Ex Kakadu takes innovative approach to planning

This article has photo gallery Published on CMDR Fenn Kemp (author), POIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

Topic(s): Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR), Exercise KAKADU

Personnel from the United Arab Emirates, Chile, Vietnam, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and Brunei take part in a three day activity focused on how to plan a wide range of operations from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to maritime conflict as part of Exercise Kakadu 2018. (photo: POIS Yuri Ramsey)
Personnel from the United Arab Emirates, Chile, Vietnam, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and Brunei take part in a three day activity focused on how to plan a wide range of operations from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to maritime conflict as part of Exercise Kakadu 2018.

As Exercise Kakadu reached a conclusion at sea, a land based challenge was taking place ashore. Nineteen members from eight nations have spent the week at Exercise Command. Their mission was to plan and execute a complex maritime operation.

Run by the RAN’s Force Generation Directorate, the activity ran for three days. It began with a challenge many regional participants were already familiar with – how to plan a Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HaDR) operation. HaDR operations can be extremely complex. In this scenario, the event was being run by a non-military agency with Foreign Affairs taking the lead. A member of the Civilian-Military Centre was on hand to provide guidance and instruction on how Australians would operate in this environment.

Force Generation Directorate spokesman Tim McGregor says he and his colleagues were very pleased to see participants getting so involved.

“It was a very positive experience,” he said. “It was pleasing to see our guests stepping up to lead the activity in such a proactive way. We had members attend from the Philippines and Indonesia, both of which have experienced regular natural disasters. We also discussed the Fiji Cyclone response from 2016.”

On the final day, the scenario changed dramatically with players facing a more confronting challenge. The scenario split them into two groups – one was green and one orange. Each was given a mission to expel the other from a disputed territory. The two phased event involved planning and then testing that plan through the use of charts and 3D models.

Tim McGregor and Directorate colleague Joey Romanous coordinated a day of unexpected military scenarios and challenges. The diversity of experience in the room was impressive. “They each brought different experiences to the table,” Tim said. “We had a Helicopter pilot, a former Navy Captain, air warfare specialists – so we had input from everyone across all spectrums of warfare.”

The exercise was made all the more realistic by input from Navy’s Innovation Centre at Fleet Base East. “Normally we would have run these things on PowerPoint,” Tim said. “But the Innovation Centre chipped in with 3D models and charts which made the activity even more useful.”

When the models came out our guests found a new sense of enthusiasm. It really helped them gain a greater understanding of the task.