United States military seeks to improve communication and understanding of what they are doing in Palau and the projects involved by increasing communication engagements with the Palauan leaders and the general Palauan community.
“The big part of this is making sure that we had open and transparent communication with the people of Palau so that they had a good understanding of what the objective was and what the scope of each project was going to be,” expressed Rear Adm. Gregory Huffman, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) during an interview after the Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) last Friday, November 17th, 2023.
Referring to the public hearing held in Ngaraard on the TACMOR project, Rear Admiral Huffman said, “We will continue those types of engagements to ensure that the people have direct access to information from the experts … so that their questions can be answered. That is part of the concrete steps that we are committed to taking, continuing that dialogue and ensuring a good understanding at every level.”
Lack of communication was one of the problems Angaur Governor Steven Salii cited following the filing of a lawsuit against the United States government, the Palau government, and two contractors on the Tactical Multi-Mission Over the Horizon Radar (TACMOR) project. Angaur State had moved to remove the United States Government from being party to the suit.
“We are always looking to how we are communicating and gathering lessons to ensure that we are doing the best that we can,” added Rear Admiral Huffman.
National Security Coordinator Jennifer Anson reported that this was a priority for Palau as well, and at this JCM, they invited five governors representing the five states, Ngaraard, Peleliu, Angaur, Airai and Koror, that will be most impacted by military activities.l