By Kevin Valentine, 715th Public Affairs Detachment
In a sea of approximately 1,500 military uniformed, civilian, and contracted personnel, a family wearing polo t-shirts with a non-for-profit name on them stands out. While the polos function to make the non-profit representatives distinct from the Tradewinds 22 exercise personnel, when it comes to the exercise itself, World Hope International is completely integrated, even from the planning phase.
Mr. Kevin J. Bostick, SES and director of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) exercises and coalition affairs J7/9, was central in making certain that non-governmental organizations (NGOs)/non-federal entities (NFEs) were involved in all aspects of the Tradewinds 22 exercise to include planning.
Mr. Bostick’s directorate, J7/9, houses the Public Private Cooperation Branch which is the coordinating body for integrating NFEs.
“NFE involvement in not only the Tradewinds exercise, but also in the planning phase is important,” Bostick said. “It takes a village. It’s not all about a uniform. It’s a team effort – Department of Defense, civilians, contractors, NFEs – so much of what we do is all-hands-on-deck.”
Bostick has experienced the limitations, due to laws and statutes, of what the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) can implement in other countries during a humanitarian/disaster response mission and has made sure that there is planning to account for such constraints.
“If we [DoD] can only due 65 percent of the mission, due to laws and statutes, we can tap our NFE partners who can get us to the remaining 35 percent to provide the support and relief needed.”
Tradewinds 22 has seen the benefit of NFEs being integrated into the planning and exercise before the opening ceremony began.
Carla Alvarado, public-private coordinator J7/9, seeks out NGOs/NFEs that have an interest in the Tradewinds and integrates them into all aspects of the exercise. Alvarado coordinated the participation of World Hope International, an international relief and development organization that focuses on providing humanitarian assistance during disasters or conflicts.
Alvarado was the point of contact for John Lyon, president and chief executive officer for World Hope International.
“We coordinated just about everything with Carla,” Lyon said.
World Hope International’s main participation in Tradewinds 22 is within the humanitarian assistance disaster relief track in Cozumel, Mexico and supports the Regional Security System (RSS), the mutual aid and assistance compact of nations in the Eastern Caribbean.
World Hope International chartered a plane that flew 110 RSS forces from Barbados and donated $2 million of medical supplies to the Barbados Defence Force field hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados.
“This meets our philanthropic mission because these guys get to get training in humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” Lyon said. “When we got the call that some RSS support needed help arriving to Belize, I said ‘All right, let’s charter a plane. It’s a good partnership between SOUTHCOM and an NGO.”
The chartered plane will return the RSS to their home stations and will donate additional medical supplies to the Belize ministry of health towards the end of the Tradewinds 22 exercise.
Bostick’s including World Hope International in the exercise planning and World Hope International’s resources enabled seven of the participating 23 partner countries, nearly one-third, to participate in the Tradewinds 22 exercise.
Tradewinds 22 emphasizes that regional and interagency partnerships reflect our enduring promise to one another for a secure, free, and prosperous hemisphere. DoD and NFE coordination, from planning to executing the exercise, perfectly embodies the spirit of and enables the realization of the promise of a secure, free, and prosperous hemisphere.
Tradewinds is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-approved, U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, combined, joint, Caribbean-focused exercise designed to expand the region’s capability to mitigate, plan for, and respond to crises; strengthen partnerships; increase regional training capacity and interoperability; develop new and refine existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) during the SOP Development Conference; determine SOPs to be exercised; determine regional process for SOP validation; enhance ability to defend Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ); increase U.S./ally/partner readiness; promote human rights and adherence to shared international norms and values; fully integrate women into the force; and increase maritime domain awareness to deter IUU fishing activities.