A 21st Century Security Partnership
For more than 50 years, the Thai-U.S. defense alliance has promoted regional stability by fostering cooperation in areas that enable both nations to address shared security concerns effectively. Both nations reaffirmed this relationship when Thailand became a Major Non-NATO Ally of the United States in 2004. Today, the alliance is a true 21st century partnership that addresses a range of challenges, including responding to natural and manmade disasters, confronting transnational threats, contributing to global peacekeeping, and addressing maritime security issues. The Thai-U.S. defense alliance supports Thailand’s position as a regional leader – including within the Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN) and other regional bodies – and the United States’ enduring presence in the Asia-Pacific. Continuous policy consultation and coordination on regional and global security affairs lays the foundation for our defense activities.
As the Thai-U.S. defense alliance is calibrated to address 21stcentury challenges, defense cooperation is to focus on the following four areas: 1) Partnership for Regional Security in Southeast Asia; 2) Supporting Stability in the Asia-Pacific Region and Beyond; 3) Bilateral and Multilateral Interoperability and Readiness; and 4) Relationship Building, Coordination, and Collaboration at All Levels.
Partnership for Regional Security in Southeast Asia
In meeting modern challenges, the Alliance fosters regional and multilateral security cooperation through a variety of initiatives and exercises, including Cobra Gold, the world’s largest multilateral military exercise and premier training event in Asia. Thai-U.S. defense cooperation supports the Royal Thai Armed Forces’ leadership role in Southeast Asia, including through peacekeeping missions, maritime security operations, and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief efforts. The armed forces of both nations have proven their ability to provide timely, life-saving assistance in the face of grave natural disasters, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Cyclone Nargis in 2008.
Supporting Stability in the Asia-Pacific Region and Beyond
Based on decades of close partnership and mutual trust, the Thai-U.S. defense alliance todayhas a global impact that enables both countries to cooperate effectively in Southeast Asia and beyond. The Royal Thai Armed Forces continues to make valuable contributions to regional and global peace and stability, particularly through maritime security operations, peacekeeping deployments, and hosting and participating in bilateral and multilateral military exercises. Similarly, Thailand’s support of U.S. presence in the region enables the stability that will allow the Asia-Pacific region to prosper under the principles of open and free commerce, a just international order, fidelity to the rule of law, and open access by all to shared maritime, space, and cyber domains.
Bilateral and Multilateral Interoperability and Readiness
The United States supports Thai defense modernization and training requirements, includingthrough the sale of U.S. defense equipment, Excess Defense Article transfers, Foreign Military Financing, International Military Education and Training, and maintenance support packages. Our forces routinely exercise together, strengthening the bonds of interoperability, teamwork, and friendship. We maintain a robust program of military-to-military exchanges that help to strengthen ties between our respective armed forces, reinforces mutual respect, and fosters shared values.
Relationship Building, Coordination, and Collaboration at All Levels
The United States and Thailand highlight the importance of the bilateral defense relationshipat all levels, from Ministerial consultations, to Military-to-Military discussions, to individual military exchanges. Sustaining such engagements is critical to the future of our Alliance.
We reaffirm the importance of our defense alliance for the 21st century, and note that defense ties complement all elements of our much broader relationship, including strong diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties. Our two countries are committed to strengthening all of these important partnerships in order to achieve greater peace and prosperity for our two nations, the Asia-Pacific region, and beyond.
Issued in Bangkok, Thailand, on 15 November (B.E.2555) 2012.
Air Chief Marshal
Minister of Defence
Kingdom of Thailand
Leon E. Panetta
Secretary of Defense
United States of America