Blog: Marines Seek Technologies to Build Bridges Across Pacific
Technological solutions can bridge differences between the U.S. forces and other nations as the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) builds relationships among its diverse partners. The Marine Corps in particular are seeking translation technologies to break down language barriers in daily activities. Lt. Gen. Keith J. Stalder, USMC, commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, told the Thursday breakfast audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2009 that the Pacific is a critical part of our nation's economic and strategic well being. Accordingly, the Marines actively engage officials with many nations in the region on behalf of PACOM. "We bridge coalition language barriers every day," he said. Having something as simple as a translation tool for PowerPoint slides would be immensely helpful, he added. Part of that engagement involves learning about the challenges confronting other nations; and, unfortunately, some familiar problems are extending their reach. Gen. Stalder related that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are appearing in Pacific Rim nations-he cited Southern Thailand as one problem site. He described IED defeat as his top technology requirement, noting that he loses more Marines to IEDs in Afghanistan than in Iraq. The general also listed mine countermeasures technology as well as shallow-water intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as important technology needs.