MAJOR General Roger Mathews, a senior official of the U.S. Army Pacific Command, visited Port Moresby
last week to strengthen relationships and explore potential training partnerships in Papua New Guinea.
He met and congratulated newly appointed Commander of the Papua New Guinean Defense Force (PNGDF),
Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo, to discuss ways to build closer ties between the two countries.
“PNG is an important nation for the United States in its relationship with the Pacific region- with both countries
have very like-minded goals and have a very strong relationship since independence and are building on it,” said Major General Mathews.
Of all US military commands- the US Pacific Command, based in Hawaii is the largest standing overseas operations in what constitutes half of the globe. The Pacific Command has over 100,000 active duty forces and leads much of the senior leader engagement for US Army activities in countries such as Australia, Philippines, and Thailand, among others.
Maj Gen Mathews said that the US Army wanted to help the Pacific region’s militaries to professionalize so they can better support their governments through discipline- conforming to rules, codes, ethics, and regulations.
“We are mindful of our constitution and our civilian government, and we have a clear divide between the military and civilian authority, our military works for our civilian authorities.” he added.
The United States has the expertise to offer training, particularly to improve military operations in disaster preparedness.
Mathews believed that shared efforts, in terms of disaster relief and building relationships in the Pacific region, are of paramount importance and his visit was just the start of many good things to come.
The visit supports the Pacific Command and the US administration’s rebalance to the region, where the United States seeks a secure a prosperous Papua New Guinea that is able to play a positive leadership role in the Pacific Islands region.