With five Legion of Merit medals to his name, Rear Admiral Rick Williams commanded Middle Pacific Surface Group and guided air, ship, and shore groups spanning several naval mission areas. Working within the Rebalance to the Pacific initiative, Rear Admiral Rick Williams spearheaded training and certifications within the Carrier Strike Group. These were designed to bolster operational capacities in areas such as joint warfighting and cyber warfare.
In February 2016, an independent review of the U.S. Rebalance to the Pacific program was released by the Center of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The CSIS report, presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), recommends the forward deployment of a second U.S. Navy nuclear carrier to the Western Pacific region. This reinforces a recommendation by SASC Chair Sen. John McCain, as well as a previous independent study on the subject.
U.S. allies such as Japan are interested in the idea, as it would provide more security cooperation between U.S. Japan coalition partners at a time of China’s People’s Liberation Army expansion throughout the contested East and South China Seas. Questioned by Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a report coauthor noted that a “hard recommendation” was not given due to operational complexities, as well as questions involving infrastructure and cost.