By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 12, 2012 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with his Russian counterpart at the Pentagon to discuss international security issues and methods to foster military relations, said Navy Cmdr. Scott McIlnay, public affairs officer for the chairman.
U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey met with Russian Army Gen. Nikolay Makarov, deputy minister of defense and chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
“This was General Dempsey's first substantive meeting with General Makarov since he assumed duties as Chief of General Staff in June 2008,” McIlnay said. “The two leaders had brief contact in January and April at the Military Committee in Chief of Defense Staff session.”
McIlnay said the chairman and Makarov discussed “topics of mutual security interests in Afghanistan, [and] the Middle East, to include Syria, the Asia-Pacific, and missile defense.
“They also discussed the status and way ahead for the Bilateral Presidential Commission's Military Cooperation Working Group (MCWG),” he said.
McIlnay explained the working group was established to identify mutually beneficial areas of cooperation; coordinate implementation of joint projects to strengthen strategic stability and international security; develop military contacts; discuss matters of mutual security; and monitor execution of current cooperative projects and joint activities.
“The Military Cooperation Work Plan, a product of the MCWG, has seen recent expansion, with 17 events included in the 2009 plan and 110 events in the 2012 plan,” McIlnay said. “Bilateral engagements on the work plan include port visits, education exchanges, and exercises.”
McIlnay noted that the U.S. and Russian Forces Joint Training Exercise on Fort Carson, Colo., in May was an example of previous cooperation between both militaries.
“For about two weeks, 20 Russian soldiers conducted joint training with U.S. forces,” he said.