I mentioned the other day that I would be attending the PACOM Press Conference but I really couldn’t say that much about it at the time.
I was the only blogger that attended this Press Conference for the Chiefs of Defense Conference that finished in Hawaii last week.
Everything was pretty tight lipped and I was very honored to be invited.
The conference was attended by 22 countries Chiefs of Defense and the list of attendees was quite impressive:
I arrived at 2:00 in the afternoon for the 3:00 Press Conference and was debriefed of a few things and screened for a few others. I guess they wanted to make sure I was who I said I was and that I wasn’t packing any weapons or bombs on me.
The room was set up with the podium facing us so that the Officials would have a nice backdrop behind them. When I entered the room… I knew immediately that this set up would not work well for a press conference and voiced my concerns.
I knew that the lighting wouldn’t work very well but after a few grumbles I just kind of kept my mouth shut. About 20 minutes later, a TV crew from the Military came into the room… and of course they saw the same thing that I did with the room.
I asked them if they had back lights and they said no. At that point, they then addressed the people in charge as well and said we needed to change the room around for better lighting.
So with 15 minutes before the actual press conference began, we switched the layout of the room so that we could get better lighting.
Some quick Audio Visual sound checks and we were good to go.
A little after 3:00, military leaders began to come into the room…
and Commander of the Pacific Command, Admiral Willard, and a few others came into the room and shook hands with those that were in attendance.
Admiral Willard talked about the weeks events and praised the other Countries that participated in this 12th Annual Conference.
This clip talks a bit about what they talked about during the conference:
In this clip they talk about their joint efforts to help with the American Samoa Tsunami Relief Effort.
And in this clip he introduces us to Joint Commander France’s Rear Admiral Jean-Louis Vichot of Armed Forces in French Polynesia and Vice Chief of Defense Force Rear Admiral Jack Steer from New Zealand.
After about 15 minutes of briefing us of what occurred at the conference they then opened the questions up to the media present in the room.
Here is some general information I’ve been allowed to comment on:
The conference purpose is to bring together senior military leaders from nations in the Asia-Pacific region to meet and discuss mutual security challenges, improve mutual relationships and foster security cooperation.
The conference theme is Common Defense Challenges in the Asia-Pacific Region
What is the Chief of Defense Conference?
The Chiefs of Defense Conference, or CHODs, is an annual conference of the chiefs of defense of the nations in the Asia-Pacific region. These conferences bring together senior military leaders from regional nations to meet and discuss mutual security challenges, improve mutual relationships and foster security cooperation. This is the eighth such conference, and is hosted by Admiral Robert Willard, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command.
What Countries Participated this year?
Nations attending this year’s conference include: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Tonga, Vietnam, and the United States.
Why do you hold these conferences?
Nations in the region have mutual and related security issues. The CHODs is designed to bring together senior military leaders from regional nations to meet and discuss mutual security challenges, improve mutual relationships and foster security cooperation.
What will be discussed at the conference?
These conferences bring together senior military leaders from regional nations to meet and discuss mutual security challenges, improve mutual relationships and foster security cooperation. It has been our past practice not to discuss details of the conference, to include agenda, activities, etc. To encourage frank and open discussions, the conferences are not open to media
It was a very moving experience for me, and I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to meet these world leaders and hear about what they were doing in Hawaii.
There was lots of stuff I saw… but I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of and obviously I’m not gonna talk about it on my blog either.
After the press conference ended, a Military Official asked me why I didn’t ask any questions of the World Leaders. I basically told them that I wasn’t going to stick my foot in my mouth with the world watching!
And still to this day… I wonder if they were trying to “jam my data signal” from reaching my phone from inside of that room… as i really wanted to Twitter things out to the world… but I literally had to step outside of the room just to catch a signal!
You can view a short blog I made about this shortly after the event from my cell phone here: So I met an Admiral