Wrapping up UNMEM 3/2018

Defence Forces International Centre FINCENT 16.11.2018 9.06
Press release

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.

The joint exercise is made necessary by the fact that conflicts and crises have become more complex and multidimensional. In the current world, increasing emphasis has been put on the different responsibilities of the different actors in the crisis area. The purpose of the joint civilian and military exercise is to provide both counterparts with the necessary tools for dealing with real situations. Working in cooperation enhances the collaboration between the military and the civilian crisis management organisations.

To determine how the participants perceive the joint operation and their thoughts before beginning the practical part of the cooperation, they were asked about their expectations of working with the military/civilian counterparts.

Joint teams planning the upcoming task

The civilians of the joint team have high expectations for the joint operation, and are eager to learn about the military approach to the tasks given their training background and prior experience. Although expressing some concern, during the planning process one participant suggested that "Knowing more about the background and the training that the military receive in advance would help and might increase the level and depth of the cooperation within the team". Some were surprised that the military observers came from such a wide range of countries, and were interested to see how the different nationalities would work together within their own detachments.

As one of the civilian participants noted, the key to excellent training was the combination of different areas of expertise. Eagerness to learn seemed to be the common ground for all involved in the joint operation.

When participants have no prior experience with joint operations, then issues such as how to act or behave in a new situation may arise. Conducting investigations might be a completely new area for some, and is something they will be tasked with in the joint teams.

The officers are looking forward to working with the civilians with an open mind, with the expectation of broadening their perspective with a perhaps more holistic approach, provided by the civilians and their expertise. They expect there to be some differences in working culture and in what participants from a wide range of backgrounds will bring to the tasks. However, the participants felt that expertise in their own respective fields would ease the tasks assigned to them.

Cooperation between the joint team on the observation post.

The expectations when working with experts from different fields included getting a better perspective on different approaches, learning new ways of thinking, or to widen the current perspective of the individuals. Shared expectations were related to the cooperation and interaction between the two teams with different experts as part of the team, and experiencing the joint team in real situations.

When asked about the experience of working in cooperation with the civilian or military counterparts, participants said that it enabled them to see and experience new approaches and perspectives. They said they expect the experience of working together on the joint operation to be useful to them in future, if a similar situation arises. All the teams seemed to interact well within the group, and the tasks were distributed according to the individual’s strengths to gain as much as possible from the experience.

Some participants would like to have received more information about the background and how the military and civilian sides operate, and the reasons for the joint mission and how they have been trained. A more complex and lengthier planning process could have enabled the team to learn more about each team member’s capabilities, strengths and weaknesses related to the given tasks. The participants felt that this would have increased the depth of the planning and tasking to merge the different teams. These thoughts could be due to the different approaches the military and the civilians have, from a task-orientated mindset to a broader approach. Participants from both sides learned new skills from the experts when placed in a strange or unfamiliar environment, through sharing the different processes and approaches to conducting interview or investigations, for example.

The purpose of the joint civil-military exercise on the UNMEM course is to enhance understanding of an integrated approach to crisis management, and to improve collaboration and coordination between military and civilian crisis management organisations. Based on the comments from participants before and after the joint operation, both civilians and military participants appreciate having had the experience of working in cooperation, as it prepared them for possible similar joint operations in the future.

Joint team working in unison at the observation post, sharing knowledge.

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 last UNMEM course of the year 2018 will end today, as the students receive their certificates. The UNMEM courses for the year 2019 will be arranged as follows:

UNMEM 1 (FIN.1137.69) 11–29 March 2019
UNMEM 2 (FIN.1137.70) 19 August–6 September 2019
UNMEM 3 (FIN.1137.71) 14 October–1 November 2019 (UNMEM 3 to be confirmed by 30 June 2019, visit www.fincent.fi for updates)