Planning To Succeed
17 August 2016
For Squadron Leader Keith Bateman and Army Reserve Captain Peter Conrad, Pacific Partnership 2016 is an opportunity of a lifetime to practice their specialist skills in Civil/Military Cooperation (CIMIC).
Both came aboard the United States Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy during Exercise Pacific Partnership 2016, a multinational mission traveling through Southeast Asia providing an opportunity for military and civilian specialists to work with host nations in conducting medical, engineering, dental and veterinary clinics.
Pacific Partnership also hosts specialist seminars, including CIMIC workshops.
Squadron Leader Bateman and Captain Conrad work in the Civil Military Coordination Centre (CMCC) alongside CAPT Jake Boersen (NZ Army) and Chief Warrant Officer Jacob Geary (US Marines).
The CIMIC team is responsible for many different activities including the coordination of incoming Medical, Dental, and Veterinary specialist volunteers from various non-government organizations, and then processing them into their respective departments to commence their allocated activities.
Their main effort though is to work with specialists from host nations to conduct critical infrastructure assessments to aid in the development of natural disaster plans.
During their visit to Vietnam, Captain Conrad said it was impressive to see the capability that Vietnam has.
"They have a significant coast guard and search and rescue fleet," he said.
"Plus, they have a national and regional framework for disaster preparedness already in place."
During the three-day humanitarian assistance and disaster relief symposium the CMCC members added to their group discussions by building strong relationships with local representatives from defence, government agencies and non-government organisations.
Squadron Leader Bateman said the experience gained during the mission was invaluable for both the host nations and for responding international partners.
"The whole region will benefit from what we learn and plan together," he said.
"The information that we jointly develop and share is vitally important to any relief effort.
"You can’t go in blind to help. It just doesn't work."
The two Australians will continue to participate in future CIMIC activities in Malaysia and Indonesia with an included focus on Search and Rescue and multiple Earthquake Scenarios.