Capt. Giovanni Bacordo, general staff course officer for the Philippine Navy, left, speaks alongside U.S. Navy Capt. Tony Cowden, 7th Fleet's theater security cooperation officer, aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), March 19. (Philippine Navy/Seaman 2nd Class Jessie D Cerenio)

MANILA, Philippines - Senior leaders from the U.S. Seventh Fleet staff and the Philippine Navy met for a professional exchange of ideas on a variety of technical and tactical topics aboard the 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) March 19.

The meetings, or "staff talks," included professional dialogue between the two allied staffs and are designed to share knowledge and develop methodologies for joint responses to any contingency within Indo-Asia-Pacific.

The exchange included discussion of maritime patrol and reconnaissance, maritime domain awareness, mine warfare, navigation, engineering and medical training.

Staff leaders also discussed upcoming exercises and missions such as Pacific Partnership and Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).

"The mission of staff talks is to meet and engage with key allies within partner nations," said Lt. Leo Meneses, South East Asia desk officer for Seventh Fleet. "The most important part of the staff talks is to meet our counterparts face to face," said Meneses. "Being able to put a face to an email rather than just seeing a few words on a computer helps foster the partnership between the U.S. and the Philippines."

The Seventh Fleet intent for the staff talks is to increase theater security cooperation through the facilitation of bilateral and multilateral military exchanges and dialogue. It provides a meeting place for partnered navies' subject matter experts to meet and discuss different aspects of their mission objectives and their responsibilities.

Blue Ridge and embarked staff are in Manila for a scheduled port visit as part of the ship's spring patrol building maritime partnerships and conducting security and stability operations.