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February 11, 2016
Exercise puts spotlight on disaster response
FOR the first time since its incep-
tion in 2010, all four regional
partners from across the Asia-
Pacific rim gathered for Exercise
The humanitarian assistance and
disaster relief (HADR) exercise, con-
ducted at RAAF Base Williamtown
last November, involved 10 ADF
members, five from the Chinese
military, four from the US Pacific
Command and two from the NZ
CJOPS VADM David Johnston
said the exercise was an opportunity
to deepen understanding and coordi-
nation of our respective HADR capa-
bilities and plans.
“The Asia-Pacific is a region
prone to natural disasters, which
makes HADR a natural and important
area of cooperation between coun-
tries in our region,” he said.
“The exercise was designed to
build our collective capacity to pro-
vide a disaster relief response in the
The exercise consisted of semi-
nars and a table-top activity based on
a fictitious scenario of cyclone dam-
age to a South Pacific nation.
“Unfortunately, such scenarios
do have real-world application with
Cyclone Pam impacting on Vanuatu
in early 2015,” VADM Johnston said.
Acting SO2 Ops at HQ
1JMOVGP Capt Hanneka Gordon’s
role on the exercise was as a move-
LEGAL lessons on the laws of
armed conflict and rules of engage-
ment are essential for soldiers oper-
ating on modern complex battle-
In Iraq these lessons for the Iraqi
Security Forces are being prepared by
Australian and New Zealand forces.
Legal officer Maj Peter Thatcher
said legal training focused on dealing
with events likely to be encountered
by the ISF on the battlefield.
“During theory lessons I use visual
aids to ensure soldiers are able to iden-
tify protected and non-protected per-
sons and property,” Maj Thatcher said.
“The Iraqi soldiers have displayed
a good understanding of the right
course of action to take, applying it to
the particular property or person they
identified, which is positive to see.
“Their actions need to be instinc-
tive and should observe the human
rights of any persons they encounter,
be they combatants, non-combatants
This legal knowledge is appreci-
ated by Iraqi Army soldiers such as Pte
Kadhim Ali Hani.
“I know how to act against and
treat the enemy, and that we are to
protect things like schools, mosques,
hospitals and civilians,” he said.
“This information is significant
because I can teach my soldiers and
ensure we all fight humanely.”
Maj Thatcher said training in the
laws of armed conflict and human
rights obligations was essential in the
overall training program being deliv-
ered through the coalition’s Building
Air Cdre Noel Derwort presents Capt Hanneka Gordon with a
certificate of appreciation for her involvement in exercise Cooperation
Spirit, conducted at the ADF Peace Operations Training Centre.
Photo by Cpl Craig Barrett
Partner Capacity mission. “We can
be satisfied the trainees have been
equipped with a correct understanding
of proper actions that are compliant on
the battlefield,” he said.
“Further, the fundamental motiva-
tion for the Iraqi Security Forces must
be that they have a legal obligation to
comply with these rules.
“They also have the opportunity to
continue garnering international sup-
port by being viewed as a professional
army which understands both the legal
and moral imperative of compliance.”
He said the Iraqi Army conducted
its own laws of armed conflict training
and had a good understanding of these
Maj Peter Thatcher discusses the
laws of armed conflict with Pte
Kadhim Ali Hani at the Taji Military
Complex. Photo by Cpl Matthew Bickerton
ments planner for the HADR sce-
She said the exercise was a valu-
able engagement opportunity with
countries that would not normally
work so closely together.
“The scenarios allowed for discus-
sion on the practicality of working
on the same mission to support other
regional countries that may be affect-
ed by a natural disaster,” she said.
“The exercise achieved its main
goal of providing an engagement
opportunity between the militaries
of China, the US, New Zealand and
Capt Gordon said the exercise
allowed her to gain an insight into
how other militaries approached a
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