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NEWS | Sept. 7, 2023

Washington National Guard, Royal Thai Army Share Experience

By Joseph Siemandel, Washington National Guard

CAMP MURRAY, Wash.– The Washington National Guard and Washington Emergency Management Division were recently activated for fire support; a delegation from the Royal Thai Army Civil Affairs Division visited Camp Murray to conduct a Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief subject matter expert exchange.

“This was a great opportunity for our Royal Thai Army partners to see our Military Department team in action during a real-world mission,” said Lt. Col Keith Kosik, Director of the Washington National Guard State Partnership Program. “The Thai delegation was very engaged – we had a lot to learn from each other.”

The purpose of this exchange was to share best practices in the planning, preparation, execution and mitigation of domestic operations within the context of Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief. Significant agenda items included tours of both the State Emergency Operations Center and the Joint Operations Center, an overview of how the Guard is mobilized in the state during disasters, how a multi-jurisdictional response occurs and the work done by the Washington Military Department to educate the public before, during and after a disaster. 

“We explored the authorities, processes and jurisdictions that ultimately result in response efforts in our respective countries,” said Kosik.

Like Washington State, wildland fire seasons in the Kingdom of Thailand have become more common in the past decade. Their peak fire season typically begins in early February and lasts around 13 weeks. Two HA/DR engagements are currently scheduled with the Royal Thai Army for 2024. 

“We sharpen each other through shared experiences and practices, and incorporating our colleagues from the Washington State Emergency Management Division provided a much broader depth in which to consider ideas,” said Kosik.