By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, May 19, 2015 – The U.S. Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium, which includes more than 20 nations, will enhance stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, Defense Department spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said today.
Speaking to Pentagon reporters, the colonel said the inaugural symposium in Hawaii this week “brought together senior leaders of allied and partner marine corps, naval infantries and militaries spanning the Indo-Asia-Pacific region who have an interest in military amphibious capability development.”
Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, is hosting the symposium, which kicked off yesterday. Warren said the event is meant to develop a meaningful dialogue on key aspects of maritime and amphibious operations, capability development and interoperability.
Group briefings and discussions will feature multinational observation of an amphibious landing as part of the joint Hawaii sea-basing exercise, “Culebra Koa” 2015, Warren noted.
“It will conclude with scenario-based tabletop exercises on Wednesday,” he said. “These types of engagements result in better training and interoperability with our friends and partners throughout the region.”
Warren added, “It also paves the way for enhanced regional stability and economic ties, which is beneficial to all.”
The U.S. and 22 other nations are participating in PALS ’15 -- a total of approximately 110 foreign and U.S. participants, the colonel said.
“During PALS ’15, we’ll be discussing and demonstrating amphibious assault tactics, which will include ship-to-shore assaults,” Warren said.
Asked by reporters about Chinese participation, Warren noted China is not included in the symposium due to specific U.S. laws prohibiting the involvement of the People’s Liberation Army.
“Because we will be including discussions and demonstrations of ship-to-shore assaults,” he said, “… U.S. Public Law 106-65, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2000, prohibits us from having [military-to-military] exchanges or contact with representatives of the PLA that include force projection operations and advanced combined-arms and joint combat operations.”
That said, the U.S. continues to encourage military-to-military engagement as a tool to build trust, enhance transparency and mitigate risks, Warren said.