Indo-Pacific military leaders address regional security challenges

Indo-Pacific military leaders address regional security challenges

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

Senior military leaders from 29 countries virtually joined the annual Indo-Pacific Chiefs of Defense conference August 24-25, 2020.

The conference, hosted by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), provides a forum for military leaders from throughout the region to address the mutual security challenges of today and tomorrow.

The theme for the 2020 conference was “Advancing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” (Pictured: Dr. Ashley J. Tellis, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, left, and Adm. Philip S. Davidson, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, right, listen to U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper during the Chiefs of Defense conference August 24-25, 2020, in Hawaii.)

“The growing security environment in the region demands — now more than ever — that we join together to build trust and collective strength to advance the idea of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific for all nations,” said Adm. Philip S. Davidson, Commander of USINDOPACOM. “As Indo-Pacific nations — regardless of population, land area, economic prosperity or military strength — we all have a voice in shaping the international system.”

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama opened the conference, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper delivered the keynote address.

Other speakers and topics included: U.S. Surgeon General Vice Adm. Jerome Adams on the national security implications of COVID-19; Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon on the national security implications of 5G mobile technologies; former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on multilateralism’s role in advancing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific; and remarks from U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The 29 countries participating were the most in the conference’s 22-year history.

“Together, we must achieve effective means to continue to advance the idea of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” Davidson said. “To uphold international law, rules and norms and to promote inclusive regional security frameworks, despite the growing challenges in the Indo-Pacific.”

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