CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii -- Lt. Gen. Steven R. Rudder, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, hosted a virtual Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium (PALS) with representatives of 25 nations from North America, Asia, South America, Australia, and Europe, May 19, 2021.
The symposium brought together senior leaders from allied and partner marine forces, naval infantries and littoral militaries to discuss topics such as developing response measures to unconventional threats, expanding regional interoperability, and force development.
“It’s important for us to continue to get together, like-minded amphibious force professionals,” said Rudder. “PALS is a multinational forum designed to bring together senior leaders of allied and partner nation marine forces, naval infantry, and joint forces from all militaries, because amphibious operations are a joint endeavor.”
Engagements such as PALS create opportunities for these leaders to interact and collaborate on common challenges and opportunities. This interaction leads to better training, tighter interoperability between security partners, and a safer and more secure Indo-Pacific.
“Australia shares a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific with like-minded partners and allies,” said Maj. Gen. Jake Ellwood, commander, 1st Division and the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, Australian Defence Force. “This year’s virtual Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium presents a great opportunity for the theatre-wide network to collaborate on common challenges and develop future opportunities for regional interoperability,” he said.
PALS is held annually by MARFORPAC, though COVID-19 pandemic mitigations guided the decision to conduct the event virtually this year.
The program’s objective is to facilitate meaningful dialogue on key aspects of maritime and amphibious operations, capability development, crisis response, and interoperability. This year, the 25 participating nations collaborated on developing response measures to unconventional threats, expanding regional interoperability, and force development addressing changing regional security challenges.
“I believe this virtual PALS conference is an invaluable opportunity for regional relationships and increased cooperation and dialogue amongst partner and allied nation militaries,” said Maj. Gen. Hirata Takanori, commanding general, Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. “We, the Japan Self-Defense Force, hope to continue to work together with our partner and allied nations in ensuring a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific region.”
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy identifies the country’s network of allies and partners as a force multiplier for achieving peace, deterring regional aggression, and increased interoperability. PALS reinforces the nation’s commitment to established alliances and partnerships by deepening relationships across the region. By working together, the partners bring a synergy that defends our collective vision of a region distinguished by mutual respect for sovereignty, fair and reciprocal trade and the rule of law.
“We need to operate every day. We need to exercise and experiment to generate warfighting outcomes and solidify the joint force’s links, and the links with our partners and allies,” said Adm. John Aquilino, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. “What is required is a Combined Joint Force capable of synchronizing offensive and defensive actions across the services and across all domains at the time and place of our choosing.”