Navy Agrees to Scale Down Rim of the Pacific 2020 Exercise
The Navy today made a decision to scale down the 2020 Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) and conduct at-sea-only events as Hawaiʻi continues to deal with COVID-19 response efforts in the islands.
The at-sea portion of the exercise will take place August 17-31.
“The at-sea-only construct for RIMPAC 2020 was developed to ensure the safety of all military forces participating by minimizing shore-based contingents. Commander, US Pacific Fleet crafted the modified RIMPAC plan as a way to conduct a meaningful exercise with maximum training value and minimum risk to the force, allies and partners, and the people of Hawaiʻi,” the Navy reported today.
Governor David Ige released a statement this evening saying:
“I’m pleased the Navy has agreed to postpone the RIMPAC 2020 exercise and will conduct the at-sea-portion this year to help keep Hawaiʻi safe as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m working closely with Adm. Davidson to monitor the situation. If conditions change later this summer, we will reassess and respond appropriately.”
US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) also released a statement saying:
“This is the right decision for the health and safety of Hawai‘i’s residents, our armed forces, and our allies. I thank Commander Davidson and Commander Aquilino for working with our state to find a solution that keeps people safe and maintains our military readiness.”
According to the Navy, RIMPAC 2020 is not scheduled to include social events ashore. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will be accessible for logistics support, with a minimal footprint of staff ashore for command and control, logistics, and other support functions, according to a Navy press release.
Commander US Pacific Fleet Adm. John Aquilino said, “In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that our maritime forces work together to protect vital shipping lanes and ensure freedom of navigation through international waters. And we will operate safely, using prudent mitigation measures.”