Joint Interagency Task Force West (JIATF West), a standing joint task force of U.S Indo-Pacific Command, in partnership with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Hanoi Country Office (CO), facilitated a U.S. military medical training team, from August 29th – September 16th, to conduct an officer survival and tactical medical mentorship course with the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) Counter Narcotics Police force (C-04) at their training facility in Cua Lo, Nghe An Vietnam. The team was comprised of medical specialists from 1-1 Special Forces Battalion (Airborne) and 9th Mission Support Command, 4960th multi-function training brigade, from Okinawa and Hawaii.
JIATF West executes Building Partner Capacity (BPC) 333 programs (10 U.S.C. § 333) which have long served to build partnerships with foreign nations by providing equipment and training to enhance partner nations’ capabilities. In recent years, JIATF West added the integration of Women Peace and Security (WPS) to further enhance the effectiveness of these activities.
The 2017 WPS Act established U.S. law to advance the meaningful participation of women in peace and security and ensure their safety in crisis and conflict, through the integration of gender perspectives into the planning process and operations.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), in line with the DoD WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan, implements three defense objectives. The first objective looks internally and seeks to exemplify a diverse organization that allows women to meaningfully participate in all specialties, at all ranks, across the joint force. The second objective focuses on supporting partners and Allies in their efforts to advance meaningful participation of women in defense and security sectors. The final objective prioritizes defense and security sectors, ensuring women and girls are safe and secure with human rights protected in steady state, crisis, and conflict.
The DEA Hanoi CO and MPS C-04 have a strong bilateral partnership in confronting regional illicit narcotics trafficking and cooperation on training. JIATF West supports DEA programs by integrating and synchronizing BPC 333 programs, providing equipment and training to partner nations to enhance capabilities.
JIATF West and DEA Hanoi CO cooperated with MPS C-04 to promote gender integration in training and highlight women serving in all ranks and occupations for defense and security sectors, as well as the importance of mixed gender teams during medical operations and its impact on mission success.
Women comprise of 5 percent of Vietnamese Law Enforcement and serve across all sectors.
Senior Lt. Col. Bui Xuan Long, C-04 Chief of Staff, highlighted the importance of the training.
“The training course is one activity under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between MPS of Vietnam and DEA of the U.S. … the MOU has been renewed in August 2022 in Bali, Indonesia,” said Long, “This is a very important training course aiming at building capacity for anti-narcotic forces and effectively ensuring the safety and health of all our officers on duty.”
Rear Adm. Charles Fosse, U.S. Coast Guard, Director of JIATF West, spoke on the importance of incorporating WPS.
“Incorporating WPS into BPC programs allows for an increase in awareness and understanding of WPS principles and their relevance to partner nations’ defense and security sectors,” said Fosse, “It develops the skills necessary to integrate a gender perspective into Allied and partner nation defense and security sector planning, policies, operations, engagements, and assessments which in turn allows us to ensure we are meeting the security needs of entire populations.”
USINDOPACOM Command Gender Advisor Ms. Sharon Feist expressed her appreciation for the medical training team’s efforts. “Integrating WPS principles is a low-cost force multiplier that not only demonstrates U.S. commitment to human rights and the international rules based order, but also provides our partners with practical, actionable next steps that strengthen institutional capacity.”
JIATF West is committed to integrating WPS into BPC programs and is dedicated to modeling and implementing WPS principles by ensuring their staff is trained on integration of gender perspectives in military operations and by serving as gender focal points and gender advisors of the USINDOPACOM gender network.
Going forward, JIATF West will continue to advance WPS alongside their partners throughout the region, ensuring the development of inclusive security outcomes, and further promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.
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