ADSOM Working Group Meets in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

With the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) slated to be held in March 2015, the ASEAN Defense Senior Officials Meeting (ADSOM) Working Group convened in Johor Bahru, Malaysia on January 22-23 to discuss various initiatives for the consideration of the ADMM.

Among these initiatives are a proposed set of guidelines on how the ADMM would engage its eight dialogue partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, the US) which are part of the ADMM-Plus. While the ADMM meets the 8 plus countries every two years when the ADMM-Plus is convened, individual Plus countries have been requesting for informal meetings with the ADMM at the sidelines of the ADMM or the ADMM Retreat. Other initiatives include Malaysia's proposal for an ASEAN Ready Military Group for HA/DR and Thailand's proposal to stand up a regional center for military medicine.

The ADSOM working group meeting also reviewed the progress of defense cooperation within ASEAN, with the various initiatives that have been undertaken since the ADMM was established in 2006 being examined. These initiatives are meant to contribute in the building of an ASEAN Security Community by 2015. 

Following their meeting, the ADSOM Working Group met on the following day (January 24) the working group leaders of the 8 Plus Countries. During the ADSOM-Plus meeting, the progress of practical cooperation being undertaken within the ADMM-Plus in regard to maritime security, counter-terrorism, military medicine, HA/DR, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian mine action. The robustness of the activities pertaining to these issues attest that ADMM-Plus has indeed been able to promote practical cooperation among the 18 countries comprising the group.

The Philippine delegation was led by Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessment Raymund Quilop with Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attache Col Delfin Bacon joining the delegation.