By Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chuck Bell
Special to American Forces Press Service
Feb. 25, 2009 - A gathering of military intelligence professionals from 25 Asia-Pacific nations and beyond in recent days furthered a multinational partnership critical to combating terrorism in the region, U.S. Pacific Command's intelligence director said. "You can't overemphasize the value of this type of forum," Navy Rear Adm. Michael S. Rogers said. "It included candid multinational and bilateral side discussions on issues that have a significant impact on the entire region."
The intelligence professionals gathered Feb. 17-20 in Singapore to explore ways to increase information sharing to counter common threats. Trans-national threats such as countering terrorism, maintaining a secure maritime environment, and improving responses to humanitarian crises were topics of discussion at the 2nd Asia-Pacific Intelligence Chiefs Conference.
Co-hosted by Pacom's intelligence directorate and the Singapore armed forces military intelligence organization, the conference included 17 intelligence chiefs and eight representatives from countries including Australia, China, France, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand and others.
The conference included presentations and group discussions dealing largely with identifying the appropriate type of information to share and a process for doing so. Rogers noted that conferences such as APICC are important to enhancing security by taking a multilateral approach to addressing common threats.
"Partnership and collective action are proven methods with which to counter extremists and others who wish to disrupt the rule of law and inflict harm on those who strive for peace, security, and prosperity," he said.
The first APICC conference, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in September 2007 included 18 countries. The growth in the size and scope this year demonstrates that Asia-Pacific nations are unified in the need for cooperation against transnational threats, Rogers said.
"No country is so large that it can do everything on its own," he said. "Neither can one country be so small that it can never contribute to the rest."
Rogers also emphasized and praised the contribution of the Singapore armed forces in expanding the conference and for taking a lead role in fostering regional security cooperation.
(Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chuck Bell serves at U.S. Pacific Command.)