South Korea, 1-6 April 2017 header


Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller speaks at the Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium (PALS) 2017, Seoul, South Korea, April 1, 2017.


Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium (PALS) is held annually by United States Marine Corps Pacific (USMARFORPAC) to help strengthen relationships between Marine and Naval forces. PALS-17 was held in South Korea from 1-6 Apr 2017.


L to R. Rear Admiral Dato Mohd Reza (Navy), Capt. Martin and BG Hasan Ali (Special Forces)in South Korea, Apr 2017


PALS-17 is a continuation from PALS-16 which was held in San Diego in July 2016 and the inaugural PALS-15 which was held in Hawaii on May 2015. Capt Martin A. Sebastian RMN (R), Senior Fellow and Centre Head for the Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy (MSD) was invited for PALS-15 and PALS-17. In PALS 15, Capt Martin presented on the need for a cohesive amphibious effect in ASEAN and in PALS-17 he was invited to speak on the ASEAN Military Ready Group (AMRG) for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)


Capt. Martin elaborating on the need for Amphibiousity in HADR operations during PALS-15 in Hawaii



Group photo in Hawaii during PALS -15


The symposium brings together senior leaders of Marine Corps, naval infantries, and militaries spanning the Indo-Asia-Pacific region with an interest in amphibious operations, with the objective of having a meaningful dialogue on key aspects of maritime/amphibious operations, capability development, crisis response, and interoperability. The symposium consists of academic discussions, a scenario-based Table-Top Exercise (TTX), amphibious landing demonstration and group discussions.

Engagements in the Indo-Asia Pacific such as PALS and other exercises result in better training and interoperability with our friends and partners throughout the region; they also pave the way for enhanced regional stability and economic ties beneficial to all. The intent behind PALS is to bring amphibious leaders together to discuss each nation’s goals while working with one another to strengthen bilateral and multilateral relationships through future engagements and training. 


Sea-Basing demonstration during PALS-16 in San Diego


Malaysia and the United States are Co Chairs for the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus(ADMM+) Expert Working Group on HADR (EWG HADR) for the period 2016-2019. Among the priorities for the EWG HADR is to operationalise the AMRG.

Capt.Martin proposed that AMRG has the opportunity to rapidly build relief logistics from the sea using the amphibious concept. He also proposed to amalgamate civilian logistics capacities to enhance logistics during the initial period post disaster. National inter-agency relief organisations, NGOs and international organisations can then distribute relief logistics on land.
The AMRG will require capacity building for amphibious operations from relevant forces as calibrated operations require specific skills.

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