CHANGI NAVAL BASE, Singapore (NNS) -- Representatives from 16 Asia-Pacific militaries gathered at Changi Naval Base in Singapore for the 7th annual Pacific Endeavor workshop sponsored by the Singapore Armed Forces and U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Aug. 16-27.
The workshop, held at the Changi Command and Control Center, provided military communication technology experts a platform in which to test their abilities to rapidly establish a communication infrastructure within a disaster relief scenario using Web-based 2.0 technologies.
Aside from the successful integration of personnel and technologies, however, the opportunity to form friendships within the communication field was a by-product of the weeklong engagement, according to U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Brett Williams, director for Command, Control, Communications, Computer Systems Directorate (J6).
"The No. 1 one thing we accomplish at this workshop is the ability to work together better," he said. "We all have the same goals and objectives when helping people in need."
The workshop not only tested the 16 Asia Pacific militaries ability to coordinate communication procedures, but provided a venue to establish relationships with first responders from the humanitarian community and private industry.
Non-governmental organizations have historically led response efforts during humanitarian crises, with military personnel serving in a supporting role. Exercising the military's ability to communicate with all organizations is crucial to saving lives in a natural disaster, according to Singapore Armed Forces Brig Gen. Lee Shiang Long, Head Joint Communications & Information Systems Department.
"We know that in a humanitarian crisis there will be a lot of other agencies participating as well as the military," he said. "By exercising together, we will know their operational requirements, and we can set up a better communication system."
Another benefit of the workshop was the opportunity for service members to interact with other military personnel from different countries. During the two-week engagement, organizers planned a number of events centered around participants building friendships with one another in an informal setting. Attendees visited Singapore museums, historic monuments and learned about the Singapore culture via their hosts from the Singapore Armed Forces.
"The best experiences I have had here are the interpersonal relationships with the officers from all the countries," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Travis Goodwin, support director for Pacific Endeavor. "The friendships I have made have been the best aspect of being here."
Pacific Endeavor, like many other military exchanges throughout the PACOM region, enables dialogue for increased coordination and cooperation.
"The most important part of any military response is the human factor," Long said. "Once you have forged a strong human relationship, you can just make a phone call and we now understand each other's culture, we communicate better and achieve a common purpose."
For more news from U.S. Pacific Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/pacom/.