U.S. Army Pacific Partners With Bangladesh Armed Forces
The U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and the Bangladesh Armed Forces concluded their second annual Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise & Exchange (DREE) in Dhaka. The four day event, led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Civil-Military Emergency Preparedness (CMEP) program, fostered security cooperation and best practices in responding to and recovering from a catastrophic earthquake. Over 130 participants from 35 different organizations participated in the DREE. They brought together civilian and military representatives across all aspects of government and non-government organizations providing a comprehensive medium to work together towards achieving common emergency preparedness, response, and recovery goals. The program emphasized security cooperation, civil-military integration, and the impact of foreign humanitarian assistance on emergency response. It used procedures, techniques, and a variety of Bangladesh and U.S. Subject Matter Experts to share humanitarian assistance/disaster response capabilities, knowledge, and lessons learned. In addition, the event featured three unique Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) activities focused on medical, logistics, and civil-military operations.
In his opening remarks, U.S. Charge d'Affaires Nicholas Dean said, "The DREE is an effort to better prepare and enhance collaboration between the Bangladesh Armed Forces and the U.S. Army Pacific in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Programs like this strengthen our partnership and ensure we are ready to respond in times of crisis." The DREE consisted of panel sessions, roundtable discussions, and a practical exercise centered on an earthquake affecting Bangladesh. "The exercise was a great interactive opportunity for all of the participants. The lessons learned from this experience can be incorporated into our existing disaster response plans," said LTC Mohammmad Tawhid-Ul-Islam, Bangladesh Armed Forces Division.
The May 2011 Regional Earthquake Response Seminar, hosted by the U.S. Embassy and Armed Forces Division, informed the theme of this event, "Developing U.S. – Bangladesh Disaster Response Interoperability from Port of Entry to Point of Impact." All participants held in-depth discussions on how to quickly move humanitarian aid from a variety of Bangladesh's ports of entry, such as Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, to areas that could be the epicenter of a major seismic event. "After last week's earthquake in the Sikkim region, this event was timely and beneficial.
Participants were able to build interpersonal relationships, and I feel we are better prepared to respond to an earthquake in South Asia," stated LTC Brady Crosier, U.S. Army Pacific. The event's closing ceremony included speeches by Major General Raymond Rees from the Oregon National Guard and Lieutenant General Abdul Wadud from the Bangladesh Armed Forces.