Hereupon, you shall read the tale of Aline Carr, our Vice President of Operations and her exploits at Pacific Endeavor 2015 in the distant land of the Philippines.
Road to Manila
Wednesday, September 2, 2015, Manila, Philippines
On August 28, I boarded a plane at dawn in El Paso, Texas headed to Manila in the Philippines, via Atlanta and Tokyo, to attend Pacific Endeavor. I was excited to be finally headed towards a country I have read so much about, unfortunately mostly during tragic disasters . I was looking forward to seeing people I had met at the 3rd Pacific Endeavor workshop in the Maldives in May, reconnecting with representatives from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) of the Philippines, and learning more about their national disaster response plan and their “digital infantry.”
Pacific Endeavor is an annual civil-military exercise that includes over 20 countries in the Asian-Pacific Basin. It focuses on communications and interoperability in humanitarian aid disaster response (HADR). Attendees include military representatives, telecommunications and cyber companies, government and non-government organizations, and members of the international humanitarian community.
This year’s exercise takes place from August 31 – September 11. It includes a tabletop exercise, plus training on satellite and radio communications and cyber. Humanity Road was invited as subject matter experts for the exercise.
I met Cat at the airport in Tokyo on August 29. We were booked on the same flight to Manila. We arrived in Manila late on the evening of August 29; we were taken to our hotel by friendly and courteous members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and were welcomed at the hotel by representatives from the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). After a night of much needed rest after 24 hours of travel time and long hours in cramped airplane seats, we explored the area around the hotel a bit and then attended an introductory meeting for the American attendees. The conference began on Monday, August 31 with the welcoming ceremony and group photo. In the afternoon, the attendees broke out into their work groups, with Cat and I joining the Scenario Working Group.
The Scenario Working Group began developing a tabletop exercise earlier this year, at three planning workshops. This year’s exercise participants will be the members of the Corporate Board, which consists of military representatives from all of the attending countries. The Scenario Work group itself includes personnel from the Pacific Disaster Center, the NDRRMC of the Philippines, the Royal Thai Air Force, the World Food Programme, and Humanity Road. Cat and I spent Tuesday and Wednesday working on various aspects of the exercise, and Cat was also interviewed by the public affairs officer for the conference.
We are honored to be representing the whole Humanity Road team, whose work in monitoring disasters and informing the public during disasters is the reason Humanity Road is invited to participate in such a unique program that focuses on increasing collaboration between NGOs, military, academia, industry, and other public and private sector organizations to improve disaster response.