News: Tradewinds distinguished visitor program provides valuable forum for senor leadership discussion
SAINT PHILIP, Barbados - Senior leadership from the nations, agencies and organizations participating in Exercise Tradewinds 2012 gathered here to observe training, share ideas and collaborate on future partnership opportunities.
More than 40 diplomats, ministers of national security, chiefs of defense, ministers of defense, agency directors and senior military officials participated in a three-day executive discussion concerning regional collaboration in disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and countering transnational organized crime in the Eastern Caribbean region.
“This is the platform used by the senior leadership to view the work their nations are doing, to view the manner in which their respective services are engaging in the exercise,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kenneth Ottley, Tradewinds exercise action officer with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South. “[The distinguished visitor program] brings all the senior leadership together at one table, to meet under a common theme, and share in a discussion on the future of security cooperation in this region.”
The distinguished visitor program featured tours of the three major training venues, roundtable discussions, lectures on shared regional security challenges, and numerous networking opportunities.
“I get to meet the ministers of defense, the heads of armies, of coast guards, many of the key political and military figures that I need in order to execute my duties as U.S. Ambassador,” said Larry Palmer, U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. “There is a tremendous value to the region for all of these representatives to get this kind of experience. We have people here from 17 different countries and from numerous different agencies. They get to meet their counterparts, and they get to talk about best practices—what works, what hasn’t work. So, in addition to improving their skill level, they get to create the kinds of relationships they will need in order to do their jobs when called upon.”
Throughout the program, the participants focused on the importance of coordinating efforts between uniformed services and civilian agencies, in order to maximize the impact of the training.
Judy Thomas, director of the Barbados Department of Emergency Management, said the Tradewinds exercise provides a necessary level of coordination with emergency services in the Caribbean and the distinguished visitor program provided an opportunity for disaster management organizations to see through a different set of lenses.
“The disaster management environment requires coordination between civilian and military organizations,” Thomas said. “They can see the interaction of the forces, the kind of environments they will have to operate in, and all that broadens their perspective in terms of how they view their own operatives fitting into the broader picture.”
Throughout the distinguished visitor program, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. John M. Croley, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South, highlighted the importance of the Tradewinds exercise in providing a venue for important discussions on regional security issues.
“We receive great value by having senior leaders sit down in a simulation environment and talk about those threats and challenges that face us in order to shape the our planning efforts,” Maj. Gen. Croley said. “I think it’s very important that we bring these senior leaders in and show them the investment they are making, and then if they have any questions or concerns we are able to address those and better plan for the next year.”
According to Kirsten Madison, director of international affairs and foreign policy advisor for the United States Coast Guard, the distinguished visitor program served to show senior leaders the value of the investment they make in such exercises.
“It’s a very smart program because you have a lot of senior leaders in governments all across the region and in the United States who sign off on the resources and other things to do these programs,” Madison said. “By actually bringing them down to really understand what goes on -- to understand the program itself, the mechanics the level of cooperation -- is really important because it allows them to make a determination of the value of the program and what comes out of the resources they approve.”
During his closing remarks at the conclusion of the distinguished visitor program, Maj. Gen. Croley reinforced the importance of regional collaboration in addressing common security threats.
“It is not just a one nation problem, but it is a common issue that we all face,” Maj. Gen. Croley said. “In these highly leveraged times of economics that we are all struggling in, to make sure that that we are doing the right thing for our citizens, bonding this together, in a common purpose, certainly makes sense in terms of investment in forces.”
Date Posted:06.22.2012 18:25
Location:ST. PHILIP, BB
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