MANILA, Philippines (NNS) -- More than 100 Naval War College alumni and guests from 14 different countries discussed important Indo-Asia-Pacific issues at the NWC 10th Regional Alumni Symposium in Manila, Philippines, May 21-23.
Rear Adm. Walter E. "Ted" Carter, Jr., president, U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, R.I., and Philippine Navy Vice Adm. Jesus C. Milan, flag officer in command of the Philippine Navy, were joined by U.S. 7th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas and U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Philip S. Goldberg at the event.
The gathering served as an opportunity to support NWC's mission to strengthen global maritime partnerships while solidifying the close partnership between the U.S. and Philippines as part of a long-term rebalancing strategy in the Asia-Pacific.
"Symposia like this one are academic conferences premised on the belief that military education is not solely the product of a brick-and-mortar schoolhouse, but rather a lifelong attempt to acquire knowledge about the profession of arms. Symposia allow us to address strategic, operational, and technical issues of relevance to the region, and table-top war games that facilitate greater understanding of the challenges lying ahead," said Carter.
Today, navies across the globe face new and uncertain challenges, and by meeting to discuss those challenges, ideas can be exchanged about how to overcome them together.
"It is my sincere hope that through meaningful exchanges, we can share knowledge to enhance mutual understanding, thereby building greater trust and confidence. It is my firm belief that we who wear this uniform and share responsibility for our nations' safety and security on the maritime commons can meet as partners to discuss new ideas and concepts," said Carter. "We have prepared a rigorous academic event. Our goal is to receive the latest information of topics by regional experts than explore them together through thoughtful discussion."
The focus of the academic portion of the event, "Strengthening Global Maritime Partnerships," was explored through a series of panels that discussed freedom of navigation, information sharing and interoperability, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
"The Naval War College Regional Alumni Symposium has been a fantastic opportunity for naval leaders from around the Pacific and Indian Oceans to address our common equities and tackle some of the challenges we face every day," said Thomas.
"On average we visit 200 ports and hold 100 exercises each year with the 35 maritime nations of this region. It's all about building partnerships and understanding. The War College symposium is a big part of our engagement and presence here in Seventh Fleet," said Thomas.
The long-standing alliance between the Philippines and the U.S. has contributed to peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region for more than 60 years and efforts to strengthen the security partnership are continuing. As part of those continuing efforts, the U.S. is looking into how it can support the Philippines in its desire to build a more credible defense, and to improve its ability to respond to natural disasters.
"Much of our future depends on the peace and stability of the maritime domain. The security of the seas that unite our nations will continue to stand at the core of our individual and collective national interests. Activities such as this symposium would help cull and mine the inner depths of our visions, thoughts and ideas for creative solutions and answers," said Milan.
Since 2005, NWC alumni have gathered around the world to foster trust, friendship, confidence, camaraderie and exchange of ideas that began in Newport.
"Together, classmates have strengthened global maritime partnerships in Yokosuka, Japan; Naples, Italy; Valparaiso, Chile; Manama, Bahrain; Singapore; Cartagena, Columbia; Stuttgart, Germany; Toulon, France, and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Now, thanks to the generosity of the Philippine navy and Adm. Milan, we can add Manila to our list of host cities," said Carter.
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