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Key Leader Engagement Part I: INDOPACOM

On April 28, 2023, the Honorable Governor Lemanu P. S. Mauga met with the leadership of the U.S Indo-Pacific command, Lieutenant General Stephen D. Sklenka & Chief of Staff Major General Joshua M. Rudd on real-world situations.

Included in the roundtable discussion were Phillip N. Waldron Command Master Chief of U.S. Coast Guard 17th District, Mr. David J. Ranz Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to United States Indo-Pacific Command, Ms. Rebekah Laurion (J2) Senior Analyst at Defense Intelligence Agency, and other staff members.

Two of American Samoans servicemen and women helped coordinate this meeting with the leaders of INDOPACOM. Mr. Henry Jessop is an experienced Senior Operations Lead with a demonstrated history of working in the military management industry; Major Jennifer Kelley is a Strategy and Policy officer at INDOPACOM with ancestral ties in Fagasa.

The meeting allowed for the exchange of information, potential coordination of efforts, and the development of joint initiatives to address common challenges. The brief bilateral talks foresee a great partnership to develop strategies promoting regional security presence and deter potential adversaries.

Additionally, the discussion overarches the opportunity to strengthen relationships between the United States and the Pacific Region through maximizing future opportunities. In addition to promoting regional security, USINDOPACOM's military presence in the Pacific can also have important economic benefits.

As the Governor noted, the presence of USINDOPACOM in the Pacific can help balance foreign investment and sustain economic growth for American Samoa. The military presence does not necessarily lead to geoeconomic favoritism but rather contributes to a stable and secure environment in which businesses can thrive. In this sense, USINDOPACOM's military presence in the Pacific can be seen as a positive force for economic growth and prosperity. This is the first of several meetings the Honorable Governor will have leading up to this week's Select USA summit beginning next week May 1, 2023.

Furthermore, the objective remains essentially the same: In order to stay ahead of the curve and ensure sustainable growth, it is crucial for American Samoa to explore untapped potential by expanding their scope of multilateral engagements and collaborations.

This can create new avenues for economic innovation and development; moreover, foster relationships that allow the territory to leverage the strengths of potential alliance/investors to achieve a shared vision.

Main Photo Pictorial: The PACOM office has high level security restrictions and disallowed all outside electronics. The photo was taken by the INDOPACOM staff, printed and gifted to each of the A.S. delegation that attended this high level meeting.

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