By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Karsten, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs
CHANGI NAVAL BASE, Singapore (NNS) -- Senior navy leaders from the U.S. 7th Fleet, Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) and the Indonesian Navy (TNI) met for a professional exchange of ideas in a variety of technical and operational topics aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) May 4 and 6.
The U.S. 7th Fleet staff first met with Singaporean navy subject matter experts for a day of discussions, or "staff talks," that included professional dialogue between the two staffs and were designed to share knowledge and develop methodologies for joint responses to any contingency within Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The talks provided a platform for partnered navies' senior leaders and subject matter experts to meet and discuss different aspects of their mission objectives and their responsibilities. The exchange included discussions of opportunities for increased multilateral engagements, exercises and information sharing to improve maritime domain awareness, crisis response, and anti-piracy operations.
"The RSN possess advanced warfighting capability, an extremely professional naval force and is a maritime leader in South East Asia. The U.S. 7th Fleet places great value on the high level training that is conducted annually with the RSN and seeks to continue to advance our relationship by increasing the complexity of our at sea exercises," said U.S. Navy Lt. Terrell Radford, U.S. 7th Fleet theater security cooperation desk officer for Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. "Operational level discussions of this nature with the RSN not only offer us a forum to come together to develop ideas but also allows us to simultaneously give those ideas roots and traction. Continued interaction in this capacity will allow us to realize the shared vision for our relationship."
The U.S. 7th Fleet and Republic of Singapore Navy talks were followed two days later with a first-of-its-kind multilateral "roundtable" discussion between senior leaders from the U.S. 7th Fleet, Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean navies. U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas Jr., commander, U.S 7th Fleet; Singaporean Col. Chuen Hong Lew, commander, Republic of Singapore Fleet; Indonesian Rear Adm. Darwanto S.H., Tentara Nasional Indonesia Eastern Fleet; and Malaysian Rear Adm. Dato' Pahlawan Mior Rosdi, chief of staff for operations and exercises, Royal Malaysian Navy; and their staffs engaged face-to-face to discuss the important issues in the region and how the allied navies can increase theater security cooperation by facilitating bilateral and multilateral military interactions.
"The staff talks and the multilateral roundtable were a big success," said Radford. "Officers from all staffs brought renewed dedication and enthusiasm to the discussions which prompted meaningful dialogue and laid the groundwork for future expansion of the relationship between our navies."
The two-day visit ended with a reception aboard Blue Ridge with all four navies in participation and served as an opportunity for the U.S. 7th Fleet and the regional neighbors to speak to one another in a relaxed atmosphere further building on the close relationship in the region.
Blue Ridge and embarked staff are in Singapore conducting a port visit to build naval partnerships with the navies of Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia to ensure peace and prosperity for the entire region.