DHAKA, Bangladesh, Oct. 13, 2017 —
The eighth annual Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange, or PR DREE, came to a successful close during a ceremony here yesterday.
The theme of the five-day exercise was civil-military integration and humanitarian assistance/disaster response in preparation for a massive earthquake.
The event was co-sponsored by the Bangladesh Armed Forces Division, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief and U.S. Pacific Command.
U.S. Army Pacific sent 15 soldiers and airmen from the its headquarters battalion, the 8th Theater Sustainment Command and the Oregon National Guard, which has a state partnership with Bangladesh.
Air Vice Marshal Mashiuzzaman Serniabat of the Bangladesh Armed Forces Division officially closed the exercise at the seremony, which also featured remarks from Brig. Gen. Bryan E. Suntheimer, the deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, and Deputy Gen. Reaz Ahmed of the Bangladesh Department of Disaster Management.
Exercise Tests Disaster Relief Mission Coordination
"I do believe over the last five days you have developed some a collective understanding among yourselves and built up networking for improved interactions, which will help effective coordination while working together for disaster management," Serniabat said.
The event brought together more than 1,400 participants from 13 nations, as well as dozens of government, nongovernment and international organizations. Personnel worked together either through a phased tabletop exercise here or a field training exercise held in Mymensingh, while testing out earthquake preparation plans, response capabilities and command and control organizational design.
"Partnerships play a critical role in meeting global challenges, from maintaining peace to providing humanitarian assistance after natural disasters," Suntheimer said. "Bringing your talents, ideas and resources together magnifies our impact far beyond the immediate region. Multinational partnerships are force multipliers for good around the world."
The PR DREE, which has been held annually since 2010, is built on the accomplishments of previous years' exercises. These years of planning have enabled partners to test out doctrine and verify the validity of the National Disaster Response Coordination Center's plans for disaster response, while strengthening partnerships and communication between multiple agencies, nations and stakeholders.
Army Lt. Col. Demian San Miguel with the Oregon National Guard has attended the PR DREE in Bangladesh for the last three years.
'There Was Excellent Coordination Across All Agencies'
"Every year the exercise gets better and better," San Miguel said. "There was excellent coordination across all agencies."
San Miguel went on to say that the increased interaction and immediate feedback to participants' questions made the event successful. The inclusion of college students who study disaster management, he said, brought an exciting, fresh perspective to the event.
The tabletop exercise familiarized participants with an earthquake scenario, their various roles and responsibilities, and the numerous themes of the exercise. Participants were assigned to cell groups, where they deliberated over the proper emergency response to various scenarios. The multinational, interagency teams developed search-and-rescue response procedures, coordinated logistical support plans, verified shelter/relief plans and procedures now in place, and increased coordination among international and domestic organizations and agencies.
After three days working through strategic-level scenarios, tabletop exercise participants gathered at the Bangladesh Staff College here to review an operational execution of the plans during an earthquake field training exercise by emergency responders. This was followed by an after-action review on the final day.
Pacific Resilience is U.S. Army Pacific's main platform to engage, partner with and prepare U.S. allies in the region in a whole-of-government approach using the military and civilians to plan and execute DREEs and other humanitarian aid/disaster response events, officials said. It uses medical, engineering, humanitarian assistance and disaster response and other related activities to implement, corroborate and exercise plans, equipment and personnel against a variety of emergency scenarios that continuously affect the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.