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    Scenario planning builds cooperative confidence

    Scenario planning builds cooperative confidence

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Scott Tynes | World News Network cameraman Brett Englund and correspondent Leon Moore conduct a...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Tynes 

    102d Public Affairs Detachment

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – They are the masterminds behind a prison riot and escape, a grounded maritime vessel and a transnational organized crime syndicate, but the men and women of the Ground Operations Team are only creating scenarios to test the 19 partner countries participating in Tradewinds 2015.

    The objective of Tradewinds, a combined, joint U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise, is to strengthen the capacity of nations in the Caribbean to respond to natural disasters, as well as land and maritime threats that include illicit trafficking.

    The exercise features two main pillars – cooperative instruction and scenario-based operations. The countries share techniques and procedures in the classroom, on the water and in specific locales to assess their responses to simulated emergencies.

    The ground operations team coordinates scenarios by managing the events and adding obstacles for participants to overcome. The scenarios are based on needs expressed by the participating countries during the planning conferences prior to the start of the exercise.

    “We’re going to give problems to the defence forces, coast guards and emergency management personnel,” said Rich Snook, the ground operations deputy team chief. “We’re going to stress them and see how they react.”

    The Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts experienced a notional chemical fire in its dormitories as part of a far-reaching earthquake response drill June 4.

    St. Kitts and Nevis Fire and Rescue Services responded as observers from the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit, a multi-national Caribbean organization. They were also on hand to assess and advise responders.

    The response became more critical as the Ground Operations Team injected obstacles into the scenario, which included chemicals that required testing for toxins. Other notional events occurred simultaneously across the island, demanding coordinated and timely responses.

    “We’ve intermingled and mixed [the scenarios] to stress the National Emergency Operations Center,” Snook said. “It not only tests the knowledge of the personnel on site, but also the command and control and communications.”

    In another scenario on June 3, members of the Regional Security System from multiple Caribbean nations participated in riot control drills at Her Majesty’s Prison.

    At the riot, the RSS was evaluated on their ability to respond with a coordinated and effective use of force. They reacted to inmate role-players actively working to escape the prison and agitate security teams as well as other inmates.

    Although cooperation among various island nations and other partners during natural disasters is a key element to Tradewinds, participants also had the opportunity to learn and share security techniques. The scenarios allowed them to developed common practices for use in the region to combat transnational organized crime, such as smuggling.

    “[The responses have] been satisfactory,” said Inspector Travis Rogers, of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, who also serves as the ground operations team chief. “There are a few hiccups, mainly with communication. The purpose of the exercise is to identify these issues now so we’ll have it right when it matters.”

    The challenge, Rogers said, had been coordinating among the many different agencies along with information sharing. Participating ground operations groups included the island’s medical community, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. military, among others.

    Following the scenario, exercise commanders are presented a newscast by the World News Network to show how their actions would have been perceived through the eyes of international news media and how that perception shapes public opinion and support.

    “We make the scenario come to life for the participants,” said Leon Moore, WNN correspondent. “It enhances the training experience.”

    Through the newscast, participants are able to see how mistakes made would impact the international media coverage. It also shows how positive the coverage is when they act quickly and effectively.

    This year marks the 31st annual Tradewinds exercise. Phase one continues in St. Kitts and Nevis through June 9. Belize will host Phase two from June 15–24. Phase three is July 14-16 in Miami for key stakeholders and decision makers within the region.



    Date Taken: 06.06.2015
    Date Posted: 06.06.2015 17:17
    Story ID: 165732
    Location: BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, KN 

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