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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Military opens Warfighting Center at Ford Island

Associated Press

Top U.S. commanders in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday opened a $48 million high-tech facility they plan to use for exercises, training and battle simulations.
The Pacific Warfighting Center may also be used to direct forces during disaster relief efforts and war, if needed.

Navy Adm. Robert Willard, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said the center has already helped relief efforts in Haiti.
Normally staffed with about 56 people, the facility is capable of holding hundreds more as the need arises.
In a few months, the center will host about 500 people for what Willard called a “large scale command post exercise” involving forces in Hawaii and the Western Pacific region.
“We can take a command post or a field training exercise to a very, very high levels as a consequence of what this facility provides,” Willard said after a dedication ceremony for the center.
The military spent $25.8 million for construction and $22 million on telecommunications infrastructure for the building on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, noted the military is already able to direct forces from the Pacific Command’s headquarters at Camp H.M. Smith but there isn’t enough room there for training.
The warfighting center also has room for the military to run exercises with allies like Japan and South Korea, the senator said.
Inouye said the facility would keep officers keyed in with other U.S. military operations around the world.
“There was a time when I was young when the Pacific War was a Pacific war,” said the 85-year-old Inouye, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in World War II. “They could ignore the European war and vice versa. But today whatever happens in Kabul has something to do here.”
Willard acknowledged Inouye’s role in arranging funding for the center by introducing him at the ceremony as the “one man” who enabled the center to be built.
Inouye is chairman of both the Senate Appropriations Committee and the defense appropriations subcommittee.