U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) led senior congressional staff to visit U.S. Pacific Command, Special Operations Forces and the U.S. State Department in Hawaii, the Philippines and Malaysia. The trip provided a better sense of SOCOM's work to prevent terrorism and reinforced relations with partner governments. Smith visited Iraq and Afghanistan earlier this year; this trip helped provide a picture of SOCOM's work in other countries facing serious threats from infiltration by radical extremist groups affiliated with al-Qaida.
"During our trip, we were able to learn more about SOCOM's excellent work in Southeast Asia and get a better sense of the global challenge we face from the spread of a violent, totalitarian ideology. One thing is clear following this trip: the next president faces an enormous challenge in rebalancing our worldwide force distribution to adequately fight terrorism in nations other than Iraq," Smith said.
In Hawaii, Smith's group met with United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) officers and enlisted troops, in addition to meeting U.S. Navy SEALs.
In Malaysia, the delegation met with U.S. Ambassador Keith and his staff, Malaysia's NSC Secretary Dato' Muhammad Hatta, Internal Security Ministry Deputy Secretary General Ahmad Fuad and with Defense Intelligence Director General LTG Salleh.
In the Philippines, Congressman Smith conducted informational meetings with Ambassador Kenney, her staff and U.S. Special Operations Forces in the Southern Philippines. During the visit the congressman meet with Republic of the Philippines President Arroyo, Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro and Armed Forces of the Philippines Vice Chief of Staff LTG Romero. Additionally the congressman and his delegation laid a wreath in dedication to the American and Filipino soldiers buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.
Visit http://www.house.gov/adamsmith/photos/hirescodelmarines.jpg to view a photo of U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and constituents serving in the Marines at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines.