Technology and cyber top-of-mind during civil-military cooperation exercise

Canadian Army·Thursday, August 23, 2018

 

By Second Lieutenant Natalia Flynn, Army Public Affairs

Quebec City, Quebec — Reservist civil-military affairs specialists from 14 nations came together in early August 2018 for the seventh annual CIMEX (Civil-Military Cooperation Exercise), a hands-on training event that kicked off the 2018 Summer Congress of the Interallied Confederation of Reserve and Medical Reserve Officers (CIOR/CIOMR).

For the first time in 28 years, Canada hosted this NATO-endorsed association of Reserve professionals from NATO member countries, Partnership for Peace Programme and non-member nations. The 2018 CIMEX was also the first to be given official status as a NATO training event.

The role of civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) specialists is to help enable more effective cooperation between the military and civilian worlds to the benefit of both. CIMIC specialists meet with civilian leaders of communities in which they deploy to share information and determine the needs and capabilities of the local populace. They then advise their military commanders on effective ways to work with civilian government and non-government organizations during a mission.

Advanced technologies in humanitarian assistance

For three days, CIMEX participants applied their expertise as advisors to their respective militaries on how to best use advanced technologies in humanitarian assistance and disaster response scenarios. Senior officers shared best practices and discussed their experiences of working in challenging environments with multiple players. The exercise concluded with presentations of team-developed solutions for a mock crisis scenario.

Highlights of the teamwork component included trialing virtual battle space technology, led by technicians from the 2nd Canadian Division Simulation Centre at 2nd Canadian Division Support Base Valcartier. CIMEX participants travelled through a three-dimensional representation of the crisis area via unmanned aerial vehicles and other modes of air and ground transportation to survey the terrain for which they were responsible.

Realistic overview

“Virtual battle space technology offers a much more realistic overview of what is happening on the ground during a crisis, which enables users to have a more accurate picture of the situation and make better decisions,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Lessard, Commanding Officer of 35 Combat Engineer Regiment.

Participants were challenged in discussions about the cyber domain and its growing impact on CIMIC. Cyber operators are a relatively new trade in the Canadian Armed Forces. They can expect to face misinformation tactics, hacking and other electronic threats while working with communications infrastructure, which plays a central role in effectively coordinating humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions.

– Reserves are the perfect candidates

Lieutenant-Colonel Norman White, lead Canadian Army planner for CIMEX, was impressed with the collaborative spirit of the exercise and the quality of the plans produced by the teams. “Reservists are the perfect candidates for this type of work, as they often bring a tremendous body of experience with them from their civilian work lives that is very applicable,” he said.

Major Holly Cookson of the United States Air Force Reserve, and a long-time CIMEX planning committee member, said that members’ civilian work experience not only benefits their military occupation, but lessons learned with international military peers during events such as CIMEX can transfer to one’s civilian career as well.

 

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