Gobi Wolf 2017 Participants Practice Disaster Response in Mongolia
DALANZADGAD, Mongolia, — Exercise Gobi Wolf 2017 began here May 1 with an opening ceremony, academic training, a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs webinar and a reception dinner. Gobi Wolf 17 is a five-day disaster response exercise and exchange between the government of Mongolia and U.S. Army Pacific focused on interagency coordination.
Mongolia’s National Emergency Management Agency hosts the exercise with support from Mongolia’s armed forces.
U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Jennifer Zimdahl Galt said the exercise marks 30 years of cooperation between the U.S. and Mongolia, and she expressed her confidence in NEMA’s ability to excel during the exercise.
“NEMA is a partner that exceeds expectations at every turn,” she said. “I look forward to hearing, as the exercise goes on this week, of the extraordinary performance of our NEMA colleagues.”
Testing Disaster Management Plans
The exercise’s scenario features a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in Umnugovi, or South Gobi, province along the border with China.
“The scenario and actions that follow will test disaster management plans including earthquake preparedness plans at the national and local levels, and coordination of civil-military cooperation, and strengthen reception of international humanitarian assistance,” said NEMA’s chief, Mongolian Brig. Gen. Badral Tuvshin.
GW 17 activities also include a table top exercise focusing on functional-area expertise in an office environment, a field training exercise at several locations around Dalanzadgad, and an after-action review to capture lessons learned during the exercise.
The exercise was originally hosted from 2009 to 2012 and was reinstituted in 2015 as part of the Pacific Resilience series of humanitarian assistance/disaster relief exercises hosted by U.S. Army Pacific.
Pacific Resilience tests host-nation defense support to civil authorities during disaster situations, the integration of foreign humanitarian assistance, and the strategic communication required to implement emergency-management plans.
“We do this to facilitate cooperation and coordination[and build relationships between host nations and other regional responding agencies — not just military but also governmental,” said Army Maj. Edwin Morton, the exercise’s director and lead U.S. planner.
Morton added, “There are international components of this that we’re exercising. We’re not just building relationships. We’re also working out the cooperation and coordination mechanisms that we need to effectively respond to a disaster where there’s been a request for international assistance.”
At last year’s Gobi Wolf exercise other nations were invited to participate, and this year’s exercise continues the practice. Other countries that sent delegates include Bangladesh, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand and South Korea.
In a departure from past exercises, this year’s Gobi Wolf moves away entirely from Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Morton said the change allows for a more realistic and challenging scenario owing to austere conditions and the added logistical demands of distance.
U.S. military participants in the exercise include active-duty Army and Air Force service members, as well as Army Reservists and Alaska Army and Air National Guardsmen.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and numerous U.S. nongovernmental agencies also sent delegates.
[Source: By Army Sgt. David Bedard/ U.S. Pacific Command ~ US DoD -/- Media Relations]
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