Nations prepare for multinational coordination in ASEAN exercise[MIGRATE]

By Lance Cpl. Kasey Peacock | June 12, 2013

Senior leaders from multiple Asia-Pacific nations began preparations for operation of the Multinational Coordination Centre in Muara, Brunei Darussalam, June 12 during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) – Plus ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise (AHMX).

ADMM-Plus AHMX is a multilateral exercise that provides a forum for regional partner nations to address shared security challenges, strengthen defense cooperation, enhance interoperability and promote stability in the region.

The exercise, which is scheduled from June 16 to 20, provides an opportunity for participating nations to hone their communication skills and learn from each other’s unique experiences and expertise, better preparing partner nations for a unified approach to future contingencies.

ASEAN and non-ASEAN members will work together on a simulated disaster relief effort. The focus will be on a post-tropical revolving storm (TRS) typhoon rescue, survey, recovery and disaster relief in the vicinity of the District of Temburong, as well as other locations in Bandar Seri Begawan, Muara Naval Base and Rimba Air Force Base.

“The reality of the Pacific region for those who live here is that you are more likely to experience a disaster, said U.S. Marine Col. Douglas Pasnik, the U.S. military exercise officer in charge. “In this exercise, there is going to be a simulated typhoon that rolls through the area. A multinational force will come together and provide assistance in things that accompany a disaster of that sort including flooding and lack of water.”

The multinational force includes participants from the ASEAN-comprised nations of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam; and other Asia-Pacific nations of Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the U.S.

“There was a time when militaries would deploy on their own, and we wouldn’t work together,” said Brunei Lt. Col. Mohd Hafizul bin Haji Mohd Hassan. “We are trying to bring these countries together to work as one. By working as one, we can better accommodate countries in need throughout the region. In order to work together smoothly, we need to start building those relationships now before disaster strikes.”

During the exercise, multinational personnel will also participate in the Force Integration Training (FIT) Program as part of medical and engineering engagements at various locations throughout Brunei from June 10 to 15. This is the first field training exercises to be planned and executed under the ADMM-Plus architecture.

“Many things executed throughout this exercise will be the first time it has been done,” said Royal Thai Capt. Nuttapong Ketsumboon, the director of the doctrine development and evaluation joint and combined exercise planning office. “We have more than 100 people from our forces out here to participate because we know how important it is. This exercise absolutely benefits everyone involved. Living in the Pacific region you never know what is going to happen and we all need to be able to work together and respond when needed.”

More than 1,800 multinational personnel are participating in the exercise, which allows allied and partner nations a platform to demonstrate their commitment to multinational cooperation, enhance multilateral interoperability, increase disaster preparedness, and promote security and stability throughout the Asia-Pacific region.