image image

United States

Admiral Phil Davidson to become new head of US Pacific Command as China flexes naval muscle

Davidson will take over from Admiral Harry Harris, who is moving on to become US ambassador to Australia

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 1:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 8:48am

US Defence Secretary James Mattis has nominated a US Navy four-star admiral specialising in anti-submarine and electronic warfare to be the new US commander in the Pacific, a move that could be seen as countering the rising Chinese naval force.

Admiral Phil Davidson will be assigned to head the US Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The admiral’s new role was announced by the US Department of Defence on Wednesday, and sees him taking over from Admiral Harry Harris, who was last week nominated to become the US ambassador to Australia.

Davidson will be responsible for overseeing the Asia region, and his nomination came as China was holding its largest naval drill in history .

China’s navy on Wednesday warned other ships that it would hold drills until Friday in the region south of Sanya city in southwest China’s Hainan province.

It is also not yet known whether Davidson will share what Defense News characterised as Harris’s reputation for aggression in the region, which saw him sending multiple aircraft carriers to the Korean peninsula as nuclear fears grew in the region.

US aircraft carrier sparks regional fears as it challenges Beijing in South China Sea

Davidson is currently serving as commander of US Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, before which he commanded the US 6th Fleet Forces in Europe.

He has also commanded the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, the cruiser Gettysburg and the frigate Taylor.

He also oversaw a review of the US’s 7th Fleet last year after two accidents near Japan saw a total of 17 sailors killed.

The investigation found major problems with the fleet’s readiness, Defense News noted.

The site had previously tipped Air Force General Terrence O’Shaughnessy for the position.