Pacific Command gets new leader — and new name

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (HawaiiNewsNow) - Leadership of the U.S. Pacific Command changed hands Wednesday.

But that's not all that's new.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis adjusted the command's name to signify growing cooperation between the U.S. and India.

"In recognition of the increasing connectivity of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, today we rename the U.S Pacific Command to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command," he said.

Navy Adm. Harry Harris served three years as PACOM chief.

In his farewell speech at Pearl Harbor's Kilo Pier, he called China America's greatest long-term challenge and took aim at North Korea.

"North Korea remains our most imminent threat. A nuclear-capable North Korea with missiles that can reach the United States is unacceptable," he said.

Harris is Pres. Donald Trump's choice to become ambassador to South Korea. The change of command ceremony also marked his retirement after 40 years in the Navy.

PACOM is responsible for U.S. military operations in the Pacific.

New commander Adm. Philip Davidson will oversee 375,000 military and civilian personnel and 60 percent of America's naval fleet.

"Pacific Command must continue our good work to defend against and deter our adversaries from attacking the United States, our citizens, and interests abroad, as well as our allies here in the region," he said.

Harris called Davidson battle tested.

Mattis expressed confidence PACOM's new chief will carry out his duties with grit, wisdom and skill.

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