Chairman Meets With Singapore Defense Officials
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
SINGAPORE , Jun. 1, 2012 Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spent the day here meeting with Singapore’s defense officials and visiting the island nation’s military facilities.
Tomorrow is the first full day of the 11th annual Asia security conference known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, which the chairman will attend for the first time. Defense leaders and officials from 27 Asia-Pacific nations will attend the sessions, and both Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will meet with several of those officials as well as attend general sessions focused on regional security issues.
The chairman started today at the U.S. Embassy, where he met with U.S. Ambassador David I. Adelman and his country team. Marine Corps Col. David A. Lapan, the chairman’s spokesman, said the meeting focused on the strong U.S.-Singapore military relationship.
That relationship is outlined in the 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement between the two countries, and includes a regular exchange of visits between defense leaders as well as exercises such as Commando Sling, an annual event begun in 1990 to provide combined air combat training for fighter units from the two nations’ air forces.
Dempsey also handed out coins to U.S. Marines serving in the embassy detachment and stood for photos with them.
The chairman then traveled to the Singapore Ministry of Defense, where he met with Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, Chief of Defense Forces Lt. Gen. Neo Kian Hong and the chiefs of Singapore’s army, navy and air force.
During Singapore Defense Minister Ng’s Pentagon visit in April, he and Defense Secretary Panetta discussed the planned rotational deployment of a U.S. littoral combat ship squadron.
Dempsey said earlier on this trip that the LCS deployment will begin next year, with a member of his staff serving as the commander of the first rotational unit.
Dempsey also visited Sembawang Air Base in northern Singapore, where he received a briefing on the development and operations of the Singapore armed forces, known as the SAF, and took an area familiarization flight on a SAF helicopter.
Lapan said the Singapore military is not only a strong bilateral partner but also a catalyst for regional security cooperation. “They have one of the best-trained and equipped militaries in [the] Asia-Pacific,” he added.
The chairman’s trip continues tomorrow with a full day of Shangri-La Dialogue sessions, anchored by Panetta’s opening address in the morning.