Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd - International Seapower Symposium

Speeches / October 12, 2016

Admirals, delegates, ladies and gentlemen…

As we all know, it is vitally important to continue to develop and strengthen relationships with like-minded navies, and to develop a level of trust that can only be fully achieved through direct, personal engagement.

As naval leaders, we have a collective responsibility to ensure the lawful and responsible use of the oceans – not only in our own operating areas – but worldwide.

Today, it is my pleasure to provide you a short update on the status of naval cooperation in the Americas, and more specifically, a summary of the recent Inter-American Naval Conference, or “IANC”, a group comprised of the Heads of Navy of 19 countries in the Americas. 

IANC has met biennially since 1960 to discuss how best we can work together to face the challenges of our current and future maritime environments.

The Royal Canadian Navy is proud to currently serve as the General Secretariat for this important forum, and hosted the 27th and most recent gathering in Halifax, Nova Scotia in June of this year.

This was the first time the conference was held in Canada.

The IANC hosting nation rotates between member navies, with the host nation designating a Secretary General and standing up an administrative Secretariat for the two-year term.  

These General Secretariat duties will officially be passed to Colombia, the next hosting nation, later this year.

The IANC is an ideal forum for direct, personal engagement among naval leaders, both in session and within the corresponding evening programs.

At the recent meeting in Halifax, 14 navies and two observer organizations were in attendance.

Unique to IANC is the presence of two permanent observer organizations – the Inter-American Defence Board and the Inter-American Naval Telecommunications Network. 

The Inter-American Defence Board, located in Washington, DC, was established in 1942.

With 28 member states and a rotating 3-star Chairman, the IADB serves as a key interlocutor between the services.

The Chairman, or an appropriate delegate from the IADB, also attends the corresponding “Conference of American Armies”, and the “Air Forces’ System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces.” 

The Chairman of the IADB is a focal point for defence engagement and cooperation in the hemisphere – and in this role attends the important Conference of the Defence Ministers of the Americas, which also occurs every two years. 

This conference, occurring next month in Trinidad and Tobago, is attended by Ministers of Defence, Chiefs of Defence, and senior national Policy staffs.

The Inter-American Naval Telecommunications Network is the only, permanent, multinational navy-specific organization in the Americas whose role is to provide advisory and administrative support to the hemispheric navies.

It was stood up under the direction of the IANC Council of Delegates in 1976.  

Based in Jacksonville, Florida, the Network has a multinational staff, and contributes to the development of physical and web-based tools that enable our navies to communicate directly, both ashore and at sea. 

Recognizing the significant challenges that face the nations of the hemisphere, over time it became necessary to stand up several specialized conferences. 

The work of these bodies becomes increasingly important, as we respond to known or anticipated defence and security threats in the region.

As we all know, it is far more productive to address these issues collectively, as neighbours.

The IANC Secretariat and the Council of Delegates monitor the activities of these specialized conferences.

They are quick to adjust their tasking or mandates to the changing demands in naval technology and innovation, and the increasingly critical threat to our communications and cyber networks.

For this 27th IANC in Halifax, the member navies selected “The Future Maritime Operating Environment” as the central theme.

Delegate presentations and discussions dealt with a range of topics, including resource exploitation, UNCLOS, the changing balance of power in global geopolitics, technology, and the costs and benefits of interoperability.

I was asked to provide a few key points on the current state of regional naval cooperation in the Americas. 

The Inter-American Naval Telecommunication Network, one of the two observer organizations I mentioned earlier, is a key piece of this collaboration.

Through its dedicated data communication networks and an ambitious exercise program, the network is an ongoing success story.

With a permanent staff, its stability ensures the navies of the Americas continue to develop and utilize common communication tools, with common standards.  

Naturally, the most tactical of our regional cooperation activities occurs within the scope of regional exercises and operations.

The navies of the Americas are all invited to participate in several large-scale recurring naval exercises in the region such as PANAMAX … designed to practice methods of protecting the safe passage of commercial traffic through the Panama Canal.

Other activities include Exercises UNITAS and TRADEWINDS … the latter focused on countering transnational organized crime and practicing humanitarian assistance and disaster response measures.

Regional cooperation also occurs at sea while our multinational forces are deployed under the coordination of the Joint Interagency Task Force South. 

JIATF South conducts detection, monitoring and interdiction missions throughout the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific off Central America, to counter the flow of illicit narcotics in the hemisphere.

As maritime practitioners, we are all aware of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, or “CUES”, that was developed by the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, and ratified in 2014. 

Following an open and frank discussion at the Halifax Conference in June, the Council of Delegates voted in favour of endorsing CUES, and directed that it be employed by member navies without delay. 

As the Secretariat for IANC, the RCN formally advised the Indonesian Navy – the current Secretary General of the WPNS –of this initiative.

The Council of Delegates also established a process to allow other navies of the Americas to seek observer status within IANC – further enhancing our inclusive and collective approach to hemispheric defence and security.

As Commander RCN, I was extremely pleased with the outcome of IANC 2016. 

Flag Officers appreciate that facing each other across the table is vital to fostering the cooperation and the relationships we need in support of our own national objectives. 

It’s not only the plenary sessions that pay dividends.

Bilateral meetings, and the social activities embedded into the programs, are where some of the most important discussions occur, and where some of the best relationships are established. 

For Canada – a nation with a small navy – these multilateral defence institutions are important components of our overall operational ambitions throughout the global maritime commons.

In addition, the relationships we build through fora like IANC can lead to collaborative agreements when operational needs arise.

For example, the RCN has established an ongoing agreement with the Armadas of Chile and Spain for the temporary use of replenishment ships while we await the delivery of our future supply ships.

By purposefully building these relationships in advance with our trusted international partners, Canada had already established familiar connections when the need arose.

For as we all know, you can’t surge trust.

The RCN will continue to be an active participant in the Inter‑American Naval Conference – as well as in other multinational fora, such as the Western Pacific Naval Symposium.  

We consider these organizations to be valuable tools for developing closer relations in our hemisphere and beyond.

Thank you.