FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Maj. Gen. K.K. Chinn, U.S. Army South commanding general, led a U.S. delegation to Lima, Peru, for the opening ceremony of the inaugural bilateral army-to-army staff talks between the U.S. Army and the Peruvian army, Dec. 14.

During the ceremony, both countries pledged to build upon their pre-existing bond, using the weeklong staff talks as an opportunity to formalize the framework of interactions and provide a strategic forum to promote professional relationships and coordinate engagement activities.

"This important event has plans of action to interchange topics on defense and security as well as the elements we'll have to consider to counter new threats to the security of our region," said Peruvian General de Division Luis Ramos Hume, chief of staff of the Peruvian army. "This will allow us to draw conclusions which will enrich and stoke the developments of our institutions."

Following Hume's remarks, Chinn reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to assisting Peru as a regional leader in exporting peace and security throughout the Western Hemisphere and beyond.

"We look forward to a week of learning from you and sharing ideas with you, as well as building a stronger relationship between our armies," Chinn said. "The Peruvian army has an amazing history and incredible reputation. We look forward to working together with the Peruvian army and to improving our interoperability."

During his closing remarks, Chinn took the opportunity to recognize the Peruvian army for allowing the development of the first Peruvian army foreign liaison officer to Army South in July, thanking the Peruvian army chief of staff for sending Peruvian Lt. Col. Mauricio Mansilla to San Antonio to work within the Army South headquarters.

"He's an amazing officer, who is doing great things for you and U.S. Army South," Chinn said. "He's a treasure to our team and part of our Army South Family."

Following the ceremony, the two nations settled in for a series of presentations to include the review of engagements between the two nations during 2015, a Peruvian brief on the current mission and vision of the Peruvian army and its plan for institutional development through 2021, and a brief discussion on events coordinated by the West Virginia National Guard through the State Partnership Program.

In addition to the formal presentations, both delegations took time to break into smaller working groups to discuss topics such as regional security, human resources management, education and training, operational law and military justice, logistics, health, engineering, civil affairs, peace operations and planning.

These smaller groups allowed the directors of both countries the chance to sit face-to-face with their counterparts, ensuring both armies understand the desired objectives that will guide interactions between the United States and Peru over the next five years.

"Working side-by-side with our counterparts allows us to bring a personal aspect to our proposed engagements," said Lt. Col. Edward Bayouth of the Army South office of human resources. "In most cultures within this region, being able to shake hands while conducting business means the world."

U.S. Army South conducts staff talks with multiple countries throughout Latin America and believes Peru is a critical part of that exchange.

Chinn believes this inaugural event will pay both immediate and long-term dividends for both countries.

"We know this is the first of many bilateral army-to-army staff talks and a continued lasting friendship that we can continue to build upon," Chinn said.