BANDUNG, Indonesia - Officers from 19 nations gathered June 11 in Bandung, Indonesia, approximately 80 miles from Jakarta, for three days of academic classes as part of Garuda Shield 09.

"This is a great time to be here," said Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut1st Admiral Marsetio, deputy assistant of operations for the commander in chief of the TNI-AL or Indonesian Navy. "We are here to help countries broken by conflict."

The three days of classes will focus on United Nations policies and practices. The officers will learn about UN peace support operations, Rule of Law, Human Rights violations and Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration.

"The objective is to get everyone on a level playing field," said Robert Sweeney, U.S. Pacific Command Global Peace Operations Initiative project manager for the Asian Pacific region.

Because the UN conducts business differently, Sweeney said, it is important for all of the countries here to learn how to perform all the tasks of a UN headquarters in accordance with the organization's regulations.

These classes are part of exercise Garuda Shield 09 which is designed to promote regional peace and security in the area. Training will focus on peace support operations, and will serve as the capstone GPOI event for the Asia-Pacific Region.

According to the Department of State website, the GPOI Initiative addresses major gaps in international peace operations support. The program aims to build and maintain capability, capacity, and effectiveness of peace operations.

The classes will culminate in a computer-simulated Command Post Exercise designed to test the officers' knowledge and ability to come together in a fictional UN-mandated peace support operation.

"Every nation here acts as a peacekeeper," said Marsetio.

The Asia-Pacific Region is the most successful with the GPOI mission, sending the highest number of peacekeeping troops to various areas of the world. They also lead the way in training for the GPOI mission, Sweeney said.

During the latter portion of exercise GS09, the UN training will be extended beyond the officers to soldiers in 11 countries. The soldiers will go through a Field Training exercise which will emphasize the UN mandated ground-level tasks.