U.S. Central Command’s U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel gives opening remarks at the “Gulf+2” chiefs of defense conference at the command’s headquarters Mar. 19, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Dana Flamer)

Senior U.S., Arab Leaders Discuss Regional Coordination, Cooperation

Strengthening defense relationships, pursuing shared security concerns and creating tangible results were the themes of U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel’s opening remarks at U.S. Central Command’s Mar. 19 Gulf chiefs of defense conference.

The commander’s intent set the tone for the 30-plus senior visitors from eight nations – to include Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Egypt and Jordan – to discuss regional security issues such as maritime security, integrated air and missile defense and logistics.

“This conference is important not only for Egypt, but to all the partners,” said Egyptian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Mohamed Farid Hegazi, who’s delegation led a formal discussion on border security. “Given the current circumstances prevailing across the region, it’s important to exchange views of our interests.”

The one-day conference, the fourth in three years and the first held in the United States, gave senior U.S. and Arab military leaders formal and informal opportunities to discuss ways to approach their respective nations’ security objectives together.

“By all accounts, the event was a success,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Seth Volk, branch chief for Gulf security cooperation in the command’s strategy, plans and policy directorate. “The participants built upon the work done in previous conferences and demonstrated progress in their collaboration toward shared security objectives.”

This was also the last Gulf CHOD conference for Gen. Votel, who’s retiring in late March after 39 years of military service. Said Gen. Votel: “I’m very proud that we’ve continued to move forward from our previous conference to drive further cooperation and collaboration.”

Read more at CENTCOM

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