New Zealand — Exercise Santici: preparing leaders in the field

“Are you dead, Jack?” asks a voice in the dark­ness.
“Yep!” comes the cheer­ful reply.
If you hap­pened to be in the North Island set­tle­ment of Man­gaki­no recent­ly, you may have been privy to some unusu­al ban­ter as NZ Army Offi­cer Cadets con­verged on the town for their annu­al urban train­ing exer­cise, Exer­cise San­ti­ci.

As part of their train­ing to become Offi­cers, around 40 Army Offi­cer Cadets par­tic­i­pat­ed in the ten-day exer­cise, which pre­pares them to oper­ate in con­tem­po­rary mil­i­tary environments. 

Sce­nar­ios the Offi­cer Cadets are giv­en are based on real oper­a­tions and the camp they set-up reflects what they would find at a typ­i­cal patrol base, such as is used in Afghanistan by New Zealand’s Provin­cial Recon­struc­tion Team: a cou­ple of pla­toons of sol­diers work­ing from a for­ward oper­at­ing base, a mess tent with chefs, and some make-shift buildings. 

Over the ten days each Offi­cer Cadet prac­tices com­mand­ing a pla­toon (around 30 sol­diers), all the while hav­ing their field-craft and their appli­ca­tion of tac­ti­cal the­o­ry assessed. Every Cadet gets a chance to show their lead­er­ship strengths through a vari­ety of sce­nar­ios includ­ing ‘cor­don and search’, and ‘key point pro­tec­tion’ oper­a­tions – pro­tect­ing infra­struc­ture that could be tar­get­ed by insurgents. 

Exer­cise San­ti­ci is men­tal­ly demand­ing. Offi­cer Cadets must think about the ene­my, but also fac­tor in how to deal with oth­er vari­ables includ­ing the pub­lic and the media. One of the staff mem­bers over­see­ing the exer­cise, Cap­tain Paul Weath­er­ston, explains: “The con­tem­po­rary oper­at­ing envi­ron­ment is more com­pli­cat­ed than just ‘good guys’ ver­sus ‘bad guys’. Mod­ern sol­diers need to be able to deal with oth­er groups, such as local peo­ple or jour­nal­ists, who might be present in the field of oper­a­tions. That’s why we include inter­ac­tion with real or sim­u­lat­ed media as part of the exer­cise, to get our sol­diers used to work­ing with the media. 

“This week we’ve had some of the local kids throw­ing things into our for­ward oper­at­ing base and oth­ers ask­ing the cadets for stuff – so just like the real thing, there are mul­ti­ple play­ers in the mod­ern envi­ron­ment and a lot for the Cadets to consider.” 

Exer­cise San­ti­ci is held at Man­gaki­no every year and the town is large­ly sup­port­ive of the NZ Army pres­ence. Many res­i­dents take part in role play, includ­ing the stag­ing of a ‘pub­lic demon­stra­tion’ throw­ing eggs and mud at sol­diers, or act­ing as inform­ers or insur­gents, which helps make the sce­nar­ios more realistic. 

“We need to intro­duce the cadets to asym­met­ric threat,” CAPT Weath­er­ston says, “New Zealand has pro­fes­sion­al sol­diers moti­vat­ed by typ­i­cal west­ern val­ues. We oper­ate using con­ven­tion­al equip­ment and tech­niques, yet we often face forces that aren’t pro­fes­sion­al­ly trained, don’t use the same tech­niques and equip­ment and whose moti­va­tion is dif­fer­ent to ours. 

“That con­tributes to the com­plex­i­ty of mod­ern oper­a­tions. In Man­gaki­no we can give the Cadets an intro­duc­tion to the new oper­at­ing envi­ron­ment, which they will build on dur­ing their career in the Army.” 

Defence Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Group
New Zealand Army 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →