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NEWS | Aug. 23, 2021

U.S., Chilean armies finalize 16th bilateral army-to-army staff talks

By Leanne Thomas U.S. Army South Public Affairs

U.S. Army South and the Chilean Army held virtual bilateral staff talks Aug. 19-20 to formally agree upon security cooperation activities from 2022-2024.

“It is with great pride and pleasure that I represent the U.S. Army for this bilateral meeting,” said Colombian Army Brig. Gen. Hernando Garzón Rey, U.S. Army South deputy commander for interoperability. “The armies of the United States and Chile have had a strong relationship for years, and together, have faced various challenges and threats in our hemisphere. We have taken great steps to strengthen ties and improve our interoperability."

During the two-day event, the U.S. and Chilean delegations established agreed-to-actions with areas of cooperation that focus on peacekeeping operations and global security cooperation, domestic and regional humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and interoperability and force readiness.

“In recent months, we have planned several events that will continue with the development of our interoperability,” said Garzón. “As a result, our armies will be more prepared to work together and face any challenge that comes, guaranteeing the stability and security of the Americas.”

With 72 agreements planned to take place in 2022 alone, the close coordination between the two nations’ armies demonstrates their ability to plan and execute complex combined operations despite COVID-19 challenges and under changing and uncertain conditions.

“The minutes that we sign today are a product of months of coordination across the staffs,” said Maj. Gen. William L. Thigpen, the U.S. Army South commanding general during the closing ceremony. “The exercises, schools and exchanges, and activities that we have planned today will make both of our armies capable and ready throughout the future.”

As the Army’s Executive Agent, U.S. Army South conducts bilateral staff talks on behalf of the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army with five countries in Latin America to strengthen professional partnerships and increase interaction between armies. These staff talks are agreed to by the countries through the diplomatic process to enhance cooperation and interoperability.