UNMEM 1-19: Military and civilians worked together in "Operation Joint Effort"

Defence Forces International Centre FINCENT 29.3.2019 12.47
Press release

In the final exercise of the UNMEM course, the military, police and civilians formed joint patrolling teams to enhance an understanding of an integrated approach to crisis management.

UNMEM course Joint patrol meeting locals

During the last week of the UNMEM course, the skills acquired during the course were put to the test in a final field exercise. In the exercise, the military worked together with their civilian counterparts when students from the Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) conducted by Crisis Management Centre Finland joined the exercise.

The joint exercise is a response to the fact that in today’s global world, conflicts and crises have become multidimensional and complex. Peace support operations involve both military and civilian actors engaged with different responsibilities and operating within different timeframes in the same crisis area.

The purpose of the joint civil–military exercise on the UNMEM course is to enhance an understanding of an integrated approach to crisis management, as well as to improve the collaboration and coordination between military and civilian crisis management organisations.

Feedback from the course participants

When asked about previous experiences of working in cooperation with civilian counterparts, participants replied that they had very little or no experience. Therefore, this exercise enabled them to see and experience new approaches and perspectives. They considered this experience to be useful in future when a similar situation arises. All the teams seemed to interact well within the group, and the tasks were distributed according to the individuals’ strengths.

UNMEM course, observation point
Military observing together with civilian counterparts

"Peace operations nowadays are very complex, so interaction with other members in the area of responsibility is crucial to fulfilling our mission," comments one of the course participants. "Conducting patrols with the UN police mission was a new experience which let me understand their approach to given tasks. The logical way of thinking and team work were the two most important elements that allowed us to perform in a proper way," she continues. "I am very glad that during this course my radio communication skills have improved. I hope that in the future my attitude towards people will benefit UN peace operations," she concludes.

Real life situations in safe environment with little pressure

"This course offered me an extremely true experience which an UN Military Officer or Military Adviser can face in a real life mission," comments one of the course participants. "During the practical part of the course we were able to train our skills in a safe environment and get feedback to improve ourselves. In the last week of the exercise, we were forced to utilize the skills that we had learned during the course. A little pressure from outside might open your eyes into seeing how you behave, and if you are content with your own reactions," the course participant added.

We are now better prepared for UN missions

"Overall, the UNMEM course was a well-rounded and interesting introduction to the work of UN Military Observers," comments one course participant. "Within three weeks, we moved from basic lessons and elementary skills, such as driving and radio communications, to conducting complex patrols with multiple tasks. The students’ professional backgrounds and levels of previous experience were very diverse, but it is certain that all of the participants are now better prepared for UN missions abroad. The patrolling days were especially productive as they combined basic skills, such as navigating and communicating, with meetings and observation tasks," the course participant added.

Feedback sessions speed up the learning

Eachexercise and incident is followed by a feedback session, where the teams evaluate their own performance, the students reflect on their own actions, and the instructor sums up the feedback. Most students were very content with this method.

The approaches to dealing with conflict in the field of crisis management have become more comprehensive by bringing together civilian, police and military components. Operation Joint Effort tests the ability of students to work in joint patrolling teams with civilian and police components.

This year FINCENT conducts two UNMEM courses. The next UNMEM course will start on August 19th, 2019.