The Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS) provided subject matter expertise to the Southeast Asia Maritime Law Enforcement Initiative (SEAMLEI) Coast Guard Commander’s Forum, which took place from April 4-7 in Tumon, Guam.
The U.S. and Philippine Coast Guards hosted the annual forum, which serves to enhance regional stability by promoting maritime safety, security cooperation, coordination and information sharing. This year’s forum emphasized counter drug trafficking; Illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries; and the strategic use of maritime domain awareness tools to counter these and other transnational security threats.
This was the fifth time that DKI APCSS has assisted with the SEAMLEI Coast Guard Commanders’ Forum. In 2017, the Center transitioned hosting responsibilities to the U.S. Coast Guard and has since provided support via subject matter experts and international forum facilitation expertise. Senior leaders and policy makers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam gathered virtually and in person to participate in the forum.
DKI APCSS professors Dr. Bill Wieninger and U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Christie Brown supported the event, providing guidance in agenda development, assisting with identifying speakers, and facilitating the event’s introductions, polling, scheduling, and capturing the event’s outcomes. This forum marked the first in-person iteration since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with only two nations participating virtually.
According to Dr. Wieninger, during the forum, there was general consensus that “these events need to be in-person in order to build the trusted relationships necessary for information sharing among partner nations.”
Rear Adm. Ronnie Gil Gavan, commander of Philippine Coast Guard Maritime Security and Law Enforcement Command, addressed the forum in his welcoming remarks.
“Partnerships and collaborations start from relationships, and SEAMLEI proves to be a great incubator of such among like-minded agencies in the region,” said Gavan.