By Capt. Eileen C Hernandez (TRADOC)June 29, 2012
Washington, D.C -- Mission Command Training Program hosted a military and civilian table-top exercise (TTX) that focused on Mass Atrocity Response Operations (MAPRO) at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. on June 12-13.
Participants included members of the Army, Air Force and representatives from over 15 governmental agencies to include the State Department, Department of Defense, Department of Justice and the Central Intelligence Agency.
The TTX took place two days prior to the first meeting of the Atrocity Prevention Board (APB). In Aug. 2011, President Obama ordered a Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities (PSD-10). The APB will work to coordinate a whole of government approach to prevention mass atrocities and genocide.
"The Army is interested in these topics because in the future many of these issues may come back to us," said Scott Wuestner, exercise facilitator and IA Program Analyst, Contemporary Operating Environment Operations Group, MCTP.
"We need to figure out how to look at these issues comprehensively and actually come up with answers", said Wuestner during the TTX.
Lessons from the exercise will be used by the operational Army.
"This is an action conference, not a discussion conference. By focusing on developing policy statements and policy options we can tie this exercise back to III Corps," he said.
Participants worked together to develop response strategies for III Corps to execute on the simulated battlefield of Atropia during the recent Warfighter exercise.
Sarah Sewall is the founder and faculty director of the MARO Project at the Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University. She acted at the TTX's senior mentor.
"The main point of this exercise is to get the civilian policy makers to make their guidance as specific as possible. Ambiguity is a tool frequently used by policy makers to bring about consensus but ambiguity is not something that commanders on the ground need when it comes to policy," said Sewall.
Sewall is co-author of 'Mass Atrocity Prevention and Response Options, A Policy Planning Handbook'.
"This is the first time a policy event has been tied to an operational exercise and the first time that MAPRO has been integrated into an exercise this large," said Wuestner.
MCTP plans to host future TTX's with other relevant topics such as human trafficking, food security and gender-based violence.
"Regardless of the topic, bringing together interagency policy planners is our ultimate goal, said Wuestner. "It replicates what happens in the real world and provides the most realistic training environment for our training audiences."