Q: Admiral, can we get an update on PACOM’s partnership with the country of Mongolia? There’s been a lot of news over the past year or two about their peacekeeping efforts.
ADM. KEATING: You bet, Jim. I had the privilege of going to Mongolia a while ago, saw the concluding exercise events and the ceremony attendant to Khaan Quest, conducted in the Mongolian steppes, which is a fabulous training area. The Mongolians were very cooperative training partners for about 10 countries who sent troops — I think the number was 10 — sent forces to participate in the exercise.
Mongolians have joined us in Iraq, as you know. I saw a number of their forces when we went, visited them Thanksgiving a year and a half ago. They were tasked with providing perimeter security for a camp southeast of Baghdad, a singularly important mission, as you appreciate, particularly if you’re inside the camp. And they were doing a magnificent job.
The Mongolian chief of defense has gotten to be a pretty good friend. He has come to our Chiefs of Defense conference. They’re in, of course, a strategically critical spot for us, with Russia to the north and China in the south. They have some marvelous natural resources upon which they intend to capitalize. So they’re a good partner of ours, they’re good friends, and we enjoy working closely with them.
The emphasis the Mongolian Armed Forces places on peacekeeping is a success story that can’t be told enough. It is also important to note that Mongolia considers the United States to be it’s 3rd neighbor and English is the primary foreign language learned in Mongolia.
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