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    Foreign Delegates Visit Montana for U.S. CENTCOM Event Planning Conference

    Regional Cooperation 21 Initial Planning Meeting

    Photo By Spc. Emily Simonson | Soldiers from the United States, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan work together to plan the...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Emily Simonson 

    Montana National Guard Public Affairs Office

    Twelve foreign delegates from Central Asia visited Helena, Montana, to support an initial planning meeting for exercise REGIONAL COOPERATION 21 (RC21), February 1-5. The visiting delegates were from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan.

    REGIONAL COOPERATION is an annual multi-lateral exercise the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) hosts with multiple Central and Southern Asian countries to build skills and relationships with other countries.

    “Our objective is to help the Central Asian countries to help themselves,” said Galen McAllister, State Partnership Program Director Emeritus and Acting in Montana. “So that if a disaster were to strike, they can come to each other's aid.”

    This meeting is the first of three planning conferences that must take place before the actual training event in June, 2021.

    Montana was selected to host the initial planning conference due to its working ties with Kyrgyzstan under the State Partnership Program. Currently, the Montana National Guard is set to also host and provide logistical support for all the planning conferences and the exercise in June.

    “The actual event this year will focus on both stability and military operations in a [fictional] country that has a limited infrastructure and a failing government with various internal crises going on,” said Lt. Col. Richard Weeks, the lead planner for RC21.

    Weeks said the participating nations pick the topics they want to center the exercise around. This year, a pandemic response is planned to be included in the events in RC21.

    Of those in attendance, there were five officials from Tajikistan, six from Uzbekistan, and one from Kazakhstan. Many countries not able to be present listened over MS Teams and Weeks said they hope everyone will be present at the next meeting.

    “Cooperation is important. [REGIONAL COOPERATION] is our only exercise with all the Central Asian countries,” Weeks said. “The U.S. has a long history of working with multinational coalitions and building cooperation with other countries, and we take this opportunity to extend the offer to Central Asia to bring us into one large exercise. And really, we're one big world and exercises like this help us understand each other better.”

    RC21’s culminating event, set to occur in June, will be completed through the use of computers rather than with soldiers in a field training environment.



    Date Taken: 02.16.2021
    Date Posted: 02.16.2021 18:27
    Story ID: 389132
    Location: HELENA, MT, US 

    Web Views: 112
    Downloads: 0