Army Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Southern Command, meets in Colombia with Colombian wounded warriors during a Nov. 18, 2021visit to the Centro de Rehabilitación Inclusiva, a military rehabilitation facility. Richardson visited Colombia Nov. 16-18 to meet with defense leaders to discuss security cooperation.
Army Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Southern Command, meets in Colombia with Colombian wounded warriors during a Nov. 18, 2021visit to the Centro de Rehabilitación Inclusiva, a military rehabilitation facility. Richardson visited Colombia Nov. 16-18 to meet with defense leaders to discuss security cooperation. (Photo Credit: DOD photo by Michael Wimbish ) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON — Advancing U.S. security through partnerships and alliances with other nations was the topic discussed by two combatant command leaders at Saturday's Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Navy Adm. John Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Army Gen. Laura Richardson, commander U.S. Southern Command, took part in a panel discussion at the forum, which offers the defense community a chance to discuss and debate how the United States can lead the world in an era of increasingly complex challenges and opportunities.

Aquilino said in the Indo-Pacom area, there is no concern about the strength of U.S. alliances and partnerships. "Our value and the value of our partners is clear in this region," he said.

Additionally, Aukus, a trilateral security pact among Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States was announced Sept. 15 for the Indo-Pacific region, where the United States and the United Kingdom will help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

"Aukus is an additive security relationship that will be extremely helpful to keep that peace and prosperity in the region," he said, adding, "so I certainly welcome it. Australia has made a big step, and I think it will increase the security in the region. For the [solutions set] long term, it is our allies and partners coming together to demonstrate the adherence to international rules-based order for the stability in the region, and [we must] continue that so we are stronger when we're together."

As an additive to the other security arrangements, Aquilino said. "[Aukus'] interoperability with the United States [and] all those allies and partners is beneficial. We value that interoperability. And as the security apparatus works together, it does make us stronger."

Aquilino said in the Indo-Pacom area, there is no concern about the strength of U.S. alliances and partnerships. "Our value and the value of our partners is clear in this region," he said.

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James C. McConville, left, shakes hands with Gen. Laura Richardson during her promotion ceremony at Conmy Hall, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Arlington, Va., Oct. 18, 2021. Richardson succeeded Navy Adm. Craig S. Faller as the commander of U.S. Southern Command, Oct. 29, 2021. Army Sgt. Kevin M. Roy
Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James C. McConville, left, shakes hands with Gen. Laura Richardson during her promotion ceremony at Conmy Hall, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Arlington, Va., Oct. 18, 2021. Richardson succeeded Navy Adm. Craig S. Faller as the commander of U.S. Southern Command, Oct. 29, 2021. Army Sgt. Kevin M. Roy (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kevin M. Roy ) VIEW ORIGINAL

Additionally, Aukus, a trilateral security pact among Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States was announced Sept. 15 for the Indo-Pacific region, where the United States and the United Kingdom will help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

"Aukus is an additive security relationship that will be extremely helpful to keep that peace and prosperity in the region," he said, adding, "so I certainly welcome it. Australia has made a big step, and I think it will increase the security in the region. For the [solutions set] long term, it is our allies and partners coming together to demonstrate the adherence to international rules-based order for the stability in the region, and [we must] continue that so we are stronger when we're together."

As an additive to the other security arrangements, Aquilino said. "[Aukus'] interoperability with the United States [and] all those allies and partners is beneficial. We value that interoperability. And as the security apparatus works together, it does make us stronger."

Richardson talked about the importance of Colombia and Brazil in her area of responsibility, which have been two of the United States' biggest security partners in the southern region for a long time.

"[Given] all of the challenges that we have — the cross-cutting threats [that] challenge our collective security across all domains … our allies and partners exponentially make us stronger," she said. "And so, I think we have to look at that, from that perspective of what they have to bring and what we have to bring. We have to look at it from their perspective and their lens. A lot of times we look only through … our lens."

Richardson said U.S. allies want to partner and be teammates with the United States and want to do more, she noted, adding, "I think that we've got to capitalize upon that."

Military exercises give the United States and its partner nations the opportunities to showcase professional militaries and help train partners, who become key exporters of security in the region, she emphasized. "So, we're not only just participating in an exercise to work toward another one — it actually trains [nations] to be better security partners in the region, as well."