The US military's largest unified combatant command has a new name that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says honors the "increasing connectivity of the Indian and Pacific Oceans." Mattis announced Wednesday that US Pacific Command will now be known as US Indo-Pacific Command, CNN reports. "It is our primary combatant command, it's standing watch and intimately engaged with over half of the earth's surface and its diverse populations, from Hollywood to Bollywood, from polar bears to penguins," Mattis said at a Hawaii ceremony marking the appointment of Adm. Phillip Davidson as chief of the command.
Davidson is replacing Adm. Harry Harris, President Trump's nominee for US ambassador to South Korea. The unified command oversees around 375,000 military and civilian personnel. Reuters describes the rebranding as a "symbolic nod" to India, which is of growing military importance to the US as tensions with China rise. "I think India and the relationship with the United States is the potentially most historic opportunity we have in the 21st-century and I intend to pursue that quite rigorously," Davidson said last month. (Read more Pacific Command stories.)