'); } -->
WASHINGTON Building partnerships with the armies of Asian and Pacific nations is the focus of Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odiernos recent trip through Australia and Thailand.
Last week, Odierno visited first with Lt. Gen. David Morrison, his counterpart in the Australian army. The two talked about the Defense budgets in both Australia and the U.S. and the continuing partnership between the Australian and American armies in the Asian and Pacific regions.
Odierno addressed the Australian Center for Defense and Strategic Studies, which is similar to the U.S. Army War College. He also visited the Australian War Memorial and with Morrison, laid a wreath there.
While in Australia, Odierno addressed the 36th annual Pacific Armies Management Seminar, also known as PAMS. This year, leadership from some 27 armies in the Pacific region attended the event, including China.
Our partnerships in the Pacific region have always been exceptionally important to the United States and to the U.S. Army in particular, Odierno said.
Odierno also talked about challenges facing the international community, including the damaged global economy, competition for dwindling natural resources and the rise of extremist groups.
The general said that while the nation-state still exists, with a central government and controlled borders, individual groups that are enabled by new technology have become a more powerful influencing factor that can change the nature of global relationships in ways they could not have in the past.
Odierno highlighted four areas of potential regional instability that can affect all nations collectively: competition over resources; the agendas of non-state actors; the activities of those using virtual environments, such as the Internet; and the effects of natural disasters in highly populated areas.
As U.S. operations draw down in Afghanistan, Americas Soldiers will be returning to military installations in the Asian-Pacific region, Odierno said, and again be available to participate in partnership-building operations.
I know these units look forward to re-energizing and expanding the partnerships, exercises and exchanges that we share with so many of you, he said.
With 60,000 U.S. Soldiers still in the Pacific region, Odierno said Americas commitment there is as strong as it has ever been.