Thursday, 20 April 2017

US Navy in training with PNGDF for APEC 2018 - What does this hold for the future after the economic summit?

United States (US) Marines and Sailors embarked aboard USS Comstock (LSD 45) arrived in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG) on April 15, for a Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) engagement with the Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF).

During the visit, the US Marines and Sailors with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) will train alongside the PNGDF to improve their ability to provide security for national-level events, such as the national elections this year and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation annual summit in 2018. 

"We are honored to be here as a demonstration of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps' commitment to strengthen ties with Papua New Guinea's forces and build on the great work accomplished during Exercise Koa Moana 2016," said Cmdr. Bradley Coletti, commanding officer of Comstock. 
The US Sailors and Marines are looking forward to spending time with their counterparts and developing a better understanding of the deep historic ties we have here.
The bilateral training will cover a variety of skill sets, but will focus on military support to civil authority tactics and procedures, which include entry control and vehicle checkpoints, escalation of force tactics, personnel searches, urban patrolling, and VIP escorts.

US Marines and Sailors bring a wide variety of unique capabilities that go beyond the scope of combat operations," said Lt. Col. Patrick Reynolds, commanding officer, Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th MEU, and commander of Marine Corps troops embarked aboard Comstock. 
"Training alongside Papua New Guinea counterparts is an opportunity to exchange knowledge on security, law enforcement, and logistical procedures, which are valuable capabilities for all militaries."

Additionally, the TSC engagement will cover combat lifesaving techniques, field communications and weapons maintenance. Comstock's crew will host PNGDF service members for shipboard tours and familiarization of Navy damage control procedures. Similarly, PNGDF leaders will host their U.S. service member counterparts on a WWII memorial tour.

Approximately 100 Marines and Sailors from the Makin Island ARG/11th MEU and 200 service members with the PNGDF are expected to participate in the TSC. The U.S. units involved are Company B, Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 4th Marines; Combat Logistics Detachment 113, Combat Logistics Battalion 11; Law Enforcement Detachment, 11th MEU; and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock.

This is the sixth military-to-military TSC exchange for the Makin Island ARG/11th MEU during their deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions. Comstock serves as a sea-base for a number of Marine Corps missions from combat operations to providing humanitarian assistance. 

The Makin Island ARG/11th MEU, based out of Southern California, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance amphibious capability with regional partners and to serve as a ready-response force for any type of emerging crisis. The other ships in the ARG are the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25).

Whilst PNG is preparing to host APEC 2018, the tension between North Korea and United States has developed to a new level whereby US Defence is reportedly presenting an option to the Congress to consider shooting down future missile tests in the region. This, the US, would want to show off strength against Pyongyang.

Off course the testing of missile by North Korea in the future will be on the watch list for US troops while assisting PNG with security force with the APEC 2018, be implementing the US Defence Policy to shoot down or not.

PNG is going into election in next couple of months and hopefully a new Government will spearhead the APEC 2018.

PNG Defence Special Force Prepare for 2018 APEC Summit. Image: EMTV / 2016.

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