Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cobra Gold, Lessons Learned on Disaster Relief

In a DOD Bloggers Roundtable on Feb. 2. Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, discussed the importance of military exercise Cobra Gold.

Cobra Gold is one of the best and most important exercises that we do as
part of
U.S. Pacific
...[it] highlights many of the activities that we do in the
Asia-Pacific region, a region that is extremely important to the United States,
obviously economically, but also from a standpoint of security, peace, and
stability on its effect on the U.S. "
Sponsored by PACOM and the Royal Thai Supreme Command, the three-week exercise started on Monday and includes a command post exercise, a series of medical and engineering civic action projects, and joint and combined field training. Much of the discussion during the DOD Bloggers Roundtable centered around Cobra Gold's history, new and future participants, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief efforts, force protection, and lessons learned.

Lt. Gen. Mixon added, "The exercise is important not only because it is one of the largest--if not the largest--multilateral exercises, but it also involves the first-ever deployment of the contingency command post...we envision this deployable command post to be involved in military operations...such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, peacekeeping and peace enforcement types of operations."

Lt. Gen. Mixon identified a shortfall during humanitarian assistance/disaster relief efforts during the recent natural disasters that struck the Philippines, Indonesia, and American Samoa. "One of the shortfalls that I felt like we had on the Army side was a fairly capable land-based command post that could set up very rapidly, work with the host nation and NGOs and establish communications and control..."

He added, "Lessons learned from my headquarters: Regional cooperation is always we continue to do this training, we will only get better at the ability to respond rapidly and then to work together with all the other governmental agencies that would be involved in disaster relief."

The bloggers present during the DoD Bloggers Roundtable are as follows: Dale Kissinger,; Grim,; Jim Dolbow,; and Shaun Tandon, The full transcript can be found here.

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