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Cablegate: U.S. And Laos Continue Progress in Third Bilateral Defense

VZCZCXRO4839
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHVN #0485/01 2480303
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040303Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2187
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHMFIUU/CDR JPAC HICKAM AFB HI
RHHMUND/COMMARFORPAC
RUEHBK/USDAO BANGKOK TH
RUEHBK/CHJUSMAGTHAI BANGKOK TH

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 VIENTIANE 000485

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS (Emery)
STATE FOR AIAG (Patterson, Summers)
DOD FOR OSD-POLICY (Stern, Lai)
DOD FOR DSCA
PACOM FOR J52 (Miller, Lacy, Ma)
PACOM FOR J45 (Schuler, Nicholls)
PACOM FOR PACAF/SGZ (Cinco, Oh, Palmer)
PACOM FOR POLAD
JPAC FOR MUNIPALLI
PHNOM PENH ALSO FOR DATT
HANOI ALSO FOR DATT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MASS MOPS EAID PREL LA
SUBJECT: U.S. AND LAOS CONTINUE PROGRESS IN THIRD BILATERAL DEFENSE
DIALOGUE (BDD-III)

REFS: A) 07 Vientiane 0092
- B) 07 State 88478
- C) 07 Vientiane 0625
- D) 07 Vientiane 0725
- E) 07 Vientiane 0790
- F) 07 Vientiane 0914
- G) 08 Vientiane 0410

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Bilateral military talks held at historic Lockwood
Hall on Pearl Harbor August 14-15 confirmed progress in U.S.-Lao
military relations and widened the range of activities the Lao will
consider during the coming year. One key focus for both sides was
the upcoming exchange of Defense Attaches, and the U.S. delegation
confirmed plans for the U.S. DATT to be in place in Vientiane in
December 2008. The Lao delegation was keen to expand U.S.-sponsored
English language training for Lao military personnel in Vientiane
and asked for consideration of funding to send students to existing
English language programs at local colleges. End summary.

2. (SBU) COMMENT: Although the U.S. and Laos are in our 25th year of
MIA accounting cooperation and PACOM has been funding Humanitarian
Assistance (HA) projects in rural areas for more than a decade,
broader bilateral mil-mil programs have only been underway since
mid-2007. Our recent review (ref G) chronicled IMET training, a
range of medical Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEEs), senior
visitors in both directions, and a flurry of Lao attendees at
regional conferences and training programs during the past year.
For the first time, senior Lao National Defense and Foreign Ministry
officials agreed to meet in Hawaii where they accepted with minimal
changes a lengthy list of potential mil-mil programs and visits for
the coming year discussed in talks with PACOM, PACAF, USARPAC, JPAC,
and SOCPAC representatives and reviewed by the Ambassador and PACOM
BG Angelella, Deputy Director, Plans and Policy. The Embassy
looks forward to working with DOD, DLI, and PACOM to try to identify
budget resources that might allow support for some English training
locally. End comment.

The Attendees
-------------
3. (U) The U.S. delegation was led by COL Patrick Miller, PACOM J52,
Chief of Strategic Plans and Policy for South and Southeast Asia.
The Lao side for these Bilateral Defense Talks was led by COL Onsy
Senhsouk, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Defense
(MND), and included Deputy Director General Mai Sayavongs,
Europe-Americas Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). COL
Miller and COL Onsy led their respective sides during the second
Bilateral Defense Dialogue in Vientiane in October 2007 (ref E).
The full delegation lists may be found in paragraphs 16 and 17
below.

Results Of Current Talks
------------------------
4. (SBU) In a day and a half of talks, the U.S. delegation presented
a broad range of possible military-related activities for Lao
consideration. (See text of final action items in para 15 below.)
The DATT exchange was one key focus, with the U.S. side confirming
plans to have an OPSCO (operations coordinator) in place by October
2008 with incoming DATT LTC McAden coming to Vientiane in December
to mark the official opening of the DATT office (although he would
then return to the United States to complete his Lao language and
other training through mid-2009).

5. (SBU) Two Lao military officers are currently making good
progress in an English program at the Defense Language Institute in
San Antonio, Texas, which ends September 26; they are reportedly
going to be the #2 and #3 at the Lao DATT office in Washington, D.C.
The Lao DATT remains unidentified, but we are told he will be at
the LTC level and already speaks good English. The Lao delegation
did not provide a date for the opening of the Lao DATT office in DC
but confirmed plans are moving forward.

VIENTIANE 00000485 002 OF 006

6. (SBU) Other topics included:
- planned and possible visits by PACOM Surgeon RADM Burkhard,
Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) Deputy Assistant
Secretary of Defense Ambassador Ray, JPAC Commander RADM Crisp,
PACAF Commander General Chandler, and PACOM Commander ADM Keating;
- Lao attendance at the August 25-29 32nd Pacific Armies Management
Seminar (PAMS XXXII) in Jakarta;
- MND Permanent Secretary BG Sisophonh Bangonesengdet to attend the
November 11-13 Chiefs of Defense (CHODs) Conference in Bali;
- inviting Lao observers to the Pacific Angel medical mission in
Vietnam in 2009 to lay the basis for a possible Pacific Angel
medical team visit to Laos in 2010;
- inviting Lao observers to attend PKO exercises within the region
such as GARUDA SHIELD in Indonesia, a U.N.-accredited PKO training
event;
- and possible UXO cooperation including a UXO clearance SMEE
undertaken by SOCPAC in early 2009.

Medical and Public Health Capacity Building
-------------------------------------------
7. (U) PACAF held successful Avian Influenza (AI) and Emergency
Responder (ER) SMEEs during the past year (with MARFORPAC
involvement at the first AI SMEE); PACAF also donated $100,000 in
medical equipment and supplies during the past year to rural
clinics, Vientiane Military Hospital 103, and in support of SMEEs.
The August 26-28 visit of PACOM Surgeon RADM Burkhard will look at
possible HIV/AIDS cooperation including Blood Bank safety and
management to be coordinated via the Lao Ministry of Health Center
for HIV/AIDS but including the Ministry of National Defense (MND).


8. (U) PACAF FY09 programs would possibly include additional Avian
Influenza/Pandemic Influenza (AI/PI) training, infection control and
laboratory disease detection capacity-building, with the addition of
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training. They could also
include an AI/PI Disease Surveillance/Outbreak Investigation (AI/PI)
Course in Vientiane and possibly at regional medical centers. PACAF
may also cooperate with USARPAC on FY09 Disaster Management
training; Laos will host the December 2009 Southeast Asia Games, and
this event - plus the experience of the Lao medical team which went
to Burma to help after Typhoon Nargis - make ER, EMT, and disaster
training of great interest to the Lao medical community. Finally,
we will consider an invitation to a medical response capability
forum in Cambodia.

English Language Training
-------------------------
9. (SBU) One difference of approach was evident regarding Defense
Language Institute English Language training. In addition to the
two Lao military officers currently at DLI, in May MND had
identified an instructor, LT Chantavy Phasouvanh, to be the first
candidate to attend DLI Basic Instructor training. Due to IMET
funding issues, the Embassy is planning to program LT Chantavy's
training in early FY 2009. To supplement this, the Embassy is also
planning to work with DLI on a possible DLI Mobile Training Team
visit to Vientiane.

10. (SBU) LTC Onsy was clear that the Lao side understands the
critical importance of expanding the very small number of Lao MND
officials able to speak English and was anxious to expand this group
as quickly as possible. Sending a candidate to DLI to train as a
teacher will take more than six months, a long time. The
Australians had sent in their version of an English language mobile
training team with mixed results. For the Lao, the simplest
approach would be to find funding to send Lao MND personnel to local
colleges which offer English language training in which they have
confidence. The Embassy agreed to discuss with U.S. specialists
ways in which this might be undertaken - while longer term DLI
programs are also followed.

VIENTIANE 00000485 003 OF 006

Humanitarian Programs
---------------------
11. (SBU) Another focus for the Lao side was a perception of
problems of transparency in U.S. Humanitarian Assistance (HA)
projects. PACOM has funded more than 20 HA projects for more than a
decade costing more than USD two million in rural areas in support
of JPAC activities. Projects in 2007-2008 included medical clinics
in Lamam and Dukchung Districts of Sekong Province. Projects in
2008-2009 include medical clinics in Xiang Khouang and Attapeu
Provinces and a school in Khammouan Province.

12. (SBU) According to MFA DDG Mai, there are concerns including
that these HA projects are moving forward with little transparency
for Lao ministries that should be involved: the Ministry of Health
for rural clinics and the Ministry of Education for schools. He
also cautioned that more coordination with local officials is
necessary.

13. (SBU) Comment: Coincidentally, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
team was in Vientiane in August to conduct bidding for contractors
interested in the three 2008-2009 HA projects. The Embassy worked
with MFA to invite officials from other ministries to observe a
pre-bidding USACE-contractors conference on August 18 to increase
transparency and asked the USACE team to visit the Ministries of
Health and Education before departing Vientiane August 26 to better
understand the concerns of their officials. The Embassy will
continue to monitor this area to ensure that the HA process is fully
coordinated across the Lao bureaucracy. End comment.

Civil Engineering SMEE: Rural Training
--------------------------------------
14. (SBU) One of the more interesting discussions was the U.S.
proposal for a Civil Engineering / Medical SMEE in which the Lao
would select an existing clinic in rural Laos for refurbishment
under a Humanitarian Assistance (HA) program. The civil engineering
SMEE would be followed by a medical training SMEE for the clinic
staff. USAID would be approached to partner for clinic sustainment.
The Lao had no problem with the proposal and promised to ask the
Ministry of Health to identify clinics that needed renovation in
three provinces.

15. (SBU) Comment: in last October's BDD-II (ref E), COL Onsy
rejected any U.S. SMEEs involving medical training in rural clinics,
saying all medical training should be done in Vientiane; by
repackaging the medical training within a civil engineering
framework, we were apparently given a green light to move forward,
for the first time, toward training outside of Vientiane. End
comment.

Text Of Talks Summary Document
------------------------------
16. (SBU) At the end of the talks, the two sides agreed on the
following summary of agreements.

Begin text:

PACOM-LPDR Bilateral Defense Discussions
Summary
August 14-15, 2008

- 1. The United States and LPDR will continue to work on
establishing permanent Defense Attachs between each country.

- 2. The United States plans on having our Defense Attach Office up
and running and incoming Defense Attach LTC Mcaden present in
Vientiane in December. The U.S. Embassy will send information on
exact dates in a DIPNOTE.

- 3. U.S. Embassy is taking steps to improve transparency in the

VIENTIANE 00000485 004 OF 006


contracting process for FY2009 Humanitarian Assistance projects by
inviting representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs,
Public Health and Education to upcoming U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
meetings with local contractors; the two sides will seek
opportunities to improve coordination and transparency in future
Humanitarian Assistance projects.

- 4. U.S. Embassy and PACOM will investigate ways to broaden English
Language training opportunities for Lao military by utilizing mobile
training teams and/or funding training at local colleges.

- 5. The U.S. Embassy will send a DIPNOTE through MFA to MND with
the inventory of DLI English language teaching materials for Kaysone
Phomvihane Military Academy when they arrive and coordinate
delivery.

- 6. Both U.S and Lao sides recognize the important role JPAC has
had in U.S.-Lao relations for the past 25 years of MIA collaboration
and that technical talks will be held August 26th in Vientiane.

- 7. PACOM looks forward to a successful visit by the USPACOM
Surgeon General Rear Admiral Thomas Burkhard and Commander Fahie in
late August to discuss HIV/AIDS and blood bank management
cooperation.

- 8. Following the visits of USPACOM Surgeon General RADM Burkhard
and CMDR Fahie, the USPACOM Surgeon General office will coordinate a
DIPNOTE through the U.S. Embassy to Ministry of Health's Center for
HIV/AIDS and MND proposing HIV/AIDS and blood bank management
cooperation.

- 9. PACAF and PACOM will coordinate a DIPNOTE from the U.S. Embassy
through Ministry of Health to MND regarding Avian Influenza/Pandemic
Influenza, preventative medicine, disease surveillance, Emergency
Medical Technician training, and disaster management exchange.

- 10. PACAF will coordinate a DIPNOTE from the U.S. Embassy through
Ministry of Health to MND inviting observers to attend a Pacific
Angel medical mission in Vietnam in 2009.

- 11. U.S. Embassy and SOCPAC will investigate ways to integrate UXO
training opportunities within existing structures and will
coordinate a DIPNOTE from the U.S. Embassy through Ministry of
Social Welfare to UXO Lao with proposed training.

- 12. PACOM will coordinate a DIPNOTE from the U.S. Embassy to MND
with an invitation to observe a peacekeeping exercise in Indonesia
in 2009.

- 13. USARPAC and PACOM will coordinate a DIPNOTE from the U.S.
Embassy to MND with details of a proposed Medical/Nursing SMEE.

- 14. The U.S. Embassy will send DIPNOTEs through MFA to MND
regarding details of potential high level visits by Defense
POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Defense Ambassador Ray, JPAC Commander RADM Crisp, PACAF Commander
General Chandler, and by PACOM Commander ADM Keating when schedule
details are available.

- 15. PACOM and the U.S. Embassy will send a DIPNOTE through MFA to
MND inviting Laos officials to attend the Asia-Pacific Intelligence
Chiefs Conference in February.

- 16. PACOM and the U.S. Embassy will send DIPNOTEs through MFA to
MND inviting Laos officials to attend future APCSS courses.

- 17. PACAF and PACOM will coordinate a DIPNOTE from the U.S.
Embassy through MFA to Ministry of Health regarding proposed
cooperation in Hospital Management.


VIENTIANE 00000485 005 OF 006


- 18. PACOM will coordinate a DIPNOTE from the U.S. Embassy through
MFA to Ministry of Health regarding a proposed Civil
Engineering/Medical SMEE.

- 19. PACOM will coordinate a DIPNOTE from the U.S. Embassy through
MFA to Ministry of Health regarding proposed training of health care
technicians.

- 20. PACOM will coordinate a DIPNOTE from the U.S. Embassy to MFA
regarding possible counter-narcotics, illegal trafficking and border
security training.

- 21. PACOM will coordinate a DIPNOTE from the U.S. Embassy through
MFA to MND regarding the next Bilateral Defense Discussion likely to
be held in summer of 2009.

End text.

Attendees
---------
16. (U) Attendees: U.S. delegation:

Executive session on Friday, August 15, 2008:

Ambassador Ravic R. Huso
Brig Gen Angelella, Deputy Director Plans and
- Policy, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM)

Working and Executive Sessions, August 14-15, 2008:

Colonel Patrick Miller, United States Air Force
- (USAF), Southeast Asia Policy Division, USPACOM
- Co-Chair of Working-level Delegation

Colonel Stephen A. Machesky, PACOM J07, PACOM
- Surgeon General's Office

Mr. Dinh M. Lai, Mainland Southeast Asia Desk
- Officer, Office of the Secretary of Defense for
- Policy

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Lacy, USAF, Laos Desk
- Officer, PACOM

Commander Kurt Lewis, U.S. Navy (USN), Southeast
- Asia Desk Officer, Special Operations Command
- Pacific (SOCPAC)

Major Dr. Wesley Palmer, USAF, International Health
- Specialist, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)

Lieutenant Commander Eric Doucette, Security
- Assistance Officer, USPACOM J451

Major David Lopes, USARPAC Southeast Asia Planner

Captain Kolette Miller, PACAF A-5 International
- Affairs Planner

Mr. Lyle Otineru, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command
- (JPAC)

William Gadoury, Casualty Resolution Specialist,
- JPAC Detachment 3

Harvey Alan Somers, Chief, Political/Economic
- Section, United States Embassy

17. (U) Attendees: Lao Delegation:


VIENTIANE 00000485 006 OF 006


Working and Executive Sessions, August 14-15, 2008:

Colonel Onesy Senesouk, Deputy Permanent Secretary,
- Ministry of National Defense (MND)
- Co-Chair & Head of Delegation

Deputy Director General Mai Sayavongs,
- Europe Americas Department, Ministry of Foreign
- Affairs (MFA)

Lieutenant Colonel Khamphai Phansily, Deputy Chief,
- Medical Department, MND

Lieutenant Colonel Bounyong Phandanouvong, Head of
- the Planning and Research Division, External
- Relations Department, MND

Mr. Souphanh Hadaoheung, Deputy Director, Americas
- Division, Europe-Americas Department, MFA

Captain Soulivanh Inthavone, Staff Officer,
- Europe-Americas Division, External Relations
- Department, MND

HUSO

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