifying its position amongst its Asian allies through increased collaboration initiatives such as those highlighted above. By doing so, it seeks not only improved capabilities when it comes to defending itself should a conflict arise due to aggression or intimidation tactics employed by countries looking to change the current world order but also sends out a strong message about unity amongst all parties involved in promoting stability across Asia Pacific region for years into come.