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Posted: Aug 14, 2023

The first South Asia Regional Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange (DREE) ended successfully with the closing ceremony at the end of July at the National Guard Headquarters in Guam. Guam’s governor, the Honorable Lou Leon Guerrero, served as the keynote speaker.  

The themes of the eight-day exercise were regional cooperation, civil-military integration, and coordinated Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response for disasters in South Asia. The event was sponsored by the United States Army Pacific (USARPAC). It brought together more than 120 participants from nine nations, as well as government, non-governmental, and international organizations. Personnel worked together either through phased events that included expert academic discussions; a special focus session on Women, Peace, and Security; a tabletop, and a field training exercise.   

ISG led the facilitation of the expert academic discussions and tabletop exercise components of the training. Mr. Scott Moreland, ISGs lead for Emergency Management & Resilience observed that “what distinguishes this exercise is that it is truly a partner-led effort. Our partner planners have served on our core planning team from the very beginning.”  Moreland emphasized that while presentations by experts were important, providing opportunities for participants to exchange knowledge and experiences was essential. “We deliberately designed the exercise together to ensure that participant-led activities were the main training events.”  

USARPAC’s Master Sergeant Leia Puco is no stranger to the DREE series, having served on six national DREE events over the last few years. Master Sgt. Puco reinforced the power of participant-led exchanges. “We learn so much every time we get together with different people, different nations who come to solutions in their own creative ways.” 

ISG’s Ms. Steph Meyer further noted that the enthusiastic participant interaction and immediate feedback to participants' questions made the event successful. “We couldn’t have asked for a better training audience. They are all experts with direct experience preparing for and responding to a whole range of disasters throughout the region.” Ms. Meyer further highlighted that, “we were truly facilitators of their event rather than experts teaching the uninitiated. We learned a tremendous amount from these senior leaders and career professionals over the course of the exercise.”