U.S., China armies open 13th annual DME

| November 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

Capt. Dan Nixon, a Plans officer in the 175th Financial Management Support Center, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, from Wells, NV., is strapped into a gurney as part of a medical static display during the 2017 U.S. – China Disaster Management Exchange at Camp Rilea, Ore., Nov. 16, 2017. The annual United States Army Pacific (USARPAC) Security Cooperation event with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is an opportunity to share lessons learned in order to increase capacity to respond to natural disasters in the Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nathan H. Barbour)

8th Theater Sustainment Command
News Release

PORTLAND, Oregon — The 13th annual U.S.-China Disaster Management Exchange (DME) Table Top Exchange (TTE) and Practical Field Exchange (PFE) portions commenced on Nov. 16 with an opening ceremony at Camp Rilea, Oregon.

Hosted by U.S. Army-Pacific, the DME allowed hands-on and side-by-side interaction between the U.S. Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) operations and enabled sharing of lessons learned.

The 2017 exchange focused on a notional flooding scenario in which both armies would be requested to provide HA/DR to a third affected state as part of a Multinational Coordination Center (MNCC).

Senior leaders look at equipment on display during the 2017 U.S. – China Disaster Management Exchange at Camp Rilea, Ore., Nov. 16. The annual United States Army Pacific (USARPAC) Security Cooperation event with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is an opportunity to share lessons learned in order to increase capacity to respond to natural disasters in the Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nathan H. Barbour)

Maj. Gen. Susan A. Davidson, commanding general, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, welcomed attendees and highlighted how the event would build understanding and trust between the two armies.

“Disaster Management Exchanges like this are invaluable because as they expand in depth with each iteration, they allow us to truly recognize the importance of collaboration in addressing non-traditional security threats such as natural disasters,” Davidson said. “Our ability to increase our practical de-confliction and gain a better understanding of each other’s procedures in the event of a real-world disaster response could be what makes all the difference to the affected state.”

Throughout the exchange, personnel simulated real-life scenarios in order to identify procedural gaps and practice techniques required for efficient and collaborative response, such as search and rescue techniques and the construct of the MNCC.

“The PLA and U.S. military both have dignified histories of and glorious accomplishments. Although we are geographically far from each other, the respect for human life is beyond national boundaries and races,” said Maj. Gen. Huang Taoyi, deputy commander ,75th Group Army, PLA Army. “We are ready to join our friends from the U.S. to actively implement the consensus reached by our two state leaders and make concerted efforts to make this year’s DME more practical, more in-depth and improve the two militaries’ abilities in disaster relief.”

Starting in 2005, the DME has been held at locations in Hawaii, Washington, D.C., New York, Washington and multiple areas in China. The DME has also matured from basic visits and briefings into a substantive exchange that uses table top and PFEs to focus and facilitate interaction and develop the capacity to de-conflict HA/DR operations between the U.S. Army and the PLA.

In addition to providing a learning opportunity for the U.S. and PLA Army participants, this year the DME includes military and government observers from Bangladesh, Canada, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and the People’s Republic of China.

U.S. participants included USARPAC, the 8th TSC, the Oregon National Guard, the U.S. Military Academy (USMA), the 351st Civil Affairs Command, the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB), the 571st Sapper Company, the U.S Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division, the USACE Portland District, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Pacific Disaster Center, an applied research center managed by the University of Hawaii.

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