Maui News

Sen. Hirono Endorses Admiral Aquilino at Confirmation Hearing for Commander of US Indo-Pacific Command

March 24, 2021, 12:30 PM HST
* Updated March 24, 12:31 PM
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Sen. Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaiʻi introduced and endorsed Admiral John C. Aquilino at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Photo Courtesy: Sen. Hirono

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, (D-HI) Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee, introduced and endorsed the nomination of Admiral John C. Aquilino to serve as the next commander of US Indo-Pacific Command during his hearing Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

From Sen. Hirono’s remarks:

“At a time when we are confronting an increasingly aggressive China, and looking to deepen our defense ties with allies in the Indo-Pacific, it is imperative we have an experienced leader at Indo-Pacific Command capable of meeting the urgency and sensitivity of this moment. With this in mind, I would like to introduce and enthusiastically endorse today’s nominee – Admiral John C. Aquilino – to serve as the next commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command…

“I’ve gotten to work with Admiral Aquilino during his time in Hawaiʻi and know first-hand he believes in the power of working together to find whole-of-government solutions, the importance of our alliances and partnerships, and the imperative for a well-trained and postured force

“I’ve appreciated the interactions Admiral Aquilino and I have had on issues of importance to Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region including the strategically vital Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. In operating the Red Hill facility, the Navy has a critical responsibility to protect Oʻahu’s drinking water and keep the community updated. The Admiral knows the importance of transparent and open community engagement.   

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“Admiral Aquilino also has a personal appreciation of the significance of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to our community. The shipyard is our largest industrial employer with thousands of military and civilian workers who support our forces and the broader Indo-Pacific region to advance our strategic interests. Admiral Aquilino participated in shipyard visits with Senator Kaine, former Senator Perdue, and me over the past two years.

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“As evidenced throughout his years of service, Admiral Aquilino has demonstrated a deep understanding of Hawaiʻ’s strategic importance to our national security. And he advocates for capabilities and nurtures relationships to help Hawaiʻi fully realize its role in America’s continued access and influence in the Indo-Pacific…

“If you speak to those who serve in his command, you will find Admiral Aquilino has a deep and abiding care for his Sailors, civilians and their families by working to instill an environment of dignity and purpose.

“This care was evident in Admiral Aquilino’s actions after a gunman took the lives of Roldan Agustin and Vincent Kapoi Jr. – and injured another man – during the horrific shooting at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard on December 4, 2019.

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“Admiral Aquilino paid special care to the families of the victims and the shipyard community during this intense time of grief. A few months ago, he organized a memorial service marking the one-year anniversary of the tragic event and installed a memorial plaque to honor the lives and service of Mr. Agustin and Mr. Kapoi, Jr. 

“I am confident that after today’s hearing, my colleagues will join me in supporting Admiral Aquilino’s nomination to lead INDOPACOM. Thank you Mr. Chairman.”

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