The U.S. security relationship with Vietnam has grown rapidly in recent years, and the two countries share a common vision for the future of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Our robust security partnership is based on our mutual commitment to deepen defense cooperation and shared resolve to address regional security challenges.
This common vision was articulated by President Trump and Vietnamese President Quang in their November 2017 Joint Statement, made during President Trump’s state visit to Hanoi. It was further amplified by Secretary of Defense Mattis’ January 2018 and Secretary Pompeo’s July 2018 visits to Vietnam to meet top leaders. These visits affirmed President Trump’s and Vietnamese leaders’ commitment to a new three-year Plan of Action for Defense Cooperation for 2018 to 2020.
In March 2018, the U.S.S. Carl Vinson visited Da Nang, Vietnam for a historic four-day port call. Sailors participated in cultural and professional exchanges during community service events, sports competitions, ship tours, and a formal reception aboard the aircraft carrier. This visit was the first by a U.S. aircraft carrier in more than 40 years.
The Department has also authorized $22.5 million in Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) to Vietnam from CY2014 – CY2018, with nearly $11 million of that total coming in the last two years.
From FY2013 – FY2018, Vietnam received over $56 million in bilateral State Department-funded security assistance under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. FMF funded the transfer and refurbishment of a former U.S. Coast Guard cutter to Vietnam under the Excess Defense Article program. This was the first major defense transfer between the United States and Vietnam, and is currently the largest vessel in Vietnam’s military inventory. FMF has also funded the acquisition of 24 45-ft Metal Shark fast patrol boats, the first 12 of which have been delivered as of April 2018.
From FY2015 – FY2018, Vietnam has also received $26.25 million in FMF funds under the Department’s Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative (SAMSI) regional FMF account which is designed to enhance maritime domain awareness, increase the presence of partner countries in their own territorial waters, and help them to maintain the rights and freedoms specified under the international law of the sea.
The Department of Defense also provided Vietnam with over $16 million in additional assistance in FY2017 and FY2018 to assist Vietnam in enhancing its maritime capacity.
Vietnam has been a contributor to UN peacekeeping missions in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. It has also been an active partner country of the U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). In 2018, Vietnam deployed a level-2 field hospital to the UN Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) with GPOI funding and support. Vietnam is in the process of pledging the deployment of an engineering unit to a future U.N. mission.
In 2018, Vietnam participated for the first time in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) military exercise, after first sending observers in 2012 and 2016. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise, biennially hosted by the U.S. and its allies and partners in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
The U.S. government is also working to address Vietnam War legacy issues in Vietnam. These include the remediation of unexploded ordnance (UXO), and agent orange/dioxin remediation, and the humanitarian issue of POW/MIA accounting.
Since 1993, the U.S. government has contributed more than $119 million for UXO efforts, which include survey and clearance operations, information management, risk education, survivors’ assistance, and capacity building for the Vietnam National Mine Action Center (VNMAC). A breakdown of the important humanitarian work being done by our implementing partners in Vietnam is available in the Department’s To Walk The Earth In Safety report.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM.