US Rear Admiral Benjamin Nicholson, the Joint Region Marianas commander and INDOPACOM’s senior military for the Republic of Palau is currently on island to attend the 2nd JCM held this year. The first one this year was held in Guam in May, where military leaders of U.S. INDOPACOM hosted President Surangel Whipps Jr. and the US federal agency representatives.
Rear Admiral Nicholson will have a talk show on Wednesday morning on public radio at 87.9 FM.
The semi-annual Joint Committee Meetings are important components of the Compact of Free Association that allows Palau and U.S. military and federal representatives to meet and discuss various issues such as joint-use construction and training projects as well as security.
There has been a growing presence of the US military in the last two years, beginning with the construction of the US Aerial Domain Awareness (ADA) radar and radio towers. Following an invitation by former President Remengesau Jr. to US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in October of 2020 to bring joint-use projects to Palau, it has since seen frequent visits of US military personnel.
President Surangel Whipps Jr. also promoted military tourism as a component of the tourism industry that needs to grow.
What priorities and projects will be addressed at this JCM will be revealed on Wednesday after the meeting.