Naval leaders from twelve Southeast Asian countries attended the annual Senior Leaders Seminar (SLS) March 29 through April 1, in Bangkok, Thailand, for in-depth discussions on piracy and counter-piracy operations.
The conference was co-hosted by the U.S. and Royal Thai navies, and combined naval leaders from Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Singapore, Sri-Lanka and Vietnam.
During the open format discussions, several subject matter experts representing academic, commercial, law enforcement, governmental, and military organizations addressed the audience on piracy from their specific discipline's point of view.
"This seminar is the first of its kind to be held in Thailand," said Adm. Khamthon Pumhiran, Royal Thai Navy commander-in-chief. "Aside from being a prominent expression of cooperation among the armed forces from 12 participating countries, this seminar also reflects the determination and willingness of the participating countries to join hands in dealing with the expanding threats that many countries are facing."
Rear Adm. Thomas Carney, deputy chief of staff for Plans, Policies and Requirements, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet; thanked the Royal Thai Navy for co-hosting this year's seminar.
Carney said Thailand's recent participation in Task Force 151, the multinational task force that conducts counter-piracy operations under a mission-based mandate throughout the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) area of responsibility, made the RTN the ideal host for the seminar.
"The successful deployment by the Royal Thai Navy shows the power of cooperation in working together against a common problem," Carney said. "People build the relationships that enable action and success, and the goal of this conference is to build those relationships so we can combat piracy and other maritime challenges more effectively."
Article by Mass Communication Specialist 2ns Class (SW/SCW) Jessica Bidwell, Commander, Task Force 73 Public Affairs