Remarks by Captain Sam Casella, Joint Mission Commander at the Closing Ceremony, Balance Canoe 13-1
National Counterterrorism Special Force Headquarters, Phnom Penh | March 8, 2013
(as prepared for delivery)
Major General Manet; Your Excellencies; Distinguished Visitors from the Ministries of Health and Interior; Members of the Cambodian National Counter Terrorism Committee (NCTC), National Counterterrorism Special Force (NCTSF), Royal Gendarmerie, National Police, National Committee for Disaster Management, National Committee for Maritime Security; Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of the United States Mission to Cambodia and our trainers from the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion and 5th Military Information Support Battalion, it gives me great pleasure to join you for the closing ceremony of Balance Canoe 13-1 between the U.S. Army, the Kingdom of Cambodia, and its Armed Forces.
The goal of this exercise was to introduce Civil Affairs operations and Military Information Support operations to our partner forces here in the Kingdom. Military to military events like our Balance Canoe program provide an opportunity for our two countries to share best practices in our areas of expertise and further refine our capabilities.
The importance of this event cannot be understated because the complex security dilemmas that face our countries are not always best resolved by force, but rather by indirect approaches that prevent, deter, or mitigate threats to our countries’ national security and national interests. These problems are never easy to resolve, but they are among the most critical challenges our countries will encounter in today’s dynamically evolving security environment.
During the exercise, you also discussed how Civil Affairs and civil military operations factor in to the ever-evolving security environment that we are faced with today. You learned about civil information management, audience and media analysis, product development, human rights, and interagency coordination. During the medical phase training, your units conducted the first internally taught iteration of combat medical training, enhancing your forces’ ability to render life-saving aid in tough, mission specific scenarios. This medical training can, and will save lives both in operational settings, and in your day-to-day activities.
To conclude the exercise, you brought all these lessons, experiences, and ideas together in a tough, realistic scenario that challenged your assumptions and stretched your capacities. The overwhelmingly positive feedback from the trainers noted that the teams from various ministries who participated in National Counter Terrorism Committee operations worked well together and maximized the training’s activities. This cooperation will continue to be the foundation for your success in the weeks and months to come.
It is clear that this cooperation and interaction has enhanced the relationship between the U.S. military, National Counter Terrorism Committee, and National Counterterrorism Special Force while preparing for a wide range of possible contingencies. I am confident that the hard work and effort that everyone put into this event has improved skills, enhanced confidence, and built lasting partnerships that will be needed to respond to ever-present and ever-changing security challenges. Everyone who participated in this training should be proud of their accomplishments over the past three weeks.
In closing, I would like to extend my congratulations to His Excellency Major General Hun Manet, the National Counter Terrorism Committee, participating Ministry Officials, the Royal Gendarmerie, National Police, National Committee for Disaster Management, and National Counter Terror Special Force for all you have achieved during these three weeks, and for all the hard work over the years that made this event so successful. I am proud of each and every one of you, and I am confident in the continued partnership of our two great nations. Thank you for your service to your countries.