FORT AGUAYO, Chile (March 29, 2012) -- U.S. Army South, in cooperation with the country of Chile, is in the final stage of constructing a $460,000 Military Operations on Urban Terrain, or MOUT, site here to support the Chilean Joint Center for Peace Operations and the U.S. Department of State's Global Peace Operations Initiative.
The 2,800-square meter training facility includes eight buildings with sidewalks and roads simulating an urban environment for peacekeeping training at Fort Aguayo.
"This is the first MOUT site in Chile, built for that purpose," said Chilean Marine Corps Capt. Claudio Zanetti, director of the Chilean Joint Center for Peace Operations. "This site will allow Chile the ability to better train for upcoming U.N. peacekeeping operations."
The MOUT site, which was funded by the U.S. Department of State's GPOI, supports U.N. peacekeeping operations by developing and enhancing national training capabilities and equipping potential peacekeeping units for deployments.
Chile has been a member of the U.N. since 1945 and supports peacekeeping operations in India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Cyprus, Haiti and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In cooperation with the Chilean Navy and the U.S. Army section in Chile, construction began in January 2012. A 600-square meter area called Area One was completed in early March. The remaining buildings and infrastructure are scheduled to be completed by March 30.
"Army South's engineering department provided a draft MOUT design to the Chilean Navy, [the U.S.] Army Section Chief in Chile and the Global Peace Operations Initiative manager," said Rosa L. Santoni, the South America regional country team lead for Army South. "Once all the participants agreed to the final design, we began construction. A project of this size normally takes six months to complete, but we have condensed this construction to 60 days."
Chile and U.S. officials worked extra hours alongside a private contractor seven days a week, in the last two months, to have the facility operational in time to support the April 2-6 Junior Leaders Training course for the Peacekeeping Operations-Americas exercise, known as PKO-A. The course will train more than 75 multinational officers on company-grade leadership decisions in peacekeeping procedures.
PKO-A is a multi-phased exercise focused on peacekeeping operations, and improving and building partner nation peacekeeping capability and capacity.
The first phase of PKO-A 2012 was a battalion level training event which ran from March 19 to March 23 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, at the Escuela de Mantenimiento de Paz de las Fuerzas Armadas Dominicanas. The second phase is the Junior Leaders Training being conducted, April 2-6, at Fort Aguayo. The third phase will be a Senior Leader Staff Seminar, April 30 - May 2 in Santiago, Chile. The final phase of PKO-A 2012 will be a command post exercise to be conducted April 30 - May 11 in Santiago, Chile.
As U.S. Southern Command's land component lead for all peacekeeping initiatives in the Western Hemisphere, Army South partnered with Chile to conduct PKO-A. More than 300 personnel from 17 participating countries are scheduled to take part in PKO-A to include: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, the United States and Uruguay.
"Chile will lead the upcoming Junior Leaders Training exercise. Leaders from such countries as Argentina, Peru and Brazil could come to Fort Aguayo to use this MOUT site for special peacekeeping training as part of regional exercises," said Zanetti. "We will conduct various types of training using the MOUT facility, to include patrol operations, communications, helicopter support, convoy security and humanitarian relief."
"The partnerships built through these types of exercises and military exchanges help in preserving peace and stability in the region," said Santoni.
"The building of this MOUT site by Army South will help us and our partners be better prepared for future UN peacekeeping missions," said Zanetti. "We have a great relationship with Army South and look forward to working and training with them on upcoming operations."