SANTIAGO, Chile (Nov. 6, 2012) -- Maj. Gen. Frederick S. Rudesheim, the U.S. Army South commanding general, led a delegation of staff officers as they kicked off the annual army-to-army staff talks between the U.S. and Chilean armies here, Nov. 5.The staff talks are scheduled to end Nov. 7, and will serve as a bilateral forum for strategic-level discussions between respective armies. The engagements enhance army-to-army contacts and mutual understanding, providing the partner nation armies with insights concerning specific U.S. Army programs, areas of mutual interest, and assisting partner nation armies in areas of modernization or reform.This year's staff talks will be centered on two themes: Promoting Regional Security and Stability and Strengthening Doctrine and Operational Capacity to Improve Interoperability. The goal during the staff talks is to develop a bilateral engagement plan with the Chilean army."Being equal partners, Chile and the U.S. share the mutual objective of being able to work side-by-side, especially in areas that promote security and stability, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions," said Maj. Lance Awbrey, the Army section chief in Chile. "Gaining familiarity and an increased understanding of how each army operates makes it easier for us to work together when the situation arises."The U.S. Army's capabilities in the region are greatly influenced by the partnerships forged with partner nation armies. Strengthening the relationship with the Chilean army through these talks will have lasting effects on the peace and stability of the region. With its highly capable military and law enforcement agencies serving as models of professionalism in the region, Chile is a key player in enhancing security in the region.Maj. Steve Rivera, the state partnership program director for the Texas Military Forces, agreed that holding bilateral talks with Chile will provide useful forums that forge valuable training engagements between the two armies."We mainly engage the Chileans in the areas of best practices and subject matter expert exchanges designed to increase their military capabilities and capacity with emphasis on disaster planning/response, medical operations and force modernization," said Rivera.A State Partnership was established between the Texas National Guard and Chile in April 2009. Since then, the two militaries have been working and training side-by-side in more than 60 events.The U.S. Army has engaged in annual bilateral staff talks with the Chilean army for the past seven years. Army South is the Army's Executive Agent for the annual staff talks with the Chilean army."The staff talks have been instrumental in enhancing the interoperability and cooperation between the two armies, which have contributed to increased stability in the region," said Awbrey.