Chilean, US Special Forces Strengthen Interoperability

first_imgBy Guillermo Saavedra/Diálogo March 26, 2019 The United States and Chile formed a multinational force to combat a terrorist group whose actions destabilized peace and created insecurity in Latin America. Their units deployed air and land assets to swiftly neutralize the threat and rescue kidnapped service members, while minimizing the impact on the population. The scenario was one of the simulations carried out as part of exercise Northern Star 19, which, for the third time, gathered units of the Chilean and U.S. special forces on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The exercise took place January 15-30, at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, Mississippi. More than 110 special forces service members from the United States and 54 from Chile took part in Northern Star 2019. Special forces units of Canada, the Netherlands, and Uzbekistan also joined the exercise to form the multinational force. U.S. troops included personnel from Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) and the U.S. Army’s 3rd and 20th Special Forces Groups. For its part, Chile sent elements from the Army Special Operations Brigade “Lautaro,” special forces units of the Navy and the Marine Corps, and representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (EMCO, in Spanish). “The objective of Northern Star 19 was to improve the interoperability and capacity of the U.S. and Chilean special forces units,” U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Andrew Sarria, noncommissioned officer of Southern Cone and Andean Ridge Operations at SOCSOUTH, told Diálogo. “In addition, the [exercise sought to] promote bilateral relations and strengthen bonds of friendship between the two countries to maintain a solid relationship with our strategic partners.” Standardizing procedures At Camp Shelby, participants focused on training techniques for the fictitious exercises. The goal was to assess unit capabilities, exchange knowledge, and standardize procedures. “For example, fast rope drops from helicopters, advanced procedures in convoys, assistance to the injured, location data entry, personnel rescue,” Chilean Army Major Pedro Mayorga, commander of the Special Forces Group, a unit of the Special Operations Brigade “Lautaro,” told Diálogo. “These enable us to note tactic and technique differences between one unit and another and to standardize these aspects.” Once the multinational force was created, participants received information about the terrorist group and its activities to develop strategies and counter the threat in different areas. Then, participants began their missions on the ground, planning and conducting operations day and night, requiring coordination and synchronization. “[Objectives] began to materialize in a fictitious story, which was the setting for the mission,” said Maj. Mayorga. “In this type of mission, the main stressor is a short timeline that implies rapid coordination of all elements to achieve the objective effectively.” Participants confronted diverse situations, such as rescuing a kidnapped pilot, collecting sensitive information, and observing long-distance targets. Service members also conducted urban warfare exercises, close combat, and air and tactical operations in small units, among others. “Some of the main activities of the exercise included a shooting range for long- and short-range weapons, day and night combined assault, joint close combat training, and joint planning,” said Pedro Wasserman, SOCSOUTH’s senior Operations and Intelligence integrator. “We [Chile and the United States] are engaged in constant collaboration through joint and combined training exercises, which gives us the opportunity to achieve the necessary synergy to obtain positive results.” A powerful tool Northern Star sprang from the combined exercise Southern Star, which EMCO and SOCSOUTH conduct in Chile since 2007. Partner nations conduct the Northern Star exercise every other year in the United States since 2015. Both countries benefited from the exchange of experience and knowledge in the operational and logistics fields during the exercise. The use of techniques and capabilities that can transfer to humanitarian operations is “a powerful tool,” said Maj. Mayorga. “The main gain was the update of procedures,” said the Chilean officer. “For example, information management and interagency work in the United States are important experience for us [in Chile].” For his part, Sgt. 1st Class Sarria highlighted the evolution of the exercise and Chilean troops’ capabilities to perform and understand new techniques in a limited time. “The Chilean Armed Forces’ professionalism, ability to adapt under stress, and positive attitude during the various phases of the exercise [were remarkable].” “We managed to consolidate; we’ve been working for many years to reach this level,” said Chilean Army Colonel Ricardo Santander, head of EMCO’s Special Operations Department and general coordinator of Northern Star 19. “We want [this exercise] to grow stronger in the coming years, with the participation of more patrols, troops, and resources.”last_img read more

One click to borrow?

first_img continue reading » Fifty Northwest credit union CEOs gathered last year, and the topic turned to Amazon Prime. Nearly all were members and enjoyed Amazon’s “One Click to Buy” feature. Convenient, cool and a new normal most agreed. One CEO lightheartedly asked, “Could we ever see a day with ‘One Click to Borrow?’” All in the room favorably nodded.Retail is retail. Consumers/members have expectations of their experiences in retail, regardless of product. What they receive through digital engagement, real-time status and anytime access outside the credit union is exactly what they expect when engaging with the credit union. Review this list of consumer expectations of retail experiences and consider added ways that your credit union can enhance its commitment to members.Simple. Apple refined the ease of navigating a computer in your hands and now members primarily engage with credit unions from their handheld devices. How many transactions can a member complete digitally? How many steps are necessary to conduct business? Could a member go “branch-free” and still deepen a relationship with your credit union?Personal. For all the mobile-first and do-it-yourself habits of members, sometimes a face-to-face conversation is necessary. How advanced are your front-line leaders in their communications and consulting skills? If a member completed “Steps A through C” on her own, could your front-line leaders pick up at “Step D?” How skilled are your front-line leaders in showing empathy and interacting with diverse members? ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more