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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, June 20, 2002

RIMPAC exercise is crucial in terrorism age

Given the global pressures of the war against terrorism, it is understandable that this year's Rim of the Pacific, or "RIMPAC 2002" joint military training exercise in Hawaiian waters, is somewhat smaller than usual.

As reported by Military Writer William Cole, the size of the exercise is down substantially from two years ago.

That makes it none the less important, both in terms of military readiness and (to a much lesser degree) as an economic booster for the Islands. More than 11,000 personnel will be on hand for the multinational exercises, and many will spend time and money in Hawai'i before or after the training.

Nine nations will participate in this year's training. One of the key values of such multinational events is the improvement it promises in understanding, transparency and cooperation among military organizations with different systems and even different cultures.

The time to work out such kinks is in peacetime and during training exercises.

Such "cross-cultural" understanding was crucial even when training focused primarily on the possibility of force-against-force hostilities. It becomes even more so when the prospect is action against shadowy terrorist groups, who can operate anywhere and often are imbedded in host cultures.

In this kind of scenario, there is no margin for misunderstanding or lack of communication.

We wish this year's RIMPAC exercise well and trust that as it — and future such exercises — goes forward that training will concentrate on winning not just yesterday's wars, but tomorrow's.