The 24th annual Indo-Pacific Chiefs of Defense (CHODs) Conference, held in Sydney this year, has concluded.
The conference was co-hosted by the Australian Defence Force and US Indo-Pacific Command, represented by Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, and Commander US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral John C. Aquilino.
Bringing together senior military leaders from twenty-seven countries, the conference promoted rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. Discussions centered on the security implications of climate change, advanced technologies, and the conflicts in Ukraine and Indo-Pacific.
Chief of Staff, Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, General Kōji Yamazaki, proposed the theme, saying he recognised the strategic realignment in the Indo-Pacific region.
“The challenges we face are bigger than any one country,” General Yamazaki said.
“Only by working together, can we realise our shared vision for a secure, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific of independent, sovereign and resilient states.”
“I am encouraged by the focus this year on climate change - an issue that threatens the livelihoods, security, and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific,” said Brigadier General Lord Fielakepa, Chief of Defence Staff of His Majesty’s Armed Forces in Tonga.
“We are committed to working with our partners and the Pacific family to address impacts of climate change and to ensure we come to each other’s assistance in times of need.”
Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong, Chief of Defence Force, Singapore Armed Forces, said the Defense Chiefs discussed and exchanged views on a wide range of security issues including climate security challenges, advanced technologies, and their impact on security cooperation and regional stability.
“We have also reaffirmed our strong friendship and commitment towards addressing these contemporary security challenges together,” he said.
During the conference, the Chiefs of Defense agreed to increase the complexity and frequency of mini-lateral training exercises, increase information sharing, and increase diversity in their ranks.
Admiral Aquilino said the conference continued to foster the strong military-to-military relationships that enable the United States and its allies and partners to cooperate effectively in the Indo-Pacific.
“Regional collaboration and open dialogue are essential to navigating common challenges in our strategic environment,” he said.
“It’s more important than ever for these meetings to pursue collective solutions to the real and evolving security environment we all face.”
General Angus Campbell reflected on the meetings with his counterparts discussing common challenges, shared goals, and pathways to greater cooperation.
“Australia is committed to regional security, preserving peace through maintaining an open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific,” he said.
“As military chiefs, we all have a role in achieving that outcome.”