NEWS | Sept. 22, 2021

Papua New Guinea and U.S. Hosts Regional Land Forces Seminar

U.S Army Pacific

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- Army chiefs from land forces from across the Indo-Pacific region gathered for the biennial Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs Conference (IPACC), held here on September 14, 2021. IPACC was co-hosted by the United States Army and the Papua New Guinea Defense Force.

Speaking to the delegates via video conferencing from the Pentagon, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville reminded all of the importance of this gathering. “This conference is a critical opportunity to connect as leaders, to foster alliances partnerships and cooperative relationships.”

IPACC is a military seminar that provides a forum for senior-level officers from the Indo-Asia Pacific's regional ground forces to exchange views and ideas. The conference brings army senior leaders together to discuss differences, establish trust, mitigate miscalculations, resolve challenges, and find commonality among the participating multinational-professional soldiers.

“From dialogues like these to our bilateral and multilateral exercises, to our subject matter exchanges, we consistently apply energy and effort to improve our militaries, our security, and in the end to improve our people’s lives together,” said Gen. Charles Flynn, Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific.

The theme of this years’ conference was Environmental Impacts on Land and Littoral Operations.

Plenary sessions featured panels of distinguished speakers who provided expert analysis and spurred lively discussions on the topic.

“As armies, we must be able to operate in varying, and challenging, and changing environments. And successfully negotiate the unique challenges of the defined space between land base and littoral operations,” said Maj. Gen. Gilbert Toropo, Chief of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force.

Taking place concurrently was the annual Senior Enlisted Leaders Forum (SELF). These are group discussions and professional development directed at senior enlisted personnel from various countries.

The conference was conducted under strict COVID mitigation protocol. All delegates were screened before they arrived in Hawaii in accordance with the State’s Safe Travels Program. Delegates were also screened while here in Hawaii prior to their departures. Furthermore, the conference adhered to all executive orders mandated by the State of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu.

With close to 40 nations comprising its make-up, the Indo-Pacific region covers more than half of the earth’s surface with 6 of the most populated nations in the world. The region is inclusive of over 3000 languages and dialects, and poses some of the most pressing security challenges ranging from terrorism to natural disasters. 7 of the world’s 10 largest armies are in the region where border disputes and sovereignty concerns are headline events.