SD National Guard, partner-nation Suriname share disaster response best practices

group at a tableBy 1st Lt. Chad Carlson, SDNG Public Affairs Office

PARAMARIBO, Suriname – Three members of the South Dakota National Guard spent two days in Suriname, the state’s South American partner nation, Aug. 26-27, as part of a series of recent subject matter expert exchanges focusing on disaster response best practices.

The Guardsmen met with leadership from Suriname’s Army, Navy, Air Force, Military Police, Special Troops and the National Coordination Center for Disaster Relief to discuss joint operations during disaster response.

“This exchange brought together the various branches of Suriname’s Defense Forces and allowed us to discuss practices that would allow them to best work together to achieve a common goal,” said Sgt. Maj. Chad Schmitz, operations NCO, SDNG.

“Their leadership is striving to get the coordination between their National Coordination Center for Disaster Relief and their defense forces in an emergency situation or natural disaster to work together much like South Dakota’s Office of Emergency Management and National Guard when responding to disasters,” said Sgt. 1st Class Chad Brooks, Joint Operations Center NCO, SDNG.

Over the course of two days, S.D. Guardsmen presented briefs ranging in topics from command and control principles to the common operating procedure, all focused on joint operations, in which various branches of the military and civilian assets would need to work together.

“We shared some of South Dakota’s best practices, how we run our Joint Operations Center and how we manage the communication and coordination necessary when conducting operations,” said Capt. Jodi Gilberti, operations officer, SDNG.

Following the briefs, leadership from the various branches of Suriname’s military and the NCCDR were presented with a natural disaster exercise in which people and assets would need to be moved requiring all of the organizations to coordinate in order to accomplish the mission.

“We gave them an exercise with a few scenarios such as roads washing away causing the need for Navy boats and Air Force planes to move Army personnel to various locations,” said Schmitz. “It really opened up a line of communication among leadership and started their planning process.”

“We hope that this exchange helped reinforce some of the practices they’ve seen throughout South Dakota,” Gilberti said. “We also hope it builds on the relationships between their joint military staff and civilian organizations.”

South Dakota and Suriname, in coordination with U.S. Southern Command, established a successful security cooperation relationship in 2006 under the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program. Since then, numerous exchanges have taken place between the SDNG and Suriname’s Defense Forces to share experiences and best practices in a variety of military training and topics.

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