PEPELISHTE, Macedonia – During exercise Shared Resilience 13 participants are given the opportunity to attend multiple Interagency cooperation classes. One of the instructors for SR-13 took on the challenge of teaching the power of preparation and unity.
“The most important part of the training is to get everyone from all different agencies to work together,” Capt. Carlstein Lutchmedial, an exercise Shared Resilience 13 instructor with the 353rd Civil Affairs Command, said. “This seems to be the biggest issue here because some agencies don’t want to relinquish authority. We want to imprint in the class’s mind that this is a team effort and not necessarily an agency effort.”
Students of the Incident Command Systems and National Incident Management Systems course learned how agencies work together in response to a natural disaster. During the training, students learned how to handle an emergency at the command level and later gained knowledge on complex national emergency procedures.
Lutchmedial said each regional or national agency should send one representative to form a centralized agency, which will coordinate relief efforts in response to a natural disaster.
“The host country is normally in charge, but there should always be one agency that takes the lead in major incidents and have other teams work with it,” Lutchmedial said. “In my experience it seems like each agency feels like they should be in charge and that makes it difficult to coordinate the resources of each country.”
Marine Cpl. RL Mccaskill III, a mortuary affairs specialist with the Personal Retrieval and Processing Company, said the class was very informative because it offered us a lot of updated (delete) information about the resources available in this industry and gave valuable information on how to get agencies to work together as a team when a natural disaster hits.
“The worst thing is mass chaos when a natural disaster hits because it’s like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, but with this system that we’re being taught now it’s helping to get all nations together to work as a unified front,” Mccaskill said. “I think more missions are going to be accomplished this way.”
Mccaskill said when a natural disaster occurs it’s always good to have both military and civilian agencies work together because one might arrive before the other, but problems can happen if there is not centralized course of action.
“One of my suggestions is that each host nation start working together now and then form an integrated team that works together to get the job done,” Lutchmedial said. “We have to build that bridge now because you don’t want to wait till an incident happens and then nations are trying to work as a team.”
Students who completed the training are able to take the lessons learned back to their respective services and apply their training to their respective fields. The purpose of the training was to not only spread the ideals of interagency cooperation, but to improve the lessons taught in most classrooms today.
“My goal for the class is to make sure people are learning during this exercise so we can make it better,” Lutchmedial said. “Wherever we have our short comings I’m sure we’ll work together to improve and we must make sure everyone shares in the camaraderie idea that we’re all here for one another.”