Canadian military planners train Caribbean partners during TRADEWINDS 2019
By: Captain Christopher Daniel
Eight Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members are introducing the Operational Planning Process to headquarters staff participants at Exercise TRADEWINDS 19. In addition to this, they are mentoring them as they operate a Caribbean Task Force (CTF) headquarters in the Dominican Republic, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from May 30 to June 21, 2019.
“Our role in this exercise is to assist in the planning and execution of combined security operations and the establishment and proper functioning of a Caribbean Task Force headquarters,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Keith Rudderham, Commanding Officer of the Cape Breton Highlanders in Sydney, Nova Scotia and CAF contingent lead mentor. “We are also training on the effective response to humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations,” he added.
Exercise TRADEWINDS is a United States-led multinational joint exercise that aims to strengthen safety and security in the Caribbean region. Held annually, this year’s exercise marks the 35th year since its inception and there are 22 partner nations training together to increase regional cooperation in complex security and humanitarian operations.
The CTF headquarters training is divided into two phases.
“During phase one, we guide the exercise participants through the operational planning cycle,” explained LCol Rudderham. “We teach the lesson and then we get them to practice the process from that lesson. They get to assess the situation on the ground, come up with options to deal with the challenges and then present their courses of action to the commander and write a plan that would lead to writing an operation order,” he continued.
The CAF trainers represent a function in the continental staff system from J1 to J9. One of them is Captain Noel Haliski from the Land Force Intelligence Centre in Ottawa, who is a trainer and mentor for J2 intelligence at Exercise TRADEWINDS.
“My training module is about Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield, which is a process that we do in Canada to produce intelligence products which support plan development and the execution of operations for Commanders and their staffs,” said Capt Haliski. “My objective is to introduce them to the steps, let them know what the basic requirements are, mentor them during the application of OPP, and confirm they are familiar with it during the execution of the plan.”
During the second phase, the training will progress from operational planning to the execution of operations. The CTF headquarters staff will operate in a simulated environment, where they will be provided with scenarios that require quick solutions to solve that situation or mitigate the impact of the problem.
“We want to develop cooperation between partner nations in the Caribbean so we can get to know each other better in order to be able to work as best as possible and seamlessly in the event that we get called on a short notice to respond to a security situation or natural calamities,” said LCol Rudderham.
“I’m enjoying this exercise and I find the training modules are very useful to my job,” said Police Inspector Carlos Silvester John from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force. “The lectures are very informative and the practical training is realistic. I’m taking this knowledge back to Saint Vincent and implementing it to my planning process and headquarters staff management,” he added.
TRADEWINDS is sponsored by United States Southern Command and is a joint, multinational, and interagency training exercise with participation this year from Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, France, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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