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Pacific amphibious forces focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief during 5th annual symposium

Pacific amphibious forces focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief during 5th annual symposium


Senior amphibious force leaders and allied partner militaries with an interest in amphibious operations and capability development gathered June 3-6, 2019, in Honolulu, Hawaii, for the fifth annual Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium (PALS).

Representatives from more than 20 allied and partner militaries from around the Indo-Pacific attended to further develop regional relationships and discuss key aspects of maritime/amphibious operations, capability development, crisis response and interoperability. The symposium consisted of a series of presentations and discussions on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) scenarios and operations in keeping with this year’s theme on HA/DR.

“I assure you all — we are in this for the long haul. We must execute, learn and improve alongside each other,” Adm. Philip S. Davidson, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told PALS attendees. “Sharing our experiences and lessons learned through engagements like PALS and our many bilateral and multilateral exercises throughout the Indo-Pacific will enhance our cooperation in times of peace, prevent conflict and sustain the rules-based international order that has led to the peace and prosperity upon which all of our nations rely. It will only make us better in times of crisis response.”

Brig. Gen. Wais Waheed, a PALS attendee representing the Maldives National Defence Force, echoed Davidson’s remarks and emphasized the spirit of cooperation.

“This current disaster phenomena is occurring especially within the Asia-Pacific region. So, though we in the Maldives don’t face big disasters or hurricanes, we have a lot of local disasters on island,” Waheed said. “No country facing big disasters can cope alone. It is [done with] alliance or partner countries that come with assistance. So, we learn from each other’s experiences and best practices.”

Hosted by the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, PALS is the premier annual gathering of regional amphibious forces and cultivated marine-to-marine, or naval infantry, relationships by bringing together like-minded amphibious allies and partners. PALS also showcases U.S. naval forces as the partner of choice for amphibious operations tactics, techniques and procedures in the Indo-Pacific region. Ultimately, PALS participants will strive toward conducting combined operations within the Indo-Pacific area of operations. (Pictured: Brig. Gaurav Gautam, commander, 108th Infantry Brigade of the Indian Army, takes notes during a presentation at the Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 4, 2019.)

Better training and interoperability among allies and partners throughout the region pave the way for enhanced security and stability, which supports prosperity for all in a free and open Indo-Pacific. PALS fosters such regional cooperation and demonstrates that the U.S. Marine Corps is a committed, experienced and trusted military partner for all nations in the region.