Hawaii and the Philippines Reinforce Bonds at Emergency Management Exchange

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Robert Cabuco
  • 154th Wing Public Affairs

Soldiers and Airmen from the Hawaii National Guard (HING) gathered with their counterparts from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to conduct an Incident Awareness and Assessment (IAA) Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) conference on July 16, 2019. 

The goal of the meeting was to develop strong personal and professional relationships with the AFP through the State Partnership Program (SPP) on disaster response and emergency crisis management. The partners gathered to share their experiences and operational practices during the three-day event. 

The State Partnership Program (SPP) is a joint Department of Defense (DoD) security cooperation program, managed and administered by the National Guard Bureau (NGB), executed and coordinated by the geographic Combatant Commands (CCMDs), with personnel provided by the National Guard of the respective partner States. 

The Philippines was the first country brought into the SPP for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in 2000 with Guam as an associate partner. Since then, the partners have participated in annual exchanges and joint exercises to increase each organizations over all readiness.

“The most important part of this exchange is to learn from each other,” said Master Sgt. Wayne Drowns, information analysis with the Hawaii Air National Guard. “The AFP gets to see how we do things in Hawaii and we get to learn from their experience as well.” 

The officers provided a brief overview of how the Hawaii National Guard gather and disseminate information during a response. IAA operations are designed to provide timely and usable information to all levels of command and civil leaders in the event of a disaster. 

“We can adapt these techniques to develop standard operating procedures to use during Humanitarian and Disaster Response (HADR) operations,” said Capt. Rene Datugan, an AFP Commander. “We need unity and clarity in the HADR mission sets in the roles and responsibilities area.” 

“What we offer in this exchange is experience in both the wartime information operational picture and disaster response information operations,” said Lt. Col Brandon Torres, an intelligence officer with the Hawaii Army National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters. “This dual experience allows us to translate the similarities and differences in each operational picture.”