CAMP SMITH, Hawaii -- The 23rd annual Chiefs of Defense (CHOD) Conference, held by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, concluded August 18.
Hosted by Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the two-day conference provided senior military leaders the opportunity to address emerging challenges and security matters and increase regional and global collaboration.
“The Indo-Pacific region is in the midst of the most consequential strategic realignment since the Second World War and the COVID-19 pandemic is creating even more uncertainty,” said General Angus Campbell, Chief of Defence Force, Australia. “In this environment, it is more important than ever for military leaders across the Indo-Pacific to come together to deepen defence diplomacy, cooperation and capacity-building. The challenges we face are bigger than any one country. Only by working together can we realise our shared vision for a secure, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific of independent, sovereign and resilient states.”
The theme for this year’s conference was “Strengthening Partnership Networks for Preserving Peace and Security.” Planned sessions during the conference included Strengthening Partnership Networks for Preserving Peace and Security; The Role for Minilateralism In a Free and Open Indo-Pacific; and The Role of Women In Global Security.
“Our Military partners have been facilitating these opportunities for small island nations in the Pacific and we have been part of these conferences,” said Major General Gilbert Toropo, Chief of Defence Force, Papua New Guinea. “It is an opportunity too, to share experiences of other militaries on how they are managing the COVID-19 situation in their countries.”
This year’s conference concentrated on common security concerns and exploration of the most promising opportunities for countries in the region to promote good governance and inclusive security.
“The Chiefs of Defense conference is a significant opportunity for us to strengthen our ties with like-minded countries, as the Canadian Armed Forces conduct regular operations in the Indo-Pacific region,” said General Wayne Eyre, Chief of Defence Force, Canada. “The alignment of our efforts is critical to promote and maintain a rules-based international order and a free and open Indo-Pacific region, as well as navigate the complex security challenges of the region through enhanced collaboration with our regional allies and partners.”
Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman, the Principal Staff Officer for Bangladesh, remarked that attending the CHODs Conference was a worthwhile experience resulting in informative and interactive sessions.
“According to the honorable Prime Minister of our country, ‘Bangladesh shares the vision of a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and secure Indo-Pacific region with shared prosperity for all,’ said Waker-Uz-Zaman. “This particular statement signifies the importance of such conference. At the end, I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and gratitude for everything. May Almighty Allah bless us all.”