In the first joint exercise performed overseas by the civilian Stabilisation Unit (SU) and the Military Stabilisation Support Group (MSSG), a lasting legacy has been created to help Uganda deal with disaster management.
On Exercise Civil Bridge, civilian teams from the SU and military ones from the MSSG joined forces to work on a disaster preparedness strategy in the bustling town of Mbale, Uganda.
The integrated civilian-military teams on the ground were responsible for completing a real-time evaluation of Ugandan disaster preparedness and planning at the district level.
They met with a range of key officials from the Ugandan Government, local authorities and the international community to identify disaster planning priorities.
In several cases, the workshops facilitated by the teams resulted in the establishment of disaster management forums to support co-ordinated action, leaving a legacy to outlast the exercise.
Ministry of Defence civil servant Hannah Winfield, who is on secondment to the SU, took part in the exercise, along with two members of the Stabilisation Unit’s Civilian Stabilisation Group.
Ms Winfield said:
Participating in Exercise Civil Bridge was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about how the military operate on the ground, and to strengthen how the SU and MSSG work together.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on exercise and intend to put what I learnt into practice.
Colonel Greville Bibby, former Commander of the MSSG, believes the exercise was a success.
We were particularly impressed with the quality of the SU staff. From our perspective the inclusion of the three stabilisation advisers was a tremendous success, opening the door to even greater collaboration in the future.
Exercises play a vital role in ensuring that civilians and military work together effectively in the field.
This preparation is particularly critical for the MSSG who are deployed alongside stabilisation advisers from the SU in forward operating bases in Afghanistan.
The Stabilisation Unit is the Government’s centre of expertise and best practice in stabilisation. The unit was set up to respond to the complex challenges of fragile and conflict-afflicted states, and works with countries to enhance their capacity for self-governance.
The unit reports to the Ministry of Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development, and includes staff from each parent department.
The MSSG provides military stabilisation support worldwide. It is a tri-Service, Regular and Reserve unit.