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Hawaii and the Philippines Reinforce Bonds at Emergency Management Exchange

Hawaii Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Michael Zheng, Intelligence Analyst from the 201st Intelligence Squadron, presents operational knowledge with their counterparts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines during an Incident Awareness and Assessment (IAA) Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) conference in Makati on July 16, 2019

Hawaii Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Michael Zheng, Intelligence Analyst from the 201st Intelligence Squadron, presents operational knowledge with their counterparts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines during an Incident Awareness and Assessment (IAA) Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) conference in Makati on July 16, 2019. The focus of this year’s exchange covers discussions on operations conducted during disaster response and emergency crisis management. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Robert Cabuco)

Hawaii Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Michael Zheng, Intelligence Analyst from the 201st Intelligence Squadron, shares some disaster response experiences with Philippine Army Capt. Rene Datugan, during an Incident Awareness and Assessment (IAA) Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) conference in Makati on July 16, 2019.

Hawaii Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Michael Zheng, Intelligence Analyst from the 201st Intelligence Squadron, shares some disaster response experiences with Philippine Army Capt. Rene Datugan, during an Incident Awareness and Assessment (IAA) Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) conference in Makati on July 16, 2019. The SMEE conference creates opportunities to enhance international relationships through the exchange of operational knowledge during disaster response and emergency crisis management. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Robert Cabuco)

MANILA, Philippines --

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.”