Cable by Dazzlepod US Embassy Diplomatic Cables from WikiLeaks Released 251287 Cables (Sep 2, 2012)
SECRET (11322)
Reference ID 08VIENTIANE485 (original text)
OriginEmbassy Vientiane
ReleasedAug 30, 2011 01:44
CreatedSep 4, 2008 03:03
DE RUEHVN #0485/01 2480303
R 040303Z SEP 08
STATE FOR AIAG (Patterson, Summers) 
PACOM FOR J52 (Miller, Lacy, Ma) 
PACOM FOR J45 (Schuler, Nicholls) 
PACOM FOR PACAF/SGZ (Cinco, Oh, Palmer) 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
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 
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 
-  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 
 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 
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 
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 
- 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 
- 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 
- 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 
- 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. 
 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