By Capt. Robert Taylor, Idaho National GuardMay 11, 2018
BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho National Guard hosted the United States Pacific Command's State Partnership Program Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Seminar in Boise May 7 to 11. The seminar brought together members from seven National Guards, 11 foreign countries and multiple civilian response agencies, to include the Boise Fire Department, the Idaho Office of Emergency Management and the Pacific Disaster Center.
The seminar provided the opportunity for foreign countries located in the Pacific Command's geographic theater to build relationships with their National Guard partners as well as each other, said Capt. Jace Thayer, State Partnership Program director for the Idaho Army National Guard.
"We want to build interoperability and partnerships with the international community," Thayer said. "So that when a disaster happens, countries can work together for assistance."
The seminar focused on planning for and preparing to respond to disasters and included training from Bob Kielty with the Boise Fire Department; Jeff Rylee, the Idaho Office of Emergency Management's hazardous material and special teams operations officer; and Disaster Service Analyst Jared Batzel, with the Pacific Disaster Center.
The seminar's theme was national resiliency through humanitarian assistance and disaster response. Presenters covered the incident command system and how to plan and prepare for a disaster before it occurs.
"We work with our partners to use data and information to align our efforts and the disaster risk reduction cycle," Batzel said.
Members of the military who focus on disaster planning and emergency response from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam participated in the seminar. These soldiers and airmen trained alongside their National Guard partners from Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
"An organized approach to major incidents will benefit us in the future," said Maj. Shahriar Alam, an instructor at a military academy in Bangladesh.
The State Partnership Program facilitates the exchange of ideas, capabilities, training and experience between a host country and a state's National Guard. The National Guard program is in its 25th year and includes partnerships with 75 nations around the globe.