US Pacific Command gets new name and new commander

Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), is piped aboard during the USPACOM change of command ceremony. Photo: US Navy

A change of command ceremony on Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam on May 30 saw the US Pacific Command (PACOM) welcome a new commander as Adm. Phil Davidson relieved Adm. Harry Harris.

In addition to receiving a new commander, PACOM also received a new name.

Presiding over the ceremony, US defense secretary James N. Mattis announced that PACOM is changing its name to US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM).

“In recognition of the increasing connectivity between the Indian and Pacific oceans, today we rename the U.S. Pacific Command to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command,” said Mattis. “Over many decades this command has repeatedly adapted to changing circumstances and today carries that legacy forward as America focuses west.”

“For more than 70 years, the Indo-Pacific has been largely peaceful,” said Adm. Phil Davidson, the first USINDOPACOM commander. “In most ways, this was made possible by two things: the commitment of free nations to the free and open international order… and the credibility of the combat power within U.S. Pacific Command… To our allies here in the Indo-Pacific, you will have no better ally. To our partners, I look forward to advancing our partnership in a way that serves our mutual interests.”

Davidson, the 25th PACOM commander, takes charge after a successful tour as Commander, US Fleet Forces Command/Naval Forces US Northern Command in Norfolk, Va.

His previous command assignments include command of Carrier Strike Group 8/Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and USS Taylor (FFG 50).

Ashore, Davidson has served in fleet, interagency and joint tours as a flag officer. He was previously the director, Maritime Operations, U. S. Fleet Forces Command, the senior military advisor to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) at the State Department, and the deputy director for Strategy and Policy in the Joint Staff/J-5.

The outgoing commander, Adm. Harry Harris, was born in Japan and reared in Tennessee and Florida. He is a 1978 graduate of the US Naval Academy and began his tour as the 24th PACOM commander in 2015.

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