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NEWS | Oct. 4, 2023

Army North, Mexican Army participate in 77th Fifth Army Inter-American Relations Program

By Sgt. Keaton Habeck U.S. Army North Public Affairs

U.S. Army North and the Mexican Army participated in the 77th Fifth Army Inter-American Relations Program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and America’s I Corps from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1, 2023. 

First established in 1946, FIARP is a program designed to enhance Army-to-Army relations and exchange ideas on how to increase operational compatibility and meet ARNORTH and U.S. Northern Command Security Cooperation objectives. 

“It’s one of our longest bilateral relationships with one of our partners,” said Lt. Gen. John Evans Jr., ARNORTH commanding general. “The idea really was to foster closer ties between the U.S. Army and the Mexican Army. We do this every year in hopes of building those relationships and at the same time, helping inform our partners to the south about the types of things we’re engaged in.”

The annual event is something participants from both the U.S. and Mexico said they looked forward to and the cooperation continues to help with issues both countries encounter.

“This is a good exercise to be able to learn the problem sets that we both face,” said Lt. Gen. Celestino Avila Astudillo, commander of the Mexican Army. “We can improve cooperation and understanding and how we might be able to respond to situations we may both face.”

The Mexican officials, along with their ARNORTH counterparts, discussed I Corp’s mission in the Indo-Pacific region and how they can contribute to enhancing security and stability in the area as well. 

“We decided to come to JBLM and I Corps because of the focus on the Indo-Pacific,” Evans said. “I think it’s important that we help educate our partners and friends on some of the activities that are going on in INDOPACOM that can affect all of us. It was really a great place to come to get a feel for the type of capability that I Corps brings.”

Evans stressed the importance of sharing ideas about operational compatibility and being open about the U.S. Army’s capabilities. 

“We don’t do anything unilaterally anymore,” Evans said. “We need to maintain a very close relationship with the Mexican military.” 

 Astudillo said he was very happy with his visit to JBLM and I Corps and is excited to learn more at future FIARP meetings.