Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 7 2012 Contents “By no means does this mean we are developing
a formal coalition – but, when mutual empathy is
established through training such as Excalibur, it helps
during a mission.”
Participating students’ perspectives
Major Andrew Baker is a student at ACSC who
participated in the exercise.
“It has been a worthwhile activity in terms of allowing
the military to engage with the other elements with
whom we would likely interact in an operational
setting,” Major Baker says.
“The context for the scenarios was a stabilisation-
type mission in a post-conventional conflict setting.
Some of the considerations we had to discuss were
humanitarian assistance, election management,
reintegration of threat force, and management of
internally displaced persons.”
Major Baker enjoyed the opportunity to conduct the
exercise with Pakistan and US military members. He
says it was very much a consultative process.
“We had a rotation of military and civilian organisations
to the different syndicate rooms that came to teach us
about their components of past operations,” he says.
“The civilian agencies, in particular, are better versed
in the cultural nuances of situational problems, as
opposed to the discrete tactical tasks the military are
more experienced in.
“The most important thing is the requirement to
establish good working relationships with the other
entities and to maintain a consultative approach,
which means the early establishment of rapport and
maintaining a collaborative approach to problem
Major Baker says a brief from a RAAF officer who was
closely involved in the 2009 Afghan elections was
among the highlights of the exercise.
“We’ve had a number of briefs from high-level staff,
including the commandant of the Pakistan Staff and
Command College in Quetta. Their briefs included a
practical demonstration of things like humanitarian
affairs, disaster response or the running of elections,
and I think those practical aspects provide a better
understanding of the challenges military and civil
US Marine Major Christy McCutchan is based at
the Marine Corps Staff College located in Quantico,
Virginia. This year was the first time Marines
participated in Exercise Excalibur since it began in
“I think it is a great fit for us because it was our first
trip over here and we didn’t really know what to
expect,” Major McCutchan says.
“We have been in classes for a month now so this
has been a great learning experience. This course
has been great in getting us thinking early about
civil-military considerations on an operation because,
obviously with contemporary conflicts, you have to
think about post-conflict operations. It’s good for us
to talk to individuals from different backgrounds and
Major McCutchan says something she took
away from the exercise is the importance of early
collaboration within civil agencies.
“Australia tends to have more civilian involvement
with the military, which creates strong collaborative
relationships,” she says. “I have observed that
Australian military personnel are used to working with
civilian agencies and it seems quite structured in the
way it is built in.”
Sebastian Rhodes-Stampa is the Regional Civil
Military Coordination Officer for the United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in
Bangkok, Thailand. His collaboration on the exercise
was of great help to the ACSC.
He says ongoing dialogue and collaborative
approaches between civil-military organisations in
humanitarian operations is important.
“Military and civil societies work well together in a
disaster response context,” he says.
“It is more complicated to work together where there’s
intra-state conflict and we need to keep working on
this and using past experience. We need to build
relationships and build on common strategies to
overcome the difficulties we face.
“It is important to remember that, previously, AusAID,
Australian Federal Police, Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade, and humanitarian civil societies
were not represented on this course. Now they are,
which I think is an encouraging step forward.”
Exercise Excalibur participants, from left: Larry Maybee, International Committee of the Red Cross; Major Christy McCutchan, US
Marines; Major Andrew Baker, Australian Army; Major Charlie Day, US Army; and Julie Stalker, AusAID.
Photo: David McClenaghan
Issue 7 2012
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