NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- The 21st edition of the International Seapower Symposium (ISS) began Sept. 16 at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, R.I., with more than 170 representatives from 113 nations attending.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus addressed the group with opening remarks and stressed the importance of the conference's theme: Global Solutions to Common Maritime Challenges.
"In the 21st century, no single nation has the capacity to protect and defend the global system alone," said Mabus. "To keep sea lanes open, all nations and people that seek freedom of movement and trade and also security have to carry their own share of the responsibility."
Mabus further emphasized the focus on these partnerships.
"A collective effort will assure that our navies provide that necessary presence," said Mabus. "Whether in blue water or brown, we can help assure stability and security, creating and strengthening global relationships, providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, deterring adversaries when possible, and meeting and defeating threats wherever necessary. We must remember that collective security is just that, collective."
Throughout the three-day symposium, naval leaders from around the world will attend presentations and take part in panel discussions relating to current, vital maritime topics such as enhancing coalition operations, future trends in maritime security, and implications of climate change on maritime security. There are also sessions scheduled to address specific geographic challenges navies face.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, sponsor of the event, also addressed the delegates and stressed that international cooperation is crucial to responding to threats such as maritime terrorism, transnational criminal organizations and natural disasters.
"None of us can address these challenges alone," said Greenert. "We just don't have the resources. We need a coordinated effort including the resources, skills and awareness of participating navies to meet these challenges. Answers to those challenges start at meetings like this, so the importance of our getting together at this forum cannot be overstated."
NWC President Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe welcomed the group in his opening remarks noting that many of those attending were former NWC students.
"We admire all of you [attendees], and we are especially proud of the 86 delegates in the audience today who are graduates of the Naval War College," said Howe. "To you 86, welcome back to Newport, and congratulations on your successes. We are confident that the education you received here made a difference."
Four Navy ships are also in Newport during the week: joint high-speed vessel USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2); submarine USS Harford (SSN 768); destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109); and amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD 24).
Established in 1884, the NWC is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. More than 50,000 students have graduated since its first class of nine students in 1885. Approximately 300 of today's active-duty admirals, generals and senior executive service leaders are alumni.
The biennial ISS was first held in 1969 in Newport and was designed to allow naval leaders from around the world to meet and discuss common issues they face, how to address these issues, and ultimately find solutions for them.
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