By Col. Jane CrichtonDecember 1, 2010
SANTIAGO, Chile - U.S. Army South conducted bi-lateral staff talks with the Chilean army here Nov. 29 - Dec. 1 in order to promote a bilateral professional relationship and coordinate engagement activities with their partner-nation counterparts.
The Army South delegation, which included Maj. Gen. Simeon G. Trombitas, Army South commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Cervantes, Army South command sergeant major, was hosted by Maj. Gen. Alejandro Arancibia, Chilean army international relations director.
Staff talks are a key mechanism in ensuring that the partnership between the two armies remains strong and that they continue to share and promote professional military activites between the two countries.
"The Chilean Army is a very capable and highly professional force," said Trombitas. "Our close relationship benefits both armies and our staff talks this week helped strengthen our ties. We have set a course for exchange and relationship building for the next year that will continue to enhance our partnership."
During the staff talks, Army South, as the U.S. Army's executive agent, formalized interactions between the armies for the next year as they have done with Chile every year since 2006.
"We made great progress this week and agreed upon a number of initiatives to pursue this next year," said Arancibia. "Our partnership with the U.S. Army is moving towards an even higher level of cooperation and maturity. We are very pleased with the results of the staff talks."
Staff talk participants discussed many of the common interests and concerns between the two countries and sought ways to address them to the mutual benefit of everyone involved.
"For example, we discussed a number of professional exchange activities that both our armies would like to do in the area of military health systems," said Col. Brian McNaughton, director of the security cooperation division at Army South. "We also discussed several courses that we would like to send our officers or Soldiers to in Chile, or accept Chilean officers and Soldiers in our courses."
In addition to the staff talks, the U.S. delegation received briefings on the Chilean army response to the earthquake here this year and also the recent creation of the Chilean Joint Staff. The delegation visited the Chilean army's training and doctrine command where they toured the simulation center and the Chilean army's War College.
As part of the visit, Col. Joseph Czarnik, director of civil affairs at Army South, provided a briefing on U.S. civil affairs operations to the current war college class.
The delegation also visited the Special Operations Brigade and received a briefing on the brigade's mission as well as a tour of brigade facilities.
Army South conducts staff talks with four Latin American countries including Chile, Colombia, Brazil and El Salvador. These staff talks were agreed to by the four countries through the diplomatic process and serve to enhance cooperation and interoperability.