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PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Senior military leaders from 14 partner nations gathered at U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) headquarters in Hawaii for the 12th annual Naval War College Combined Force Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC) Flag Officer Course, Feb. 7-14.
The 27 participants of this year's CFMCC represented Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, and the United States.
"CFMCC develops and deepens relationships based on trust and confidence among our allies and partner nations," said Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet. "The goal is for all of us to gain a better understanding of issues affecting the regional maritime system and finding ways for our navies to work cooperatively, side-by-side, to enhance our collective maritime security.”
The Naval War College facilitated the weeklong course which gives flag-level officers the opportunity to network with one another and strengthen bonds resulting in international military leaders who can work together more efficiently to resolve regional challenges.
Speakers included Retired Adm. (USN) Gary Roughead, former PACFLT commander and Chief of Naval Operations, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randy Schriver, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Alex Wong and Acting Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s Daniel Shields. A number of additional senior flag and general officers also presented key briefings to course participants on maritime security and took part in open-forum discussions.
“A lot of what we teach participants is to think about and develop ideas before a crisis happens, so they are ready to respond and are able to do so as a team of partners and the conversations and sharing of ideas that happen during the course really helps cultivate that," said Rear Adm. (Retired) Michael White, U.S. Naval War College dean of maritime operational warfare.
“Trust and confidence was the key objectives and I believe the course helped enrich the trust and confidence among the participants,” said First Admiral Shamsuddin bin Hj Ludin, Royal Malaysian Navy assistant chief of staff of plans and development. “This course is the perfect platform for working together in the future. I’m looking forward to working together in the future in whatever the occasion is,” he added.
The course helps flag leaders from other countries gain a better understanding of how the U.S. Pacific Fleet operates and exposes them to the views of senior leaders such as Swift.
The value of the relationships built during this course is manifested many times a year, whether through operations and exercises, flag-level engagements or in response to natural disasters. The next CFMCC will he held Feb. 7-13, 2019.