Okinawa, Japan – The 19th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black, visited Okinawa, Japan for the Force Level Summit Jan. 14th through the 16th.
The Force Level Summit is a quarter-yearly event that brings force level sergeants major together with the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps to discuss ideas, lessons learned, and address current and future concerns of the Marine Corps in order to improve lethality and readiness.
Black chose III Marine Expeditionary Force to host this summit because of the strategic importance of the Pacific to national security as stated in both the National Defense Strategy and the Commandant’s Planning Guidance.
According to the recent release of MARADMIN 018/20 the Marine Corps Commandant’s priorities toward INDO-PACOM ultimately require the best and brightest to seek assignments with III MEF.
“III MEF, as far as the Marine Corps is concerned, has not been the staffing priority,” said Black. “As we see this strategic shift towards the pacific, III MEF can no longer be at the end of the food chain.”
Our naval counterparts play a large role in our strategy for the Indo-Pacific region said Black. With the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII happening this year, Black reflected on the importance of naval integration during this summit, reminding III MEF they would not be in this region if it weren’t for the strong Navy-Marine Corps team.
“There’s no better time to reflect on what naval integration means. One thing that hasn’t changed in the Indo-pacific is the terrain,” said Black. “This is Navy and Marine Corps territory and we know it well.”
Black reminds the Marines and Sailors of III MEF that they are going to find themselves operating in this region a lot more, and even their interactions while on liberty throughout the Pacific have a strategic influence.
“If you are serving out here in the Indo-Pacific region, you have a significant impact on our strategic security; not only for ourselves as a nation but also for our partners,” said Black.