HANOI, Vietnam - The Pacific Ocean Division's (POD) top leader, along with other staff, engaged with Army delegations from 26 Indo-Pacific countries during the 42nd Pacific Armies Management Seminar (PAMS) Aug. 20-23, discussing key topics, to include land forces response to HA/DR (Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief), multilateral cooperation and enhancing roles in the Indo-Pacific regional HADR search and rescue.

Brig. Gen. Thomas Tickner, POD Commanding General, served as one of five senior U.S. delegates representing U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) at the multinational military seminar.

As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expert in the Indo-Pacific region, a component of POD's mission is to integrate capabilities in support of disaster preparedness and response.

"What an incredible opportunity it's been to gather alongside allies and partners at this year's PAMS. This event gives us a platform to enable alliances and partnerships, build upon regional HA/DR capabilities, develop interpersonal relationships before disasters occur, and ultimately promotes long-term objectives for security, peace and cooperation," stated Tickner

POD's Senior Program Manager for Security Cooperation, Evan Ting, also attended PAMS and remarked at the strategic value of the event, given the dynamic and complex region.

"When you look at the fact that approximately 70% of the world's natural disasters occur in the Indo-Pacific region, you can begin to see how vital it is for each of these countries represented here to invest in the body of knowledge that's been built through PAMS and to contribute experiences, assets and cooperation, for when, not if, the next natural disaster strikes," stated Ting.

The keynote speaker during the event was Chief of the General Staff, Vietnam People's Army, Sr. Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang, who highlighted the likelihood of needing to put into practice the knowledge gained from the seminar.

"I believe that many of you sitting here will be given the great responsibility of on-scene command in an emergency, and I hope that what you will gain from this seminar will help you perform your future missions," said Giang.

Gen. Robert B. Brown, commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific, emphasized the importance of taking a proactive posture, which PAMS facilitates, in terms of HA/DR.

"I think it's a very important point that you don't want to wait until a crisis happens to form relationships. That is very difficult in the middle of a crisis so events like this make a huge difference in relationships and sharing ideas," said Brown. "We have an opportunity this week to come together for discussions and cooperation and share ideas will result in saving lives around the region."

Countries participating in this year's events include: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Fiji, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.