KAMPONG SPEU PROVINCE, Cambodia (March 14, 2016) -- U.S. and Cambodian forces officially opened Angkor Sentinel 2016, an annual bilateral military exercise hosted by the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and sponsored by the U.S. Army Pacific, during a ceremony, March 14, at the Training School for Multinational Peacekeeping Forces in Kampong Speu Province, Cambodia.

This year marks the seventh iteration of the exercise that's designed to collectively strengthen the two countries' humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities and improve military-to-military cooperation.

"I believe the Angkor Sentinel exercise that begins today showcases some of the best kinds of things militaries accomplish for their nations and citizens," said Julie Chung, Chargé d'affaires, U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh. "Angkor Sentinel's activities will include training and exchanges covering humanitarian assistance, disaster response, first aid, engineering, explosive ordnance disposal, countering improvised explosive devices, transporting people and supplies, and developing leaders."

She said, "Any country - including both Cambodia and the United States - will be a better, safer place to live with military people who are skilled in these functions."

The two-week exercise brings together Cambodian Forces from the Royal Cambodian Army (RCA), National Center for Peacekeeping Forces, Mine, & Explosive Remnants of War Clearance (NPMEC), and Gendarmerie Royale Khmer (GRK), with U.S. forces from U.S. Army Pacific, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, 130th Theater Engineer Brigade, 8th Military Police Brigade, 303rd Explosive Ordnance Battalion, Idaho Army National Guard, 18th Medical Command, Asia Pacific C-IED Fusion Center (APCFC), and 413th Contracting Brigade.

Maj. Gen. Edward F. Dorman III, the commander of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, encouraged the more than 150 participants to enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to learn from each others expertise and absorb each others rich cultures and traditions.

"Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief are priorities for both of our countries, and as we operate together in this complex, ever-changing region, exercises like this one are critical to our regional stability and security," he said. "When we join together, train together, and grow together now, we ensure that we are prepared together for whatever the future may bring."

The concentrated training agenda includes intense academics, team-building events, and practical exercises intended to foster exchange and opportunities for the two countries' militaries to learn about each others tactics, techniques and procedures, while strengthening relationships and building the foundation for future Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises.

It's expert academic exchanges and training events will culminate in a combined situational training exercise, March 25.