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U.S. Pacific Fleet hosts CFMCC Flag Officer Course

16 February 2012

From Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Kolmel

Officers from 15 nations met in Hawaii Feb. 9-15 for a Naval War College-conducted course in maritime security topics.

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The Naval War College conducted a Combined Force Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC) Flag Officer Course at U.S. Pacific Fleet's headquarters in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Feb. 9-15.

With 15 nations in attendance, this year marked one of the most diverse CFMCCs in recent years. Admirals and senior captains from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the United States met in Hawaii to discuss topics such as command and control, multinational operations, information-sharing, piracy and maritime security.

"The CFMCC Course provides a great opportunity for partner navies to network and gain a better understanding of one another's security challenges and concerns," said Col. Timothy Lo, Head of Naval Planning for the Republic of Singapore Navy. "In turn forging such an understanding builds trust and confidence, which is an indispensable commodity as we work together to address common security challenges."

Twenty-four executive-level attendees received a series of presentations and participated in discussions with senior admirals and subject matter experts to develop perspectives for the effective employment of maritime forces in a joint, coalition or interagency environment.

Among the U.S, speakers were the commanders of U.S. Pacific Command, Pacific Fleet, 3rd Fleet, 7th Fleet, 14th Coast Guard District, and deputy commander of Pacific Air Forces.

Previous CFMCC participants from several countries, including retired Adm. Arun Prakash of India, retired Vice Adm. Yoji Koda of Japan and retired Rear Adm. Bernard Miranda of Singapore, returned to Hawaii to share their knowledge on the practical use and implementation of lessons learned from past conferences.

CFMCC gives flag-level officers the chance to foster a network of international military leaders who can work together in support of theater and regional cooperation agreements.

Adm. Cecil Haney, who took over as commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet on Jan. 20, spoke to the students about the importance and value of the course.

"CFMCC gives senior naval officers from around the Asia-Pacific region a chance to strengthen existing or develop new relationships that help create enduring partnerships throughout the region," Haney said. "It also helps these countries develop effective strategies for working together and enhancing stability, trade and prosperity across the Pacific."

The value of these relations has been proven in recent years when the U.S. Navy and other countries have participated in exercises and humanitarian missions such as Pacific Partnership and during natural disasters such as the tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan last year.

"Time and time again we have seen how these partnerships benefit one another during times of crisis and forums such as the CFMCC help improve our ability to effectively overcome these challenges through a cooperative approach," Haney said.

The course helps improve international cooperation through open communication, and mutual respect for each other. It also helps creates a comfortable forum for gaining a better understanding and appreciation of differing perspectives.

The first CFMCC Course, which focused on U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, was held in September 2006 at Newport, R.I. Since then CFMCC has expanded to include three courses held annually in the European, Middle East and Pacific regions. The U.S. Pacific Fleet has hosted CFMCC courses each year since 2007.

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