ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia --
Approximately 120 officers from 19 countries bid adieu to each other and the command post exercise which brought them together here.
This training evolution simulated establishing a United Nations force headquarters in a deployed location in response to a regional peace operation and included both classroom-type briefings as well as practical application.
The exercise participants conducted an after action review to look back at the lessons learned as well as provide feedback for future training.
“Obviously, the problem we’ve got here is every [noncommissioned officer’s] nightmare,” joked Maj. Lee Smart, British Army’s assistant military attaché and the assistant watch keeper for exercise Khaan Quest 07. “Any NCO in any army in the world would panic at the thought of 100 officers conducting a plan completely unsupervised by NCOs!”
Though Smart joked, he was but one of many officers who offered up valid points, both good and bad, on how the exercise went.
One participant spoke of having five “bosses” to answer to while another touched on the dreaded e-mail leadership. But Smart points out, “We have done all this unsupervised without the assistance of the people we would normally have around to help us.”
Robert N. Sweeney, the Global Peace Operations Initiative program manager for the U. S. Pacific Command, acknowledged the challenges inherent in an exercise of this magnitude.
“In a training environment where you pull 19 nations together and try to make it happen, it’s extremely difficult, because everyone comes from a different environment, a different planning process.”
The chief of staff at the exercise had a unique view to see those differences.
“If I was running the command post exercise in the Mongolian way,” said Col. Bayarsaikhan Dashdoudog, the Mongolian Armed Forces chief of staff at the exercise, “it would be very easy to [just] give an order. In an international environment, it is very different.”
All in all, the exercise was deemed a success for the individual participants, their native countries and peacekeeping as a whole.