REYNOSA, Mexico –
The U.S. military conducted exercise Fuerzas Amigas 2022 with the Mexican military at Campo Militar Reynosa in Reynosa, Mexico, Oct. 16-21, 2022.
Fuerzas Amigas is an annual bilateral exercise focused on defense support of civil authorities and Mexico’s National Defense Plan – III-E. The exercise aims to strengthen the bilateral military-to-military partnership conducting disaster response operations along the U.S.-Mexico border.
This year’s exercise included a Women, Peace, and Security, or WPS, objective for the first time, integrating a gender perspective into exercise planning, design, and execution in support of our mutual WPS objectives.
WPS is a policy framework that evolved from U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), which recognized women as critical actors in international peace and security. Mexico signed its first WPS National Action Plan in 2021. The United States codified WPS into U.S. law with the WPS Act of 2017. Both the U.S. and Mexican militaries have mandates to implement this program.
“Our Defense Secretary has placed special emphasis on including women into all branches of the armed forces and all jobs,” said Mexican army soldier Subtiente (2nd Lt.) Guadalupe Tenorio Barragan, a nurse with Regional Military Hospital of Specialties Monterrey said, “Inclusion of women makes us a more effective force.”
WPS seeks to ensure the meaningful participation of women in peace and security processes and ensure the safety, security and human rights of women and girls. For disaster response operations, integrating a gender perspective is critical to understanding the distinct needs of an affected population. This helps the U.S. military, and our partners better understand the operational environment and tailor disaster operations to assist the communities we serve to save lives and mitigate human suffering.
Fuerzas Amigas 2022, a major hurricane scenario in the Texas-Mexico border region, tested both nations’ collaborative response and enhanced mutual understanding of response operations on both sides of the border. Both the U.S. and Mexican militaries employed diverse teams for the exercise.
“Deploying disaster response teams that look like the community we serve is important in building trust and confidence,” said Mexican Air Force Teniente (1st Lt.) Ozuki Velazquez Aparicio, a nurse from Helicopter Squadron Military Air Base Five.