The Commander of the Canadian Army, Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin, attended the Extraordinary Meeting of the Commanders of the 30th Cycle of the Conference of American Armies in Mexico City from December 10 to 13, with military leaders from more than 20 Western Hemisphere armies.
The Conference of American Armies is an opportunity for ground force commanders from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, to meet regularly to discuss areas of mutual interest and share lessons learned. In this way, the Conference of American Armies contributes to the security and democratic development of nations.
"Participating in the Conference of American Armies allows Canada to demonstrate leadership on the world stage as a strong and reliable defence partner," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "The Conference is an important forum for commanders to deepen ties with military partners in order to facilitate collaboration on defence issues throughout the continents."
This year, the overall theme of the 30th Cycle of the Conference of American Armies was peacekeeping and disaster-relief operations. The goal was to create mechanisms to improve the collective capacities and interoperability of participating militaries.
"For the Canadian Army, the conference was an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences related to defence with partners throughout the Americas," said Lieutenant-General Devlin. "We were able to regionalize certain response capabilities for disaster-relief and peacekeeping operations, determining ways to leverage the strengths of each country for the purposes of military cooperation."
Canada has been a full member of the Conference since 1993. The Conference of American Armies is comprised of 20 member armies, including Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela, along with five observer armies and two observer military organizations.
The Conference of American Armies was founded in 1960 as the Army Commanders International Organization in the Western Hemisphere. The Commanders conference usually takes place once every two years.