News: US Army Pacific executes premier staff planning exercise
Story by Sgt. Catherine Sinclair
CHIANG MAI PROVINCE, Kingdom of Thailand – Thirteen nations are participating in a staff planning exercise as part of exercise Cobra Gold 2013 from Feb. 11-22 in Chiang Mai province, Kingdom of Thailand.
The staff exercise, led by the Royal Thai Armed Forces, is a training event where planners from the participating nations draft an operations plan to collectively solve a regional crisis.
During CG 13, Royal Thai Army Lt. Gen. Preecha Jan-o-cha is the multinational force commander and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski is the deputy commander. Nations contributing their expertise and experience to the staff exercise include Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, Japan, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Mongolia and Brunei.
“The integration through all the nations has been good,” said Malaysian Col. Shamsuri bin Alias, a representative from the Malaysian military. “Language might be a barrier, but still we can overcome that. We hope to learn more about humanitarian assistance and for our military force protection in the context of protecting civilians.”
The staff exercise scenario is United Nations-authorized peace enforcement operations within a protection of civilians scenario that includes a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief element. The staff exercise sustains and reinforces the foundation and framework for multinational forces to respond rapidly and effectively to regional crises.
“I don't think you're going to see unilateral operations, or very few of them, in the future. It's just not the way the world is working,” said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, who is also the commander of U.S. Army Pacific. “Our shift to the Asia-Pacific is spot on...it's very important that we continue these things to maintain peace, stability and security in the region.”
The operations plan developed during CG 13 will be executed at a command post exercise during Cobra Gold 2014.
USARPAC is the lead for U.S. participation during the staff exercise and have been integral in the preparatory planning preceding the start of Cobra Gold.
Elsewhere in Thailand, as part of CG 13, military personnel are participating in humanitarian and civic assistance projects, including engineering projects, cooperative health engagements, information sharing and field training exercises.
CG 13, in its 32nd iteration, is designed to advance regional security and ensure effective response to regional crises by exercising a robust multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region.