Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti welcomed international heads of Navy and Coast Guard from nearly 100 nations at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, September 19-22, for the 25th International Seapower Symposium (ISS).
First held in Newport in 1969, and biennially thereafter, ISS offers a forum for dialogue between international navies, coast guards, and the Marine Corps to bolster maritime security by providing opportunities to collaborate, develop trust, and further navy-to-navy training.
“Every Navy and Coast Guard represented here contributes to the stability of the global maritime commons,” said Franchetti. “Whether you are countering drug trafficking, human smuggling, illicit weapons transfers, illegal and unregulated fishing or piracy, policing territorial waters, delivering humanitarian aid, food, or medicine to people in need, assisting mariners stranded at sea, escorting cargo transports or tankers, or deploying forces forward, each nation here is a vital link in the chain that forms the global maritime security network.”
Throughout this year’s symposium, themed “Security Through Partnership,” panels and speakers highlighted the multinational role of allies and partners in competition, crisis, and conflict.
“We have the opportunity to choose engagement over withdrawal, to promote integration over fragmentation, to favor inclusion over exclusion, to champion collaboration over protectionism, and to choose principles over sheer power, as the basis for a partnership that benefits everyone,” said Franchetti.
In addition to VCNO, delegates heard remarks from Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy, and U.S. Naval War College President Rear Adm. Peter Garvin.
“The United States has always been a maritime nation,” said Kennedy. “From our earliest days, our history was shaped by the sea. As an Atlantic and Pacific power dependent on trade and commerce, the U.S. Navy has always been at the center of our national identity, working to explore and understand the oceans, and keep the seas free and open for all.”
The symposium included three regional briefs, four panels, and featured delegates from more than 35 countries through a variety of presentations throughout the week.
Some topics and interest areas discussed included seabed infrastructure; illegal, unreported, and unregulated maritime activity; artificial intelligence; and people. Secretary Del Toro conveyed the significance of discussing these topics as a group.
“It’s important to recognize that the dialogues we had this week doesn’t end at the closing ceremony. Our entire department is excited to continue engaging with each nation long after we leave Newport,” said Del Toro. “It’s in our collective interest to work together in defense of our shared ideals and preserve a maritime common that is free and open for all to use for the benefit of every nation around the globe.”
The War College also hosted a technology demonstration consisting of seven exhibit stations showcasing cutting edge U.S. Navy unmanned technology capabilities. ISS delegates had the opportunity to witness real-world applications for selected equipment, gaining concrete technical knowledge, and interacting directly with U.S. Navy subject matter experts.
As the week concluded, Franchetti thanked the delegates and their spouses for their trust and confidence in the U.S. Navy as a maritime partner.
“The United States Navy is truly honored to have been able to host you here in Newport, and it was a great privilege for me personally to have spent the last few days with you,” remarked Franchetti. “This symposium is one of the most important events our Navy does, and it’s so meaningful because all of you choose to invest your time and share your thoughts with one another.”
The next International Seapower Symposium will be held in Newport in 2025.
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