SANTIAGO, Chile -- U.S. Army South leaders began bilateral staff talks with Chilean army leaders, Aug. 29, at the Chilean Army Headquarters in Santiago.
This year marked the 18th annual army-to-army engagement of its kind, which promotes and professional relationships and creates training opportunities between the U.S. and Chilean armies.
Maj. Gen. William Thigpen, Army South commander, emphasized that U.S.-Chilean partnership is of utmost importance, which is evident as the two nations are currently celebrating 200 years of diplomatic relations.
“We’re extremely proud to be here on this tremendous day,” Thigpen said during the staff talks’ opening ceremony. “Our armies have trained side-by-side in numerous exercises, numerous partnered events that demonstrate interoperability and our ability to share democratic processes and democratic values, together.”
The two-day staff talks brought together Army South and Chilean army experts to review 50 agreed-to-actions, or proposed joint engagements, for the next three years. These future engagements include subject matter expert exchanges, military education activities, and joint operational training and exercises across all war fighting functions to include cyber, intelligence, force development, technology, strategic communications, logistics, medical and more.
The staff talks and agreed-to-actions also provide both armies with the opportunity to collaborate and share best practices under key strategic focus areas: interoperability and force readiness, peacekeeping and global security cooperation, and domestic and regional humanitarian assistance / disaster relief.
“This is a valuable professional exchange between our representatives,” said Lt. Gen. Rodrigo Ventura, Chilean Army Chief of Staff, as he and Thigpen signed and approved the 50 agreed-to-actions. “I trust that these initiatives will allow our institutions to continue to strengthen relationships.”
While staff talks for fiscal years 2024 – 2026 were underway in Santiago, simultaneously in the Andes mountains, U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division were learning cold weather movement, maneuvering and life-saving techniques at the Chilean Mountain Warfare School – another example of the U.S.-Chilean armies’ enduring partnership.
The U.S. Army has engaged in annual bilateral staff talks with Chile since 2006. Army South, the Army’s Executive Agent and the Army Service Component Command for U.S. Southern Command, conducts these staff talks on behalf of the Chief of Staff of the Army.