Va. Guard Soldiers share experience during information exchange with Tajiks

Lt. Col. Erik Gordon presents a certificate commemorating the security cooperation mission to Maj. Fozil Salimov, the deputy battalion commander. (Courtesy photo)

Lt. Col. Erik Gordon presents a certificate commemorating the security cooperation mission to Maj. Fozil Salimov, the deputy battalion commander. (Courtesy photo)

SANDSTON, Va. — Four Virginia Army National Guard subject matter experts arrived in Tajikistan Jan. 13, 2014, to conduct an information exchange with the 1209th Peacekeeping Operations Battalion of the Tajik Mobile Forces at Shamsi Base in Dushanbe. The Virginia National Guard State Partnership Program has focused on the unit for the last two years. The exchange is scheduled to last seven days.

During the visit, the Virginia Guard Soldiers will discuss the Tajikistan PKO plan and progress in the development of their PKO capacity, explained Lt. Col. Matthew Ritchie, Director of International Affairs for the Virginia Guard.

“This exchange will focus on individual soldier actions, common tasks such as vehicle search, personnel search and checkpoint operations, leadership decisions in a stability operation environment, and small unit operations functioning within the role of a UN Peacekeeper,” he said. All tasks, conditions, and standards are drawn from the manual of United Nations peacekeeping standards.

After demonstrations and discussions of the tasks, junior leaders will have the opportunity to run through common scenarios that incorporate UN mission standards, and then receive a constructive critique in an immediate verbal after action review from their peers, Ritchie said. Each scenario provides opportunities to discuss rules of engagement, escalation of force, appropriate handling of detainees, dealing with civilians, and related human rights issues.

Throughout the process, the Virginia Guard officers share their insights and expertise based on their experience with National Guard domestic and overseas operations.

This event supports military professionalization, in preparation for UN deployments.

The SPP between the Virginia National Guard and Tajikistan began in 2003. The purpose of the program is to foster mutual interests and establish habitual long-term relationships across all levels of society. The program as a whole encourages the development of economic, political and military ties between the states and partner nations. The National Guard functions as a role model in demonstrating how a military organization can interact with the citizens and their government while reinforcing the concept that the military is subordinate to that nation’s civil authorities. The National Guard program began in 1993, with three Baltic nations. It has grown to include partnerships with 65 countries.

Learn more about the State Partnership Program Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaGuardSPP