Multinational force to the rescue
21 September 2012
More than 100 participants from 26 nations took part in Tempest Express 21, a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief planning activity, at the new Gallipoli Barracks Battle Simulation Centre, Brisbane, during the past fortnight.
The participants formed a combined Task Force Headquarters to complete the activity, which was based on a scenario where a national disaster had occurred in the island nation of Kiribati.
Representatives from Canada and France joined members from the Asia-Pacific region including Bangladesh, Korea, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Philippines, Japan, Laos, Cambodia, Vanuatu, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and New Zealand, along with Australia and the United States, as part of the Multinational Planning Augmentation Team (MPAT) program.
Exercise planner, Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Schultz, from Australia’s Deployable Joint Force Headquarters said Tempest Express was designed to improve international cooperation, coordination and planning.
“Tempest Express is a mix of an exercise and a contingency planning activity focused on coalition humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the Asia-Pacific region,” Lieutenant Colonel Schultz said.
“We look at a real world environment and see how the multinational community can provide assistance in a range of likely disaster relief scenarios.”
Brigadier Tat Chantha, Deputy Commissioner, Commissariat of Planning Operations with the Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia said Tempest Express involved a lot of valuable discussion and sharing of ideas by the different countries’ military forces.
“Tempest Express allows the different militaries to work together and coordinate with civilian agencies, such as the Australian Red Cross and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID),” Brigadier Chantha said.
“We are also making new friends and learning a lot by being a part of this exercise.”
“Because of climate change and the dramatic increase in the scale of disasters happening throughout the world there is a need for the armed forces and civilian agencies to join together on an important exercise like this,” he said.
MPAT is a rapidly maturing multinational program, which was established in November 2000 by the Commander of US Pacific Command and the Chiefs of Defence of various nations in the Asia-Pacific region. Its goal is to facilitate the rapid and effective establishment and/or augmentation of a multinational force headquarters and/or other multinational military and civil-military coordination mechanisms.
Media note: Imagery of the exercise is available at http://images.defence.gov.au/12130931
Media contact: Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999