Kauai News

RIMPAC Begins Today

Posted August 17, 2020, 10:12 AM HST ·Updated August 17, 10:17 AM

The 2020 biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) will kick off this morning after the exercise was postponed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At 3 p.m. Commander U.S. 3rd Fleet Vice Adm. Scott Conn will virtually announce the event in order to align with state and local COVID-19 guidelines on social gatherings and to limit any potential spread of the virus.

RIMPAC, the largest international maritime exercise, will take place until Aug. 31. The event was planned with consideration of the ongoing pandemic making it an at-sea only exercise to ensure the safety of Hawaii residents, service members and allies.

“No exercise events will take place on land,” said Lt. Ada Willis Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet.

Leading up to the event, Willis said all personnel supporting RIMPAC ashore were required to complete a 14-day restriction-of-movement (ROM) at a local military installation and provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to exiting ROM. To date, all have tested negative for the disease.

Ships will only pull into Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for logistics reasons including replenishment of food and fuel. Their crews will remain with their ships and will not leave the piers on which they are moored.

“They will not have contact with other military, base, or other personnel at any time,” Willis said. “There is a minimal amount of RIMPAC staff supporting the exercise ashore for command and control, logistics, and other support.”

For those units who are remaining in the islands after the event, Willis said, there is currently no restricted movements upon their return as they will have been at sea for a period of time, which in effect serves as an isolation period, as they will not be in contact with crews or personnel not assigned to them.

Local units, Willis said, are generally not required to undergo ROM prior to getting underway. However, sailors continue to practice stringent mitigation measures in accordance with the U.S. Navy COVID-19 guidelines.

RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise that is designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships, critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

This year’s exercise will include multinational anti-submarine warfare, maritime intercept operations, and live-fire training events, among other cooperative training opportunities. Continued planning will remain flexible as Navy leaders monitor and assess evolving circumstances.