CHINA LAKE NAWS

Army Pacific's Brooks continues goodwill tour in Malaysia

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By Master Sgt. Mark St. Clair
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia The Malaysian army welcomed Gen. Vincent K. Brooks Jan. 18, 2016, for his fourth visit since taking command of U.S. Army Pacific in July 2013.

Lauding Malaysia's contributions to security in South East Asia, Brooks said, "Malaysia is holding a strong line in countering extremist ideologies in the region."

"Malaysia is an important country with a shared history. It's geographically important. This is a great opportunity for professional exchange and building the next generation of leaders," Brooks said, speaking to Malaysian press before delivering remarks and answering questions at the Malaysian Armed Forces Defense College.

"We continue to build on an already strong relationship between the Malaysian army and the U.S. Army," Brooks said."

The assembled students at the college, including senior military officers from all branches of the Malaysian armed forces, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Nigeria, Brunei, Singapore, Philippines, and the U.S., had just begun a yearlong course.

Brooks gave remarks and took questions for more than an hour, touching on questions regarding partnering in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peacekeeping missions, to the U.S. Department of Defense's rebalance of forces in the Pacific region, to the "cooperative yet competitive" relationship with China, which many of the assembled students were interested in.

"The rebalance has brought us into a higher amount of contact in the region than what we've enjoyed in recent years," Brooks said. "It creates opportunities for cooperation."

During Brooks' time as commander of USARPAC, his forces have seen an increase from roughly 80,000 personnel to the present 106,000. "I've been given the resources to commit these people west of the International Date Line, and for a longer period of time," Brooks said.

A firm believer in President Barack Obama's decision to rebalance forces, Brooks told the assembled students," It was absolutely worth it, and it was a good decision at the right time."

"The rebalance is real, the Army's contributions are tangible. We have elevated the status of the Army forces commander to four star, and the Army has added tend of thousands of troops to USARPAC to enable an increase in partnerships with friends in the region," Brooks said.

Brooks also added that though increases in U.S. military and security capabilities members in the Pacific region are the most visible, the political, sociological and economic aspects of the rebalance are perhaps more important.

"It's the people to people engagements," Brooks said. "The citizens of other countries talking to each other."

During his stop, Brooks was hosted by Malaysian Army Field Commander West Lt. Gen. Dato' Sri Zulkiple for an office call and lastly Chief of Army Gen. Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi to close his visit.

Brooks will complete his current Asian tour with engagements in the Philippines before returning to his headquarters in Oahu, Hawaii.

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