188th Wing Captain helps strategic efforts in Indo-Pacific theater

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jennifer Gerhardt
  • 188th Wing Public Affairs

The Air National Guard, with its unique blend of expertise and experience, plays an indispensable role in bolstering its active-duty counterparts as the Indo-Pacific theater continues to evolve.

Capt. Paul Kim, an MQ-9 evaluator pilot from the 184th Attack Squadron at the 188th Wing in Fort Smith, Arkansas is one example of an Air National Guardsman filling an active-duty position. Kim is currently serving as the deputy chief of RPA Integration at the Pacific Reconnaissance Operations Cell (PACROC). This role places him at the intersection of air and space operations and intelligence within the PACROC.

“Captain Kim is one of our most capable pilots who excels in the joint realm of warfighting,” said Lt. Col. Alec Zwiaska, the 184th Attack Squadron commander. “As we incorporate agile combat employment and emerging technologies for future near-peer competition, sending our most talented officers to operate in liaison roles within the Indo-Pacom theater is a huge win for our wing, Arkansas, and the Air National Guard.”

With a comprehensive mandate, the PACROC is responsible for managing all airborne ISR platforms in the INDOPACOM theater, encompassing tasks such as asset acquisition, allocation, future platform integration, concept of operations development, host nation engagement, and more. They are also involved in policy, airlift coordination, basing, and site surveys.

Kim leverages his tactical and operational skills to contribute to the strategic framework aligned with the Air Force’s Future Operating Concept.

“We are on the forefront of agile combat employment in INDOPACOM,” said Kim. “We work tirelessly to get new capabilities or aircraft where we need them while innovating ways to intelligently conduct logistics while being more agile and responsive.”

The overarching Pacific Air Forces mission, in coordination with other components, allies, and partners, is to provide the United States Indo-Pacific Command with continuous, unrivaled air, space, and cyberspace capabilities.

Kim acknowledges the transition from a tactical operator to overseeing such a multifaceted mission has been eye-opening.

"As a tactical operator, your perspective is limited to your specific role,” said Kim. “Now, I must effectively communicate and advocate for our objectives to senior decision-makers, host nations, and other staff entities to achieve strategic objectives."

With Kim’s new perspective on how tactical capabilities directly impact INDOPACOM strategic objectives, he hopes to carry those lessons learned back to Fort Smith and the 188th Wing to help other tactically minded Airmen understand how their local mission supports the broader picture.