FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
More than 100 participants from the military and government
of Chile, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and the
U.S. Army, including members of U.S. Army South, gathered in Santiago, Chile,
to conduct a Civil-Military Relations Professional Development Exchange seminar
The purpose of the professional development exchange seminar
was to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures on humanitarian
assistance/disaster relief operations, gain understanding of and improve the
capability of Chile to plan, command and control, integrate, synchronize and
coordinate humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations.
Lt. Col. Larry Roberts, chief of space and special technical
operations, Army South, believes the professional development exchanges such as
this have a positive impact on the relationship between the U.S. Army and
“By conducting the exchange, it opens the door between the
United States and Chilean military and civilian organizations to focus on
support to civil defense for emergencies and catastrophic events,” Roberts
Army South’s mission is to conduct operations that build
theater security cooperation between U.S. and partner nations like Chile
through an exchange of information.
In past years, Chile and U.S. Army South have had several
military and civil expert exchanges in logistics, justice, health, aviation,
intelligence, engineers, science and technology and more, participating in
exercises and activities related to training and education.
Col. Jose Urrutia, Chilean partner nation liaison officer
with Army South, knows the positive impact cross training and the exchange of
information between Chile and U.S. military has on the region’s security.
“When you see the big picture about the relations and
exchanges between both armies you see a relation of friendship, mutual interest,
confidence, evolution and growth of all of them based on security cooperation,”
Urrutia said. “Because of that, we can say that it’s a relationship that
produces a win-win value for both.”
During the Santiago seminar, participants from both
countries shared and discussed their capabilities on civil-military operations
and integration and synchronization with inter-organizational partners to
improve interoperability in joint, interagency, and civil government
Some of the topics discussed during the professional
development exchange were the Armed Forces of Chile’s responsibilities and
capabilities during a disaster, protection of public health during a disaster,
Red Cross operations, earthquake preparedness, response to natural disasters in
Texas, chemical biological radiological and nuclear capability to respond to
mass-scale disasters and space technology capabilities that can support
humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
As an expert in space technology capabilities, Roberts
explained to the seminar participants how space technology capabilities can
support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
“Army South Space Operations has received approval from U.S.
Southern Command to create a site for Civil-Military Relations Professional
Development Exchanges on the All Partner Access Network to support all partner
nations participating to conduct continuous collaboration to further strengthen
what was developed and shared at each conference,” Roberts said.
Attendees also had an opportunity to participate in a
practical exercise on collaboration of effective response efforts in an event
of a volcano, earthquake and infectious disease outbreak which opened up to engaging dialogue between
the attendees, briefers and staff.
As one of the participants in the seminar, Urrutia believes
attendees from Chile benefited from the information they received and feels it
will help them support their country in disaster relief operations.
“Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief nowadays is a
great interest in the Chilean army since we had huge earthquakes, big fires,
vast zones flooded, and volcano eruptions just in the last two years,” Urrutia
“During the conference, the topic of disaster relief and how
both U.S. and Chilean armies get involved and assist in affected areas sparked
a very enthusiastic and lengthy interaction among the participants, from which
both parties gained a lot of knowledge,” Urrutia added.
According to Roberts, the seminar a success and the Chilean
army is looking to expand the aperture of the exchange next year and invite
additional nations in the region as well as inter-governmental organizations
within the country that did not attend the conference this year.