By Sgt. Frank StrumilaAugust 23, 2017
Soldiers of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division paired with their Royal Thai Army counterparts during a bilateral staff exercise in support of Hanuman Guardian 2017.
The STAFFEX allowed officers and senior noncommissioned officers to work together to solve complex issues based off of a computer-generated scenario.
"The Staff Exercise is beneficial and directly related to the objectives of the overall mission of Hanuman Guardian, which is for the two countries to come together and exchange tactics and procedures," said STAFFEX director Pelle Rodahl, a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) enabler working out of the Naval Postgraduate School.
The challenges that arise during the training allow both countries to develop a mutual understanding that permits the soldiers from both armies to come together and establish operating procedures that allow a better flow of information during a mission.
"The STAFFEX allows the commander and the staff on the battalion level to work together in this (hypothetical) situation that has been put together by the contractor," said RTA Major Kaewpech Thungpattanapunt. "This training makes both commanders from each side and the staffs work together and talk together to solve the problem together which results in the ability to accomplish the mission."
Focusing on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) contingencies and stability operations within the field of academics, computer training, and the military decision-making process, U.S. Soldiers participated in the training to improve readiness and overall interoperability with the Royal Thai Army.
"This (STAFFEX) enabled us to work closely with our RTA counterparts and jointly gain a shared understanding of both the U.S. and the RTA methods of exercising the military decision making process in a HA/DR simulated environment," said Capt. Benjamin Christian, an intelligence officer with the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. "We were able to combine both planning processes and achieve mutual understanding while accomplishing the mission and the exercise training objectives."
When polling many of the U.S. Soldiers on what the most difficult part of the STAFFEX was, it was apparent that the language barrier was a hurdle that was tough to ignore.
"The language barrier does provide a challenge for sure, but the good thing with that is that if you operate in a multinational environment, you will always have persons who are not fluent in English," said Rodahl. "So it is a challenge, but it also, at the same time, is a good learning objective; it teaches how to operate within a country that is not fluent in English and how to operate through interpreters. That is all a part of the learning, the training, and being able to adapt and be patient in order to make sure that you're moving ahead as one combined unit."