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ICT4Peace in “Viking 11” the largest civil-military exercise in the world: Civilian Military and Police Exercise 04-15 April 2011

Exercise VIKING 11 is the 6th in a series of major joint civilian-military exercises organized by Sweden. A principal objective of the exercise is to provide the opportunity to acquire hands-on practical skills and knowledge of civil-military-police coordination and cooperation before deployment in multifunctional and multinational UN mandated Peace Operation. The ambition is improved civil-military-police relations within the different crisis management functions in Peace Operations.

The exercise is a distributed computer-assisted exercise and was conducted in a number of countries simultaneously. Viking is a Command Component Exercise, i.e. the training of middle and senior management. It involves a UN-mission headquarter, with a full complement of staff functions, Governmental Organizations (GO: s) and Non Governmental Organizations (NGO: s), NATO military components as well as a European Union battle group. In addition the training audience includes corrections staff, police and other organizations representing civil society. Many additional international organizations (such as UNHCR, OSCE and the International Red Cross), plus a multitude of NGO: s from Sweden and the distributed site countries participate as response cells and exercise control. The exercise scenario is conducted in an environment based on a UN mandated Chapter VII mandate.

This is the largest civil-military exercise in the world, with representatives from the highest levels of different authorities. It includes more than 2600 participants from 31 nations and 35 Non Governmental Organizations. The exercise was held in six countries simultaneously.

The Civilian Dimension

VIKING 11 is a unique opportunity for a wide range of professional disciplines to meet in an exercise environment. It provides a flexible platform allowing civilian and police organizations to interact with the military and to train civil-military relations, under simulated but realistic conditions. The training facilitates a much improved understanding of the diverse professional cultures, institutional mandates, policies, operational procedures, strengths and limitations of the many contributors to today’s peace operations. The civilian dimension of Peace Operations are crucial in processes like Humanitarian Assistance, Rule Of Law, Security Sector Reform and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration for example, and serve as important parts of the themes within the scenario of the exercise.

The Exercise is co-chaired by the Folke Bernadotte Academy and the Swedish Armed Forces. The Folke Bernadotte Academy is mandated by the Swedish government to coordinate and support the civilian dimension of the exercise. As such, FBA requested the support of ICT4Peace. FBA engages and coordinates the participation of civilian organizations and agencies, regional as well as international and governmental as well as non-governmental. ICT4Peace represented by Dag Nielsen was heading one of the UN regional offices, geographically located in Ukraine. Ukrainian civil- military-police were in charge of one of the regions of the fictive country Bogaland.

The cooperation between military and civil organizations has not been easy to develop to what it is today. During a mission, and in a scenario like VIKING11, every organization has their own mandate to work within. Each organization has their own priority, but, to achieve the main goal for the mission, the cooperation between all actors must be improved. This is a constant challenge to bear in mind, from the start of a mission. The possibility of success is much higher if you begin to cooperate early on in the planning process.

VIKING has a fully staffed UN headquarters

VIKING is a process of lessons learned where every new VIKING exercise is a development of the previous. Something new and exciting with VIKING11 is the fully staffed fictional UN headquarters, UNAMIB.

UNAMIB is one of the major civilian components of the exercise. It is set up and staffed by Folke Bernadotte Academy, FBA, in collaboration with ICT4Peace and other participating civilian organizations.

I’m fascinated with all the talent, says Julian Harston, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, SRSG, for UNAMIB. He continues by saying that it is probably the most qualified staff he has ever had. Considering his previous experiences as an SRSG for Western Sahara, MINURSO, and Representative of the Secretary-General in Belgrade, as well as experience from positions in Haiti and East-Timor, this is to be seen as a compliment.

VIKING11 has ended

VIKING11 has now ended, and all the participants from the civilian and military organizations are leaving the fictional country of Bogaland. All the knowledge acquired during the exercise will now serve as useful tools in civil-military peace operations around the globe.

Several VIKING exercise sites have been located all over the world. Connected through the internet based VIKING-portal, everyone has been living in the conflict area of Bogaland. Working together with a comprehensive approach, and with close civil-military cooperation, which was the overall objective of the exercise.

For more information on Viking 11 see

http://folkebernadotteacademy.se/en/Training/Exercises/VIKING-11-Exercise/
and
http://www.forsvarsmakten.se/en/About-the-Armed-Forces/Exercises/Completed-exercises-and-events/VIKING-11/

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