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'FSM crucial part of overall defense plan'

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

The U.S. is proposing the establishment of a national security office in the Federated States of Micronesia, among other defense projects being planned for the Pacific nation.

"The FSM is a crucial part of the overall defense plan and is vitally important to the region," said Rear Adm. Greg Huffman, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s senior military official in Guam and Micronesia.

"With that in mind, continued communication and collaboration with the ambassador to the FSM and the heads of states in Micronesia are absolutely paramount to our core mission in defending the homeland,” he added.

Details of the proposed national security office were not currently available.

Huffman and U.S. Ambassador to the FSM Jennifer Johnson hosted the U.S.-FSM Joint Committee Meeting held May 1 and 2 at the Joint Region Marianas headquarters in Nimitz Hill, with FSM Vice President Aren Palik leading the Micronesian delegation.

U.S. and FSM officials discussed progress updates on U.S.-funded projects throughout the FSM during the two-day session.

One of the biggest U.S.-funded projects in the FSM is the $400 million airport expansion in Yap. According to the U.S. Air Force's budget request for fiscal 2025, “An additional project is planned for this location that would add capacity for aircraft parking and improve access to the runway."

Officials also discussed maritime security throughout the region.

"These meetings allow us the chance to sit together and discuss priorities,

 enhance our partnerships and look for opportunities to strengthen the communities throughout the FSM," Huffman said.

Echoing Huffman's remarks, Johnson described the JCM as "a gathering of family" to frankly discuss important mutual security and defense matters between the FSM and the United States.

"Over the past two days, we had productive and meaningful exchanges to address specific security challenges, recap our accomplishments, and pave the way forward," Johnson said.

"We were very pleased by the large, high-level turnout from both sides, and we look forward to our next meeting in Chuuk as we continue the momentum we built with our enduring partners and friends," she added.

The JCM is required under the Compact of Free Association Title III: Security and Defense Relations and promotes ongoing dialogue between nations to enhance security and defense responsibilities in the region.

In a separate press release, the government of Yap said the meeting also focused on law enforcement, "with discussions covering topics such as the Defense Security Cooperation Agency overview, training and equipment support to FSM, recent activities, and the Defence Institute of International Agency, anment said.d updates on FSM maritime affairs."


"Additionally, dialogues centered on the briefing on National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Maritime safety, the LOE4 environmental security program, Pacific security briefings by the CIA, and investigative and outreach programs like PILEC by the FBI," the Yap government said.

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