Senior officials from the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) met with senior officials from the Ministry of National Defense (MND) for the 12th Lao-United States Bilateral Defense Dialogue. This meeting was hosted by the Ministry of National Defense, and held on August 28, 2017 at the Manoluck Hotel in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.
The meeting was led by Brigadier General Kenechanh Nanthalangsy, Director General of Foreign Relations Department, Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Brigadier General Mark Gillette, J5 Deputy Director of USPACOM Directorate for Strategic Plans and Policy. Twenty-two Lao and U.S. delegates attended the event, to include representatives from the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in Washington D.C.
The U.S Ambassador to Laos, HE Ms. Rena Bitter, attended the opening ceremony. In her remarks, she noted the significant opportunities and areas for expansion of bilateral military cooperation in the wake of the former U.S. President’s historical visit to Lao P.D.R., including her highlighting of the positive impact this is having and could have in the future on the overall U.S.-Lao relationship.
The Bilateral Defense Dialogue (BDD) is a forum for bilateral consultations between the Lao Ministry of National Defense and U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation, as well as to develop defense cooperation programs that enhance relations between our security forces, encourage greater regional military cooperation, and promote the common interests of both countries. Primary topics of the dialogue included military medical cooperation; civil-military operations, to include cooperation on humanitarian UXO removal and disaster relief; training and education opportunities, to include English language training and professional military education; and Lao People’s Army participation in regional conferences, workshops, and senior level meetings.