Singapore, U.S. reaffirm enduring bilateral defense ties

U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday hosted Singapore’s Chief of Defense Rear Adm. Aaron Beng in Washington, D.C., for a full-honors welcoming ceremony, May 25.

At the ceremony, CNO presented Beng with a Legion of Merit.

“It’s an incredible privilege for me to be able to host my friend, Rear Adm. Aaron Beng here in D.C.,” said Gilday. “Singapore has been a leader among our partners, dedicated to peace and prosperity throughout the Indo-Pacific.”

Gilday also hosted Beng for dinner at his residence, where the two leaders discussed regional security, maritime logistics, emerging technologies, and ongoing efforts to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Beng, who earlier this month became the first naval officer to lead Singapore’s armed forces, reaffirmed with Gilday the enduring U.S.-Singapore bilateral defense relationship. They both reiterated their shared commitment to working together to address regional security challenges.

“I have a deep appreciation for our lock-step partnership with Singapore,” said Gilday. “Our relationship enables much of what we are working to achieve across the Indo-Pacific – maintain freedom of navigation, international goodwill, and the rules-based order.”

Beng was instrumental in the post-pandemic return of hosting U.S. littoral combat ship rotational detachments in Singapore, as well as normalizing naval operations out of Changi Naval Base, one of the busiest U.S. Navy hubs in the world.

Throughout the visit, Gilday highlighted the importance of the Singaporean navy and their geo-strategic value. He thanked Beng for hosting USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) for a port visit last summer that marked the first time a carrier visited the country since 2019. Gilday also commended the Singaporean navy for the leadership they demonstrated in recent exercises like Bersama Shield and the ASEAN India Maritime Exercise.

Gilday and Beng last met in Yokohama, Japan, in November 2022.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael B. Zingaro. WASHINGTON, District of Columbia – Singapore’s Chief of Defense Rear Adm. Aaron Beng receives a full-honors welcoming ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, May 25. 

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