VICTORIA, British Columbia, Sept. 8, 2017 —
The recently concluded annual U.S. Pacific Command Chiefs of Defense Conference, this year co-hosted by Canada and the United States, provided a forum for 26 senior Indo-Asia-Pacific military leaders to strengthen military-to-military relationships, discuss common defense issues and foster regional cooperation.
The conference was held here from September 4-6. Topics of discussion included the threat from North Korea, trends in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area, combating and preventing violent extremism and peace support operations.
"We share many challenges in the Indo-Asia Pacific, but through bilateral and multilateral engagements like these and cooperation with other nations in the region, I am confident that when we face these challenges together, we will prevail together,” said Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris, Pacom’s commander.
Canadian Army Gen. Jonathan H. Vance, chief of the defense staff, said he was honored to co-host this year’s conference with Harris.
Defense, Security Issues
“This was the first time the event was held in Canada, and I want to sincerely thank the organizers for their hard work in making it a success,” Vance said. “This was an excellent opportunity to discuss a wide range of defense and security issues with our Asia-Pacific partners, which only serves to enhance security and confidence in the region."
Senior enlisted leaders also came to the conference to discuss ways to bolster and promote leadership in the enlisted ranks.
“A vested enlisted force, developed through programs of merit, can more precisely understand, translate and transmit the commander’s intent, which allows the commander more strategic bandwidth during operations,” Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Anthony A. Spadaro, Pacom’s senior enlisted leader, said during one meeting.
Topics discussed by the senior enlisted leaders’ portion of the conference included the importance of noncommissioned officer development and multilateral training opportunities between partner nations.
Senior Enlisted Leaders
The group consisted of sixteen senior enlisted leader representatives from throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Spadaro said he hopes to increase that number to twenty members for the 2018 CHODS conference.
With allies and partners, Pacom is committed to enhancing stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region by promoting security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies, deterring aggression, and when necessary, fighting to win. This approach is based on partnership, presence, and military readiness.
“I was extremely pleased to talk with so many of our allies and partners in the region this week to enhance our military relationships, regional collaboration and discuss our shared security concerns,” Harris said.