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Encyclopedia > PACOM
The United States Pacific Command operates from suburban Honolulu in south central O'ahu at the Nimitz-MacArthur Pacific Command Center.

The United States Pacific Command, led by the Commander, Pacific Command also called USPACOM and CDRUSPACOM, is the supreme military authority for the various branches of the Armed Forces of the United States serving within its area of responsibility. Only the President of the United States, who is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and his council of joint chiefs has greater authority. It is the oldest and largest of the unified commands. Based in Honolulu, Hawai'i on the island of O'ahu, the United States Pacific Command's sphere of control extends from the west coast of the United States mainland to the east coast of Africa (excluding the waters north of 5 S and west of 68 E), encompassing all of Asia, Australia, East Africa and the Pacific Rim. It also has control over US military operations in the Pacific, including the state of Hawaii, Indian Oceans as well as over forces in Alaska.

The main combat power of PACOM is formed by U.S. Army Pacific, Marine Forces Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Air Forces Pacific.

Admiral Thomas Fargo, like all who assume the title of Commander, Pacific Command, is the supreme military authority of the United States over a vast territory that spans from Africa to the Pacific Rim and from the North Pole to the South Pole.

Area of Responsibility

Within the United States Pacific Command's area of jurisprudence are over fifty percent of the world's surface area —approximately 105 million square miles (nearly 169 million square kilometers)—, nearly sixty percent of the world's population, forty-three countries and their twenty territories and posessions as well as ten territories and posessions of the United States.

It is charged with preserving and protecting five out of seven mutual defense treaties signed by the United States with its allies:

  • U.S./Republic of the Philippines (Mutual Defense Treaty, 1952)
  • U.S./Australia/New Zealand (ANZUS - U.S., 1952)
  • U.S./Republic of Korea (Mutual Defense Treaty, 1954)
  • U.S./France/Australia/New Zealand/Thailand/Philippines (South East Asia Collective Defense, 1955)
  • U.S./Japan (Mutual Defense Treaty, 1960)

Thirty-five percent of the total trade the United States globally falls within the watch of the United States Pacific Command, amounting to more than $548 billion in 1998. Five of the world's largest militaries are monitored by the United States Pacific Command: People's Republic of China, Russia, India, North Korea and South Korea. In contrast, 19 percent of U.S. trade is with the European Union, 20 percent is with Canada, and 18 percent is with Latin America. Asia-Pacific nations, not including the U.S., account for about 34 percent of the Gross World Product (the U.S. accounts for 21 percent of GWP).

Admiral Fargo's office as Commander, Pacific Command is even respected by the People's Republic of China. Here, Fargo receives an honor guard of Communist forces on August 2, 2000.


Offices for the United States Pacific Command are based at the Nimitz-MacArthur Pacific Command Center at Camp H.M. Smith near suburban Salt Lake and Moanalua. The staff is comprised of over 530 air force, army, coast guard, marine corps and navy officers and enlisted personnel with the support of an additional 110 civilian personnel.


The United States Pacific Command was established on January 1, 1947 by President Harry Truman and was originally headquartered in the Salt Lake subdivision of Honolulu. It took control over all Armed Forces of the United States in what was once called the Pacific Theater during World War II. In 1972, the United States Pacific Command's responsibilities were greatly expanded to include the Indian Ocean, Southern Asia, and the Arctic. In 1976, it was again expanded to include parts of Africa. President Ronald Reagan expanded it again with the inclusion of the People's Republic of China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Mongolia and Madagascar. In 1989, actions were taken to clarify the extent of authority given to the Commander, Pacific Command.


  • United States Pacific Command (http://www.pacom.mil/)

  Results from FactBites:
LA NUEVA CUBA (7123 words)
Unencumbered by a diplomatic bureaucracy, PACOM is a large but nimble construct, and its leaders understand what many in the media and the policy community do not: that the center of gravity of American strategic concern is already the Pacific, not the Middle East.
PACOM will soon be a household name, as CENTCOM (the U.S. Central Command) has been in the current epoch of Middle Eastern conflict—an epoch that will start to wind down, as far as the U.S. military is concerned, during the second Bush administration.
Indonesia is another example: whatever the human-rights failures of the Indonesian military, PACOM assumes, correctly, that a policy of non-engagement would only open the door to Chinese-Indonesian military cooperation in a region that represents the future of world terrorism.
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