Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, briefs flag officers during the 10th annual Naval War College Combined Force Maritime Component Commander Flag Officer Course. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brian Wilbur)

PEARL HARBOR - Senior military leaders from 13 nations gathered at U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) headquarters in Hawaii for the 10th annual Naval War College Combined Force Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC) Flag Officer Course Feb. 4-10.

The 22 participants of this year’s CFMCC represented Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United States.

“I hope you took away from this course a better understanding of one another’s perspectives and with that, relationships that you can turn to when necessary and engage in productive dialogues that result in effective solutions to shared regional challenges,” PACFLT Commander Adm. Scott Swift said to the participants as the course closed.

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.

“The challenges in the maritime domain are getting more complex by the day and you can see the nature of the challenges are such that a single maritime nation cannot address them solely on their own,” said Nirmal Verma, a facilitator from the Naval War College and former commander of the Indian Navy as its Chief of the Naval Staff. “This is a great opportunity for participants to meet their partners from across the region; different countries, different navies and a great opportunity to network and understand the challenges that face this region.”

CFMCC participants heard lectures on maritime security and took part in open-forum discussions to create improved understandings between the numerous viewpoints involved in a combined force.

“From a long-term perspective, CFMCC offers me the opportunity to meet a lot of my counterparts at the flag level and build on our relationships,” said Capt. Mal Wise, a Royal Australian Navy commodore and the maritime component commander for the upcoming Rim of the Pacific exercise. “I will be the RIMPAC CFMCC for 2016 and so from that perspective alone, this CFMCC course is a great opportunity to expand my thoughts and get an idea of how it’s all going to function for the RIMPAC CFMCC commander and staff.”

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 and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.

The value of the relationships built during this course are manifested many times a year, whether through operations and exercises , flag-level engagements or in response to natural disasters.