Admiral John Aquilino, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

Admiral John Aquilino

Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

John Christopher Aquino was born in 1961 in Huntington, New York. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in physics. He subsequently entered flight training, earning his wings. He is a graduate or has completed other education programs offered to him by the U.S. military, including the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education Program in National and International Studies.

His assignments include being part of numerous fighter squadrons flying the Tomcat and Hornet. He commanded the Red Rippers of VF-1, Carrier Air Wing 2, and Carrier Strike Group George H.W. Bush Strike Group. He has made several extended deployments in support of Operations Deny Flight, Deliberate Force, Southern Watch, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.

He has served at the Pentagon in the Office of the Legislative Affairs for the Secretary of Defense, and as director of strategy and policy, U.S. Joint Forces Command, among many others. He commanded the U.S. Pacific Fleet. He has been commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command since April 30, 2021.

Aquilino has accumulated more than 5,100 mishap-free flight hours and over 1,500 carrier arrested landings.

In the News…

Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John Aquilino said that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has fully militarized at least three of several islands it built in the disputed South China Sea. He said the locations are armed with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment, and fighter jets in an increasingly aggressive move that threatens all nations operating nearby. 

Admiral Aquilino said these actions are a contrast to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s past assurances that Beijing would not transform the artificial islands in contested waters into military bases. He stated the efforts were part of China’s flexing its military muscle. 

“I think over the past 20 years we’ve witnessed the largest military buildup since World War II by the PRC,” Admiral Aquilino stated. “They have advanced all their capabilities and that buildup of weaponization is destabilizing to the region.” 

The Indo-Pacific commander said the construction of missile arsenals, aircraft hangars, radar systems, and other military facilities on Mischief Reef, Subi Reef, and Fiery Cross appeared to have been completed but it remains to be seen if China will pursue the construction of military infrastructure in other areas. 

“The function of those islands is to expand the offensive capability of the PRC beyond their continental shores,” he said. “They can fly fighters, bombers plus all those offensive capabilities of missile systems.” 


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