Inaugural Regional Commanders’ Conference builds trust

This article has photo gallery Published on Mr James McPherson (author), SGT Shane Gidall (photographer)

Location(s): Darwin, Northern Territory

Topic(s): Exercise KAKADU

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and Bar, RAN sits with Professor Michael Wesley as he addresses attendees during the Regional Fleet Commanders' Conference held in conjunction with Exercise Kakadu 2016. (photo: SGT Shane Gidall)
Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and Bar, RAN sits with Professor Michael Wesley as he addresses attendees during the Regional Fleet Commanders' Conference held in conjunction with Exercise Kakadu 2016.

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, has hosted 14 of his counterparts or their representatives in Darwin for the inaugural Regional Commanders’ Conference to discuss maritime security and interoperability in the Asia-Pacific.
 
The high level discussions between navies fostered international partnerships while sharing innovative approaches on how best to meet the challenges shared by all nations.
 
The forum heard from leading strategists before discussing advances in unmanned systems, intentions for operations in shared sea lanes, and how navies collectively respond to piracy and smuggling activities across national boundaries.
 
Rear Admiral Mayer said while sharing ideas was an important part of the forum, the primary goal was to build trust between the 14 nations that attended.
 
“The presentations have been particularly interesting, but the true success of the day can be measured by the conversations generated around the table,” he said. 
 
“Rather than seeing these talks as purely an academic exchange, they are a means of starting a conversation about issues which have relevance worldwide. 
"The conversations are what are going to build understanding and forge relationships that provide regional stability to us all.”
 
Australian academic and Asia-Pacific expert, Professor Michael Wesley, opened the conference with a presentation on the shifting regional strategic order and contemporary regional issues.
 
Commander of the United States 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, followed with a talk on emerging trends of unmanned military systems. Commander of the Philippines Fleet, Rear Admiral Bayani R Gaerlan, also addressed the gathering about his country’s response to the threat of piracy.
 
This was the inaugural Regional Commanders’ Conference attached to Exercise KAKADU 16 and will become a permanent feature in future years.
 
Exercise KAKADU is the Royal Australian Navy’s premier international engagement activity, developing interoperability between nations in the maritime and air domains, and providing training opportunities for maritime security and surveillance.