CANBERRA, Australia (July 16, 2012) -- Senior Army personnel from 27 Pacific nations are developing relationships and exchanging views during the 36th Pacific Armies Management Seminar, in Australia's capital this week.

The Pacific Armies Management Seminar, or PAMS, the U.S. Army Pacific's largest theater security and cooperation event, is co-hosted by USARPAC and a different partner nation annually. This is the third time Australia has hosted the event since it began in Hawaii in 1978.

"I feel honored to welcome so many of my colleagues from across the Pacific here in our nation's capital for this collaborative exchange," said Australian Chief of Army, Lt. Gen. David Morrison.

Morrison is co-hosting PAMS 2012 with USARPAC Commander, Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski.

"The Pacific Armies Management Seminar is the longest running security forces meeting in the Pacific region, and I believe the continued commitment by participants is recognition of the benefits PAMS provides in strengthening our interpersonal relationships and mutual trust," Wiercinski said.

PAMS is organized around a theme and several related topics. This year's theme is "Asia Pacific Land Forces: New Challenges, Shared Solutions." Seminar attendees will participate in workshops and presentations sharing experiences and best practices with this year's focus on responding to natural disasters and managing disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

Morrison says the focus on disaster relief is timely. "Following every major flood, bushfire and cyclone, the Australian Army continues to refine our approach to disaster relief and recovery efforts."

"Sharing these lessons with our Pacific neighbors and hearing their solutions to catastrophic incidents, like the 2011 tsunami in Japan and Thailand floods, offers an extremely valuable exchange for the benefit of all citizens in the Pacific region," Morrison added.

Three Plenary sessions are being held: 'Challenges confronting Asia-Pacific land forces' hosted by the Maldives & Malaysia, 'Opportunities for land force co-operation in the Asia-Pacific Region' hosted by Indonesia & Japan and 'Practical approaches to land force challenges in the Asia-Pacific Region' hosted by Bangladesh & New Zealand.

Guest speakers, national senior military officers or civilian experts, will speak during each session. Presentations will be followed by facilitated question and answer sessions. Delegates will then separate into breakout working groups of 20-25 members in each working group to discuss and develop the topics further. The discussion of each topic concludes in a plenary session where the breakout working groups brief their findings.

The seminar culminates with a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief table top exercise, where nations can put their solutions to the test in a controlled environment.